I was at a good cinema recently, where I saw two trailers that I had worked on, back to back. Only later did I remember that for one we did the graphics at 4K, while for the other, the graphics were at 2K.
This sparked off some thoughts...
When watching Master and Commander did you think:
a) Wow, it's going to win a best Cinematography Oscar
b) This is so soft! I wish they'd taken time and money away from the grading and sky replacement work and spent it on going to 4K instead
When you saw Amelie did you think:
a) Wow, such intense golds and greens! And she looks so good with those wide angle lenses
b) Typical French, only working at 2K and worrying about aesthetics instead of tech specs. What were they thinking?
Trailers are finished on everything from 4K to 2K to D5 / HDCAM. I've done many trailers that went through roughly 5 stages of compression before being printed to film. But they were for projection in small art-house theaters so nobody saw the difference. The clients were just happy that we'd saved them enough money on the online for them to have a budget to do a proper sound mix.
Any thoughts on this? To me, 4k RAW acquisition is great. But a 4K finish is stupid pain... unless it's specifically to impress a tech-spec-crazy investor / buyer.
Why not just finish at 2K and if by some crazy chance someone offers you a ton of money for theatrical distribution on screens actually big enough to show the difference... then you can go back and do 4K all the way through.
Why is everyone obsessing about 4K for finishing so much? It's so expensive and time consuming to do right now. On the post side, I'd suggest stopping trying to hack together a system that can online 4K... and instead just put something together that can do HD / 2K reliably and quickly. In a few years' time, ONCE you get that big distribution deal on the basis of the wonderful stuff you've shown at HD / 2K res, then you will be able to put together a 4K system quickly and easier because computers will be faster and cheaper. Also it won't be like you're spending money on a pipe dream of making a feature film in the future. It'll be because you've shot a great film that people love at 2K and want to pay you money to see it finished at 4K.
For my 2c, I think 4K finishing in 2007 is way out in the "stupid" side of the bang-for-the-buck curve. Nearly everyone would be better served by shooting RedCode 4K RAW but immediately going to 2K in RedCine or via some kind of proxy method, except for specific cases where you need to blow up shots. And then once you've finished blowing up shots, etc, do your finishing at 2K.