To establish the fundamental questions arising from working with the 4K digital cinema format, the Institute for the Performing Arts and Film (IPF) produced a short film applying a complete 4K-workflow. The project was undertaken in close association with the ZHdK Film Studies Programme and various field partners (a camera rental company, a post-production company, and a visual effects specialist). The practical experiences gained during the various production phases served to establish the problems involved, which are not merely technical but also aesthetic. Prior to the actual shooting, tests were conducted to gain preliminary insights into the basic features of 4K.
The purpose of the tests shoots (conducted in May 2013) was to experience the fundamental differences between 4K and the conventional 2K cinema format. Images were shot and processed in 4K (using a Sony F55 and a Red Epic camera) and 2K (Arri Alexa) using various field sizes (apertures). Apart from exploring different resolutions, close attention was given to the effects of motion. Various frame rates were compared, especially 4K@24B/s and 2K@48B/s using a 180° shutter.
4K Workflow Production of a Short Film
In cooperation with various field partners, Aurora Vögeli’s short film DIE ROTEN SCHUHE was produced using a complete 4K-workflow (camera to 4K-DCP). To bring to bear the high-resolution format as best as possible in the cinema, the most static, the brightest, and the most highly contrasting images possible would have been of advantage, together with the most complete and most detailed possible field sizes. Manufacturer Sony’s 4K showreels demonstrate that this combination produces especially good and sharp images. Noteworthy is the avoidance of dynamic elements. We pursued a different strategy in this respect. To experience the problems of the 4K format as realistically as possible, we selected a film not out to achieve hyper-sharpness. On the contrary, we were interested in the effect of 4K especially when matters promised to become difficult, namely, in the case of motion and low-key images. Another important aspect concerned the interaction with visual effects on a high-resolution level. Besides dance sequences and dark image-worlds, DIE ROTEN SCHUHE thus also includes many composited scenes and computer-generated imagery (CGI).
Paper Publication at SGEM 2016, Vienna
Paper publication: Iseli C. 2016. The Paradox of 4K Cinema. In: 3rd International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences & Arts SGEM 2016, Book 4, Vol. I, p. 383-392, ISBN: 978-619-7105-53-7
Conference Talk at Cinematography Days 2016, Stuttgart
Presentation at the conference «Cinematography Days» of the Stuttgart Media University (Hochschule der Medien HdM) in February 2016. Author: Christian Iseli
Conference Talk at EOSAM 2014, Berlin
Presentation at the annual conference of the European Optical Society, September 2014 in Berlin:
The presentation 'The Trouble with Sharpness' included the screening of the film THE RED SHOES. Author: Christian Iseli
International Conference: “The Trouble with Sharpness”
(German title: 'Die Unerträglichkeit der Schärfe', literally: 'The Unbearableness of Sharpness')
Featuring various international guests, the symposium was held on 26 October 2013 and attracted great interest. Around 300 participants, mostly Swiss film industry professionals, gathered at the Abaton 4K cinema. Aside from the screening of the pilot film THE RED SHOES, conference talks and discussions considered the effect of 4K and its consequences for visual aesthetics. Particular attention was also paid to other quality-enhancing processes. Besides the HFR test shoot, the presentation of HDR (High Dynamic Range) also met with great interest among conference participants. Strategies countering the tendency toward increasingly sharper images were also presented and discussed (for more details, please refer to the archived conference website and programme at 4K-Tagung -- German only)