Even though 4K is still establishing itself with consumers, the 8K revolution is coming, with TV the likely avenue for most viewers to get their first taste of it. This was one of the key takeaways from the 8K Association panel The Creative Perspective on 8K during SMPTE2020.
The panel featured a group of filmmakers, including Erik Messerschmidt and Peter Mavromates, the cinematographer and post producer, respectively, for David Fincher’s upcoming Netflix movie Mank. The panel discussed how and why they are choosing to shoot in 8K, even though at the moment there are no simple methods to transmit 8K to large TV audiences.
However, as Bruce Markoe, senior vice president of post production/operations and DMR at IMAX, pointed out, filming in 8K now will make things easier when 8K becomes more readily available later.
When 8K distribution and display technology is widely available, audiences are going to demand content that can take full advantage of the available resolution. If you shoot in 4K or even 2K now, that will be more difficult to upconvert to 8K later on. As Markoe put it, “skimping on resolution doesn’t serve you well downstream.”
While the panel discussion was largely based around the film community’s use of 8K, Markoe recognised that home viewing of this content is crucial to its longevity. TV is well prepared to meet that eventual demand, he said.
With most TVs are now capable of displaying HDR, today’s TVs are brighter, have better contrast and are bigger than ever before, Markoe added, providing the highest-quality presentation of content. While 8K TVs are not yet prevalent on the market, they are coming, he said—even if their initial introduction to the market was slowed because of the pandemic and the postponement of the 2020 Olympics. And when the price points begin to come down, consumers are likely to begin adding them in droves.
At that point, being able to say that something was shot and mastered in 8K will help draw interest in the content, even if it is still only displayed in 4K, the panel concluded.