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There’s a lot to be said about this year’s NAB show, so I’ll try not to rehash a lot of it.

As a disclosure, I’m a professor full time, so a lot of NAB for me is ‘What do my kids need to know about the next 2-4 years of media?’ Why? Because any further out and it will all have changed anyway!

From the Park’s stand point, I’m looking at “How do we develop as storytellers?” We’re a doc company first, so using the camera to tell the story of (fill in the blank) is important.  Any insight is a plus!

4K-Resolution and Revolution

All that said, one stood out most to me was the stunning 4K prototype reference monitors from Canon and 4K over all. There were some aerial city shots from a 4K camera and the images were stunning! You could see the individual cars with great detail and no blur in headlights. It almost looked animated it was so sharp.  This is lovely to me because it will really make us all think about lighting and composition. With that much clarity and crispness, we had all better up our game.

The flip side to 4K is going to be storage and projection. Terabytes, plural, are going to be needed to handle the medium. One DP said that in 2006 when working on a 4K prototype that the raid array they used was about the size of four ping pong tables arranged together. With compact flash and SxS, it won’t be so bad to shoot, but you’ll really be thinking about how much coverage you need when needing 4 TB to hold your raw footage for a 3 minute short.

With projection, new projectors, storage for 90 minutes of 4K films, screens…the list could go on. Against most peoples will, we just made DLP projectors the norm. How much more can we ask our friends in the theaters to do?

Fundamentals – Back to Basics

BEA (Broadcast Education Association, I really am a professor!) documentary division invited the A.S.C. to speak and we heard from Julio Macat, who shot ‘Home Alone’, ‘Wedding Crashers’ and ‘Ace Ventura’ to name a few.

He began with words I’ll never forget “Cinematography is our religion and our holy trinity are Composition, Camera Movement and Lighting.” Julio spoke about all the great advances in technology and said that if you want to be good, be a camera mechanic so you know your machine. Even more than that though he stressed that the box (camera) isn’t what’s important, it’s the story and how you tell it. SD/HDV/HD/4K, none of it matters.  Can you frame the story, move the camera to tell the story and light the story to give it emotion? If not, an ARRI Alexa won’t even save you. Our job is to connect with the audience and evoke emotion. The box you do that with shouldn’t matter…if you’re good at your craft.

He reminded us to get back to basics. Get a camera and shoot, doesn’t matter what kind of camera or what you’re shooting, just go shoot.  He showed some old 16mm films of his kids he’d shot years ago. I kid you not, it was almost frame-for-frame what you see in this clip of the ‘Wedding Crashers’. He’s shot so much that what he does today is just recall the emotions of what he’s done before. He thinks “how do I want the audience to feel in this shot” first…not “what kind of camera/lens can I use.”

So yes, I love where 4K will take us and how it will force us to improve our craft, we need to remember that the story being told in front of it will always surpass it’s importance.

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