Working With 4k: The Joys Of Ken Burns – The Camera Forum®
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Working With 4k: The Joys Of Ken Burns

Working With 4k: The Joys Of Ken Burns

Working with 4k can be challenging, but it does have benefits.

Published on Apr 17, 2014, from (are you ready for this name?) Hillbillygriptruck via YouTube.

After finishing a GH4 shootout video, his talent asked if he cut together a music video from the footage without all the camera info.  The footage from the original camera test was a handful of locked down shots that wouldn’t have made a very interesting edit.

However, he had a geeky thought… “Hmm, the 4k files have so much resolution, I wonder if i could do a pan and scan on the 4k footage to fake multiple camera angles… Oooh, and if I take the output down to widescreen square pixel pal, I could maybe even fake some camera moves!”… so he did that.

HillBillyGripTruck can’t say he’d ever shoot like this on purpose, but admits it does give him some ideas for shooting interviews.  For myself, on the other hand, this is probably one of the main reasons I would want to shoot 4k footage in the first place. The options for Ken Burns style shots cropping into a 4k frame can be pretty amazing, as I think you will agree from watching the movie above.

One of the big advantages in working with 4k is the four times work area pixel count over simply shooting 1080p in the first place.  Being able to “zoom into” the video frame using a Ken Burns type effect will provide in post processing many more options for the edit. It should, the footage work area of 4k clips are  four times that of an HD 1080p clip, providing more than ample room to “get in and move around a bit.” Something you may want to try for yourself if you own a 4k capable camera and suitable 4k recording device. Several 4k camera options are starting to come into the market. The first of the “serious” pro or semi pro options being the Panasonic GH4, which is currently shipping.

But there are others coming very soon. Sony tells me we can expect to see the release of the first wave of the A7S possibly as soon as next week. The Sony A7S requires an external 4k  field recorder, but the camera itself is capable of outputting clean 4k video over the HDMI port. Just today, Panasonic announced the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000. Panasonic’s RX10 competitor. The key features are 4K video and a longer zoom range. So now we have a 4k capable camera option as low as $899. Expect to see 4k video commonplace within the next few months. Photokina is coming up in the fall, where we should see many interesting camera developments shown for the first time. I expect plenty of 4k action in Germany this year.

The manufacturers depend upon the upgrade cycle  to stay in business continues. For myself, moving to a 4k workflow is going to require more than just a new camera. It is going to require more computer power and more storage as well. My present 2011 version MacBook Pro isn’t going to cut it with a 4k based video stream. It is already groaning under the strain of working with 1080P, which is one quarter the size, and less than half the data. Bigger, faster storage are called for as well, given the file sizes we will be dealing with in 4k.  So Apple gets a lot of upgrade love as well.  The new Mac Pro was built for 4k video editing. Ready to go drop your $3k for 4k?

Given the creative options the video above illustrates are possible, how much computer power is enough? Is the sky the limit once again? I’ve been fine for three or four years without a computer upgrade, and I am not alone. Many of us have. Looks like the time may be near for the next upgrade cycle. It is almost going to be a requirement if you are considering buying a 4k video capable camera.


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Chuck Jones

Digital Media Producer, Photographer, Video Storyteller, Cinemagraph Master. Only Semi-Reformed Hippy. Managing Editor of http://TheCameraForum.Com

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