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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » 2K vs 4k (Page 1)

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Author Topic: 2K vs 4k
Christopher Lani
Film Handler

Posts: 62
From: Ely, Nevada, USA
Registered: Nov 2013

 - posted 11-28-2015 10:44 PM      Profile for Christopher Lani   Author's Homepage   Email Christopher Lani   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So we converted our single screen, art deco theater to 2K digital with a new screen about 2 years ago and it has performed flawlessly. My question is, what is the tangable difference between 2K and 4k? The theater is doing very well, and the potential difference between the 2K and 4k image keeps nagging at me. Is there a newer technology on the horizon I should just wait for? We are not a 3D cinema. I do miss film, but I have been won over by the convenience and
Reliability of the Digital. Thoughts?

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004

 - posted 11-29-2015 02:07 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've seen both and worked with both and it's a "meh" thing.

What 4K does (and this was SONY), is to allow the people see a sharper image on the screen sitting about 5 rows back from the screen, where 2K, the sharpest was close to 8 rows back from the screen. 35mm could get closer.

We have both and, in all due actuality, it's not a ticket seller since we rarely get patrons asking if the feature is 4K or not.

Some 2K content can look as good as if it was 4K content firing through a 2K projector.

The latest "Mad Max" feature, even though it was 2K, looked great to look like it was 4K.

Once again, it's all up to the post production on how you want it to look on the screen.

Now, if you've got 35mm scope and a 70mm Ultra Panavison of the same feature, you will definitely noticed the difference how it looks on the screen and it will win the extra ticket sales.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

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From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 11-29-2015 05:31 AM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen a 4K presentation, so take that into consideration with my comments.

That being said, I have never felt like I was missing something with 2K. We have a bright, clear picture in all of our auditoriums. Although I can kind of see some issues when I'm within a few feet of the screen working on screen files, I have never felt like I was missing out on quality while watching a movie.

In my opinion, 2K is probably comparable to the 35mm release prints. Even if there is a small step down in quality, it would only be noticeable when viewed side by side. And even then the upside of consistent presentation quality from digital makes it well worth while.

My theatre has been running digital for over 5 years now. In that time we have not had a single customer complain about image quality on a 2D presentation - except for a couple occasions when we had a focus drift issue. However, we have had numerous people tell us how great our picture looks.

I'm guessing screen size is probably a factor in this. Our biggest auditoriums have 39' screens. I'm sure there is probably a max screen size for a decent 2K image.

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

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From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 11-29-2015 08:40 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If I can see them side-by-side (this was done for some demos) there is a definite difference. Otherwise 2K looks fine and it would be hard to see the difference, on a huge stadium screen the front few rows can see pixels - but they can see the screen perfs as well and nobody complains.
Looking at 4K demo material they naturally show very fine detail stuff like flying hair. The 4K focus chart has very fine detail compared to the 2K version.
With actual movies, I've watched several 4K ones in both 4K and 2K rooms and the difference is there... but not a "wow".

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12295
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 11-29-2015 11:16 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
While the overall 4K picture definitely looks the DLP world...4K comes with the unintended lowering of contrast. So not all things are improved.

The realities are that as technology allows, the tendency is going to be towards higher resolutions (even the home is moving to 4K though I'm still at a loss for the content and I don't see the home user really pushing this or demanding it...I don't see them throwing away their HD systems for 4K...just buying 4K because that is what is being offered more an more).

The cost of upgrading a 2K system to 4K is rarely a good deal. Depending on your server it may just be a configuration change, a license fee to activate the 4K processing or a hardware change to get a suitable IMB based system on line. However, the real cost is on the projector side...the 4K upgrades are typically in the $20K range (give or take a couple thousand) and often there is a very small core charge in there and only for units that are under 2-years, typically. When you add up the cost of the upgrade(s) versus moving the 2K system (or selling it) and buying a new 4K system, the deal starts looking worse. You all being a single would rule out just moving it and you may not get good resale value on selling. it worth up to $25K for you to make the "jump" to 4K? Will you need a new lens (different throw ratios on the larger imager). Is your 2K system even upgradable?

Note, at this point, for singles, I do normally recommend just starting with future proofs you a bit more but when 4K was more of the new kid...I wasn't as big on it...the amount of content was VERY small (and that is definitely changing now) and the overall costs were higher for little benefit. That is definitely changing at this point. For typical "mall" cinemas, 2K is going to serve them well still with no business downside demonstrable except maybe in their largest screens.

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 11-29-2015 02:21 PM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just a personal observation:

Several months ago I screened the same movie in two different screening rooms,
on two consecutive days. One show was 2K and the other was 4K.

The screen size was about the same, give-or-take a foot or two. Knowing I was
going to be doing this, I had made some 'mental notes' of certain scenes so I
could make some comparisons of the two.

Quite frankly, if I didn't know which was which, I probably wouldn't have
noticed any real difference. However, as one might expect, there was
if you compare the two, there was more detail available in the 4K.

For example, I recall one scene that took place in a penthouse office with
large plate glass windows. Other buildings were visible outside the windows.
In the 2k version, you could tell that some of the other buildings were
brick-faced and had Venetian blinds. In the 4K version, you could actually
SEE the individual slats in the blinds and count the bricks.

But these buildings were 50 feet or more away in the background of the shot.
Was the extra resolution important to the scene or story? - in this case, "NO".

In fact, most of the differences I noticed between the two versions
were really inconsequential based on my observations that day.

>Disclaimer: I was watching these on 'screening room' sized screens, about
25 feet wide, and sitting in the rear of the room.
I'm sure some differences between 2K & 4K would have been more obvious if
I were watching them on bigger screens, or sitting right up front.

But would the higher res have made a difference in my enjoyment of the movie?
IMO, "no", but others are free to disagree.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

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From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 11-29-2015 03:37 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you wan to see what 4K is like then just go to any Cinemark XD location (newer build) where (usually) all screens are 4K equipped.


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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
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 - posted 11-29-2015 03:53 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If the projected image is dialed in sharp enough to reveal at least some of the pixel grid viewers will be able to see the difference between 2K and 4K if they're sitting close enough or watching the movie on a really big screen. Textures on fabric, strands of hair and details on technical looking objects will be better resolved. On screen type and graphics will look better in 4K than 2K.

If the projected imagery is soft at all no one is going to see any difference between 2K or 4K regardless of viewing distance.

I can sure tell the difference between 1080p and 2160p content on UHDTV monitors. The pixels are physically built into those screens and not prone to any of the optical limitations that can be present in a d-cinema projection setup.

quote: Monte L Fullmer
We have both and, in all due actuality, it's not a ticket seller since we rarely get patrons asking if the feature is 4K or not.
Given the way movies are advertised by studios and theater chains there is no way for any casual customer to incidentally find out a movie is in 4K. The information is just not there. I've never seen anything regarding 4K on a movie poster, in a movie's credits or in any studio-related advertising. I can't recall ever seeing 4K mentioned in any theater directory ad anywhere on a title-specific basis. At best, some theaters might mention 4K vaguely. But they never say if a specific movie is shown in 4K. Why even bother going from 2K to 4K if it's never going to be mentioned?

I can only find out if a movie had its digital intermediate rendered in 4K and shipped 4K DCPs by visiting here or looking something up at Internet Movie Database -and the info at IMDb can be kind of iffy with its accuracy. There's no way for me to find out if a certain movie theater is equipped with 4K resolution projectors unless I can actually see what's in the booth. Calling theater staff or management is no guarantee. Some will tell the truth, some will just tell you what they think you want to hear and others won't say anything as if they're protecting some sort of secret.

quote: Steve Guttag
While the overall 4K picture definitely looks the DLP world...4K comes with the unintended lowering of contrast. So not all things are improved.
I wonder if Texas Instruments and various projector manufacturers have thought about making the DLP chip sets bigger to improve color and contrast quality. That is something which is happening with digital cinema cameras. The sensor in the Arri Alexa 65 is 3 times larger than the sensor in a standard Alexa camera. Red's new Weapon Dragon 8K camera features a larger 40.96mm X 21.6mm sensor, which is a little bigger than a full frame sensor in a 35mm style DSLR camera. Their previous camera sensors have used smaller 30.7mm X 15.8mm "Super35" sized sensors. The Alexa 65 sensor has a 54.12mm x 25.58mm active area, but requires larger lenses designed for 5-perf 65mm cameras.

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Marco Giustini
Film God

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From: Reading, UK
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 - posted 11-29-2015 04:20 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Also remember that not all movies are shot the same. Some are really sharp and will show the difference better.
Some others are really bad and may be 4K for marketing reasons.

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

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From: Toronto, Canada
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 - posted 11-29-2015 04:34 PM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Making the DLP chips would be rather easy and not extremely costly. The prism would have to be bigger as well - $$$. The lens would have to be much bigger - $$$$$. Look at a 0.69" chip lens - 35mm SLR lens size. 0.98", pretty large. 1.2"... very large. Priced to match. The biggest saving using a 0.69" projector is in the lens.

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Marco Giustini
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From: Reading, UK
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 - posted 11-30-2015 12:55 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
AFAIK the lens is in the 2K range, not sure it's the only saving on 0.69" projectors

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Ian Freer
Expert Film Handler

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From: Wellington, New Zealand
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 - posted 11-30-2015 05:03 AM      Profile for Ian Freer   Email Ian Freer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's also the fact that the DCI specs limit us to 250Mb/s regardless of resolution, so in theory a 4k image could have up to four times the compression (as compared to an equivalent 2k DCP) applied to squeeze it into the required bit rate. I can't imagine that helps the overall 4k quality...

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 11-30-2015 07:19 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I did some tests with 2k vs. 4k compression, you'd be surprised how big the quality margin is with the J2k compression. 4k is in no way compromised by the 'old' (pre-HFR) 250MBit/s limit.

- Carsten

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 11-30-2015 07:48 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have not worked with any 4K D-cinema equipment. What is the consensus on moire pattern issues? Is this more or less of an issue with 4K vs. 2K? This is a real issue in many venues.

Specifically, what is the best projector/screen combination of these:

2K - standard perf
4K - standard perf
2K - microperf
4K - microperf


Or is there some other arrangement that consistently works best?

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12295
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 11-30-2015 08:34 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only rule of thumb I have is if the perf density is on the order of the pixel density...moire is going to be bad. So if you go to 4K and micro perf, you might make it as bad or worse than a 2K with cinema perf. What is better is to get a screen manufacturer to rotate their perf pattern to keep the two grids from lining up. Stewart (crazy expensive) and Severtson will do that...I'm not sure if MDI does. I've definitely seen moire on both standard and micro perfs. For me, it is normally a matter of if the audience can see the perfs from the front row or not.

Don't foreget woven screens...they don't moire but are normally only offered in smaller sizes. Up close, it can have a brushed aluminum appearance though.


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