Tuesday, October 4, 2016

8K Helium - Flying High & Fast

Well, yeah I'm a photographer! And I hope, that I evolved parallel with my equipment - all the way from a 16mm Cartridge Pocket Instamatic, then a fix lens 35mm from my grandpa, to my first SLR, a Mamiya something. Then the world changed when I started using Nikon - first, a used F2-A and then in 1981 a brand new F3 to go shoot the Paris Air Salon, my first "big" assignment. With my move to the US, in 1990 I upgraded to a F3-T (Titanium) and several more photo-sensitive lenses (lower F-stops, higher priced), mainly to shoot concert photography (Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, CMA Awards etc.)

No Flash policies, 2 - 3 songs to shoot brought me into the digital era (still with Nikon). And sure enough the world changed again - old watt-eating, planet warming stage lights, which actually could be used creatively, were replaced by cold LED lights - which often look terrible, digitally. Not only in still-photography, but also in the moving realm of TV and movie cinematography, where blotches of light and shadow compete against each other.

Digital post processing often reveals black tones as being unable to remain smooth, they often appear as grainy remainders of low light, high iso (film speed) and the fight to get most of the available light.

But now comes 8K shooting, and manufacturer RED just released their new 8K Helium camera backs with a huge sensor size: 29.90mm x 15.77mm (33.80 diagonal) and a pixel capacity of 8192 x 4320 at 60fps, which demands - if my math is correct - over 2 GB of storage per second. That's about 16 times better of a resolution than the standard HD with 1080, which is in common use right now.

The result is absolutely stunning. RED boss Jarred Land gave cinematographer Mark Toia the new "toy" to experiment with it. And Toia had some fun, as you hear in his commentary. Land is quoted as saying that Toia edited the 6 minute clip on a laptop during a flight, is almost unbelieveable. The result is simply stunning, but watch for yourself.

Well the 8K Helium will not appear in my sortiment of cameras to use in the near future - with a sticker price of $59'000 it's a tad above my budget, but they should start being available this month.

Sources: Screenshot from video, redsharknews.com, vimeo

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