Most people don’t own an 8K television or monitor. Heck, we don’t own an 8K monitor. Then why would do we shoot in 8K, today, before most people can view it that way?
One reason, and really not the best reason, is to future proof our work. 8K televisions are coming, beyond any doubt. They are already available for sale at prices equivalent to when HD TVs first became available. We can edit in 4K or HD today, and when 8K delivery gets here all of our footage will be ready to go.
A much better reason to shoot 8K today is that it looks better, even when mastered in 4K or HD. It is our opinion that higher resolution images look smoother than lower resolution images. You can interpret this as being “more like film”. One reason is that higher resolution (8K) sensors are able to resolve curved lines more smoothly, which adds a dimensionality to the image. And what’s really interesting is that this effect remains even when down-converted to 4K or HD. The softness and dimensionality is retained at the lower resolutions.
Better color rendition (more color information) is yet another compelling reason to shoot in 8K. While HD has 2 million pixels, 8K has 33 million pixels. This provides 16 times more pixels in which to capture color and gradient shifts. If you go from one pixel to the next, you can only make one color change. Instead, if you have 16 pixels to make that change, you can represent the color transitions much more precisely.
Finally, one of the most obvious benefits today of shooting in 8K is that 8K has 4 times the resolution of 4K and 16 times the resolution of HD. This means that in post-production we can zoom to 400% and still be at native 4K resolution. We can zoom an astounding 16 times in HD.
The bottom line is that, in our opinion, it is not necessary to view 8K images on an 8K screen to benefit from the increased information captured by the higher resolution sensor.
Our RED Epic-W Helium S35 (35mm sensor) Digital Cinema camera can shoot 8K all the way down to 2K (at an amazing 300 frames per second, meaning it will play back at 12 times slower than real time. Super slo mo!) The 8K footage is fantastic, with 16.5 stops of dynamic range. The colors and image capture are superior, even when down-converted to lower resolutions.