4K and Ultra-HD: Making programmes

Are Ultra-HD and 4K here to stay or a passing fad? Experts from the BBC and the wider industry give their opinions

This is the second part of our 4K podcast with Philippa Law, technology engagement officer for BBC Research and Development (R&D).

In our last podcast, 4K and UHD: Why does it matter?, we broke down what 4K and UHD mean for your production. This week we talk more about the practical aspect of filming in UHD - the kit you'll need, data storage and the production workflow.

Philippa speaks to Mark Harrison, director of the BBC Technology Futures Group, John Heraty, a broadcast trainer within the BBC Academy, and John Kent, head of digital at Lambert Productions.

 “In the end, making high quality content never gets cheaper. We always move the goalposts.” – Mark Harrison

Some productions have already started to film in 4K for television, including natural history series like Shark and Life Story, drama such as BBC One's The Coroner, rugby and football matches through BT Sport, and golf through Sky. Although, at present 4K isn't broadcast in the UK.

John Kent talks about the process of filming the 10-part series Secrets of the Brain for a new channel showing content in 4K in the Netherlands.

John talks not only about the costs of the cameras, which can seem relatively cheap in production terms, but the cost of additional equipment, such as lenses and data storage, which can skyrocket and really put a hole in your production budget. Also, the current process of transferring data is very costly in terms of money, space and time.

The panel talk about the kind of programmes that have been shot in UHD, including series with high legacy values such as natural history and science series. UHD delivers such high resolution that an editor can zoom in without compromising quality if the final film is created for HD viewing.

Our experts discuss 4K’s popularity, where it’s going in the future and how programme makers will have to change their attitudes to projects and technical advances. Plus, should we really be looking ahead to 8K?

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