Cinema 4K (TimeScapes: Rapture 4K) exceeds 1080P HD barrier; rivals IMAX.


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Most HD movies are rendered in 1920x1080 pixel resolution. What's a pixel?

The original Super Mario was comprised of tiny little squares called pixels. His appearance in the original Donkey Kong probably used even fewer pixels. For example, Mario's thumb on his right hand is one single pixel. The yellow two buttons to his suspender trousers are two yellow pixels.

Here's an unbelievably beautiful video recorded in at least 2048x1536 video quality. If you think this looks amazing, that's because that is the limit on YouTube videos, even when you set the quality to "Original", which is a non-standad feature designed for partners. Imagine this same video in cinema 4k is 4096x2160 pixels, which is double 2048x1536.

What you are about to see, however, is the maximum your computer monitor will ever be able to display. Set the video to original and watch it in full screen. You still won't see the quality difference unless you can somehow render 4096x2160 pixels or 2048x1536 pixels on your display. The video is currently being used to demonstrate the Google Nexus 10 tablet's
2560 x 1600 display, which is the highest resolution of any known mobile or tablet screen ever brought to market. It exceeds about 95% maximum resolution of all computer monitors currently in use on the planet. So what you are about to see will not even display its full beauty correctly, unless you have a display capable of rendering in 2048x1536... not very likely. It is still quite an amazing look.

Where I am going with this...

If you have a TV capable of HDMI and HD, you likely have 1080i or 1080P. If you have a HD monitor, you are likely using it at 1920x1080 pixel resolution, and if you have a really good graphics card, you probably have played some videos and/or video games in native 1920x1080 resolution. If you have a flat screen HD TV, you've probably seen 1080P or 1080i video. On a good monitor and video card that uses HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) you are almost definitely are benefiting from a 16:9 aspect ratio, which prevents most of the letterboxing that occured on 4:3 old TV screens. Did you know, though, that many blockbuster movies were recorded in widescreen exceeding 16:9? 1080P simply means 1,080 horizontal lines at an aspect ratio of 16:9. Notice that 4 can be divided into 16 and 3 can be divided into 9? This was done intentionally, because the creators of the 16:9 ratio knew at the time that there would need to be a way to compromise. On most TV's today, this is called Stretch, Pillar Box, and Pan & Scan: to get a 4:3 program to fit on a 16:9 screen.

TV shows still recorded in 4:3 are also dual recorded for 16:9 HD rebroadcast.

If you're really interested in this stuff, you should know that the current maximum standard for home HD broadcast is 16:9 1080P and 1080i. Back in the old days of movies, even they were recorded in 4:3 (the original TV standard). It was only when audience viewership dropped that they started recording things in various widescreen formats. New video editing technology has made it possible to anamorphically fit (and digitally enhance) older movies onto DVDs without the black bars commonly associated with the movies and TV shows of the 1980s and 1990s. We haven't even touched on the type of film and cameras used, and how high quality film often allows a direct digitalization into a 16:9 aspect ratio, especially if the film makers used high quality cameras. The crude method, when 16:9 DVD appeared, was simply to stretch the movie. Today, computer technology allows for 4:3 to 16:9 conversion, although this takes a lot of time, money, and effort, much like rendering movies in 3D. Not to get off subject, but most computer monitors run at a refresh rate to 60Hz. To get 3D onto a modern computer screen requires a minimum refresh rate of 120Hz at present. Thus, special monitors are sold for this purpose.

Indeed, some truly rare finds exist. One example, that comes to mind, is a video of the alternative rock band Nirvana, playing a show in France on February 4, 1994. The video is strikingly odd, as it seems to be rendered in 720P. The originals taken from 1994 must have been from extremely high quality cameras. Information about this show is limited, but it is believed that whoever was recording this show must have been using movie quality cameras and film at the time. By this time, Nirvana had reached a level of dominance on radio and television around the world that had been unseen for most rock bands. Nearly every show was recorded, but the camera quality here is considered extremely unusual. The YouTube comments are filled with people amazed that it "looks like it was recorded yesterday". Any takers on how this was done before the advent of HD video?

You've probably heard about BluRay. BluRay movies promote the best audio and visual quality possible. To give you an example of how TimeScapes: Rapture 4K exceeds even BluRay quality, BluRay still runs at 1920x1080 (1080P). Most early DVDs ran at 480P, while some have been able to fit 720P as of late. BluRay will run at true HD 1080P but nothing more, and due to the disc having 50GB of space, little to no compression need be used. Some DVDs attempt 1080P with special compression of the video to fit on 4GB discs.

Lower than HD is often called SD, where is a video typically plays at 420P or 720P. This is essentially DVD quality. When you go to buy a movie off of the Amazon Instant Play video store, you are usually getting the movie in 420P. On Google Play, you can choose SD or HD purchases, with videos streaming to non-Android devices at a max of 720P, and on Android devices at no maximum, but mostly 1080P.

What's your initial reaction to Cinema 4K? To give you an example, IMAX runs at an estimated 12,000 x 8700 with at least 6,120 x 4,500 discernible pixels. Surprisingly, digital IMAX versus film IMAX may still be considered to be lower quality. The type of film to record IMAX has been known to be 65mm-70mm cameras, with a lot of technological trickery involved. IMAX is just starting to reach a 4K display resolution using new optical dynamics. Understanding the technology behind IMAX is quite different in comparison to traditional forms discussed in the above article. If you have never seen an IMAX film, it is like looking through a clear window, and not watching a movie at all. for a good primer versus the above.

What do you think of Cinema 4K?

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