4k vs. 2k vs. HD (part 2 of 3)

April 3, 2012
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Is 2k Enough? Our eye is not the resolution king in the world of nature. Eagles have a much higher density of rods and cones in their eyes and can see details that are invisible to us. For an eagle, 2k looks like SD does to us; blurry. But our eye is very good with extremes of light and dark. Sensitive enough to read a book by moonlight, but hardy enough to pick out details in the edge of a cloud backlit by the sun. Our eye can see a contrast range of something like 20 photographic “stops.” That’s 20 doublings of light intensity, or a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. To our eye, contrast is more important than detail. I remember the first time I saw an image out of a RED ONE (pre-MX). I was stunned. It was displayed on two side-by-side 20″ Apple Cinema displays and the image went right off the edges of the screen. But what’s funny is that I’ve been in a lot of...

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4k vs. 2k vs. HD (part 1 of 3)

April 3, 2012
By
4k vs. 2k vs. HD (part 1 of 3)

“Immersive” vs. “Involving” experiences. The 2k spec, for all intents and purposes, is 2048 x 1152, for a total of 2.36 million pixels. HD is 1920 x 1080, for a total of 2.07 million pixels. In other words, HD has 88% of the area (total pixels) that the 2k spec has. On a linear measurement, the difference is only 128 pixels…which only as big as that checkerboard over there. That edge-to-edge resolution difference between HD and 2k is only 6%, which most mortals can’t really see. The 2k spec comes from the digital scanners that scan a film negative from edge to edge. The reality is that Super 35 is, for example, “over-scanned” and the 2048-pixel width of the scan includes some material out of frame, like edge numbers and so on. The total image area of a 1.85:1  aspect ratio is closer to 1850 x 1000 pixels…or 1.85 million pixels total. So film scanned at 2k for digital intermediate results in an image somewhat less than HD, but...

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