A patron of the RED USER.net forum mentioned seeing the Social Network in NY this weekend. He inquired as to whether or not the film was projected in 2K or 4K, commenting how good it looked on the large screen. I responded to the forum, but wanted to include the response here since this issue is much bigger than The Social Network. In fact, it goes back to another post I made earlier regarding the logistical differences between 2K and 4K, which is worth revisiting because these issues keep coming up. Overall, the more these issues come up and the more they are discussed, the more evidence to suggest a 4K distribution world is right around the corner.
2K or 4KThe Social Network was onlined, vis-effected, DI’d, and mastered in 2K based on number of factors. 4K is becoming a serious discussion point for a lot of films, which is really encouraging. And most of the studio meetings I attend routinely have a “what about 4K?” discussion. -So even though 4K distribution is not here yet, I can testify that from a studio perspective, it is on everyone’s radar, and it will need to constantly be discussed.
Speaking specifically about this film, Paris makes an interesting implication: -That it was not clear whether or not the film was projected in 2K or 4K. Here’s another question for the original poster, (Paris): Do you know that it was a digital projection? Or could it have been a print?
The flattering implication is that the projection was good enough to possibly exhibit 4K qualities, even though it was not. But that statement may also support claims that 4K is unnecessary and, perhaps, invisible. But consider this: Even high-resolution images that are evaluated up-close seem to lack resolution. Think of the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Cameron views George Seurat’s painting, “Sunday Afternoon.” As the camera moves in closer and closer, the (effective) resolution seems to get lower and lower. But this painting (by comparison) is veyr high resolution - I’ve seen it in person in Chicago and it’s incredible to experience up close and far away. Interestingly enough, I’m experiencing the same characteristics in viewing Seurat’s painting with RED footage for large-format projection.
I watch different iterations of our “RED Reels” with Jim and Jarred probably 3 times a week while in between watching 2K versions of The Social Network and other films. When I am up close, 4K is clear and impressive. But when I stand at the back of the theater (nearly 100 feet away), it’s unbelievably magnificent! That’s where the resolution really starts to settle in and begin to offer up another level of compelling imagery that cannot be replicated with scaling.
Below is an (iPhone) image of the Epic from the Pablo living on RED Stage 4. If you look at the first photo, some people might mistake this for being a shot of the Vegas street corner (but you can see my shadow in the bottom holding the camera). The 2nd photo represents the spot where resolution becomes more impressive. With the naked eye, the resolution of the 4K projection (from the 5K source) increases as you move further away. Unfortunately, this particular photo is too low res to demonstrate that.
The reason this is all important is how it applies to improving the motion picture expreience - not only for today’s viewers, but viewers of the future. But in order to achieve this additional “dimension” of a film, one needs to oversample because 1080p up-close vs. 1080p far away exhibit very similar characteristics. With RED starting with an unsharpened oversample, the 2K debayered result with mild sharpening delivers much more temporal resolution than a normal camera-sharpened 1080p source. The Social Network is a perfect example of this working successfully (thanks, Paris, for noticing). The images people will see on TSN are 2K results in a 2.40:1 aperture from a full debayer / RED 4K 2:1 source. 90% of viewers will see 35mm prints, which were made from the 2K DSM. As everyone knows, release prints will only carry 1.5K resolution at best. So when it comes to high fidelity in a world dominated by low-res exhibition, once again, it pays to oversample.
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- michaelcioni posted this