Philip Bloom Says 4K Makes HD Better, If You Do It Right

Update: Bloom contacted us and we have updated this post to incorporate his comments.

4K Cameras give 2K a “Lovely Image”

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Philip Bloom is back with another treatise on 4K, and this time it comes with an absolutely gorgeous video he made, shooting with the Canon 1D-C and Sony F55.  And although Bloom believes 4K is a want, and not a concrete need, he also believes that thanks to the wiggle room that 4K can give to filmmakers, they can make some fantastic HD and 2K films.  But you have to do it right.

Yes it’s another post where 4K video features highly. You just can’t get away from it! But this post is not about making a 4K film – it’s about using 4K to make a 2K film. – Philip Bloom

Bloom makes his argument with a gorgeous short film called From Chicago to the Moon. In it, he shoots some amazing footage at Sunset overlooking Lake Michigan at sunset and then turning his cameras heavenward and imaging the moon surrounded by the blackness of space.

It’s an amazing exercise of not only dynamic range, but also showing that even when using a mammoth lens like the Canon 800mm lens and a few extenders, he can crop in close to the lunar surface and make you think you’re right there, in spite of the fact that the atmospheric distortion can creep in.

When you take a photo on your DSLR, is that the image you use? Never re-framing or cropping? Of course you do! With large resolution in photos, that ability to crop stuff out and tweak our composition is common and, unless it’s done to an extreme, you just can’t tell. – Bloom

Bloom says that while shooting at higher resolutions and then reframing is becoming common, the danger is becoming lazy and not getting the coverage you need, figuring you can “fix it in post.”

He reminds us all that while the frame size may change, depth of field doesn’t.  Neither does frame of view.  As such, over-relying on reframing can get you into trouble and lesson the production value of your film.  “That’s why it should never be used as a habit,” Bloom cautions, “(but) mostly as a get out of jail free card…”

With his Canon 1D-C, he took that 800mm monster and added two extenders to make a lens array cable of 6400mm, and he was able to see details of the Chicago Skyline from the New York shore of Lake Michigan over 64 miles away.  And while the extenders did sacrifice some sharpness, Bloom realized he could back off one of the extenders some and take advantage of the “digital doubler” that the 4K 1D-C offered.

“… the image is so detailed I could easily crop it this much more and even further if I wanted to,” writes Bloom. “That’s the joy of the 1DC 4K video image.”  But even then, Bloom admits that to do this requires a lot of light, or you invite a lot of noise to the party. Imagine what he could’ve done with a MetaBones Speedbooster!

Bloom then looked skyward with the Sony F55, which he used standard photo glass with.  “With the F55, I used the Zeiss ZF, Nikon mount still glass, and the Sigma 18-35 F1.8.”  I gotta admit, that’s pretty slick considering they weren’t designed for digital cinematography.    He got some establishing shots and then whipped out the 800mm again on the 1Dc.

But why didn’t he just use the F55 for the whole film?  Bloom says that’s an easy answer … he uses Canon Lenses and the EF Mount for the F55 wasn’t up to snuff.  “Had I been able to use the 800 on the F55, I could have gotten closer due to the crop being 1.6x not the 1DC 4K 1.3x of a full frame sensor,” said Bloom. “The upside of the 1DC was I could take some smashing raw stills!”

Bloom says that “to shoot the moon at this focal length was such a joy, and the shot where I digitally zoom in on the a 4K shot of the moon on my HD timeline really shows you just how powerful 4K can be in creative terms. No way I could have gotten that shot without this resolution.”

If you want to hear more about Bloom’s Lunar- WindyCity Cinematic odyssey, check out his blog post at PhilipBloom.Net.  There’s some great stills that have some stunning colors.   As for the video …

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