Before the advent of High Definition (HD) there was Standard Definition (SD). Many countries still broadcast in SD, including ours. Plans are being drawn up to upgrade to HD but our film making industry, in this instance, has overtaken the broadcast industry by finishing both post and production in HD.
HD promises unrivaled image clarity, accurately rendered colours and a much larger playing field- see more of the action, be totally immersed in the movie.
High Definition comes in two flavours: standard HD with resolution of 1280 X 720 pixels (commonly referred to as 720p) and full HD at 1920 X 1080p (known as 1080p). Contrast this with SD, which is only 720 X 576 pixels and you’ll no longer wonder why so many film makers are tripping over each to upgrade their setups to HD.
Upgrading to HD is no small task. New cameras have to be purchased, new editing workstations, software and hard disks must be bought. A new digital workflow have to be mastered and the bugs eliminated.
Before the dust has settled, ‘beyond HD’ is announded. Once again, film makers were tripping over each other trying to acquire the latest technology to finish in 4K. This is now the ‘holy grail’ of cinematography, 4K.
The cameras with the ability to accomplish this wondrous task are only a handful. Most notable are the cameras from Red (Hollywood California) and the Arri Alexa (Munich, Germany). These cameras provide the best technology can offer at this point in time.
Keep in mind these are motion picture cameras, the real deal. They shoot in RAW format, giving the editors and colourists unparalleled latitude when crafting that distinct look of a film.
This is only half the story: being able to shoot in RAW format, you get to edit in RAW format. Editing RAW footage is another hurdle to overcome as much much more processing power is required.