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Introduction to the 8k Mobile Digital Lab - now extended to 12k

Based on our collective professional experiences and recent quantum leaps in the technology the  8k Mobile Digital Lab functions both as a DIT workstation and as a creative editorial hub with on line editing, colour grading, sound and visual effects. It is the equivalent of a fully fledged post production facility that can be set up near shooting or even directly inside a film studio. It offers a simple, practical, cost effective and fast workflow for finishing anything from 2k to 8k and 12k films and television series, shaving many weeks and months off the usual time to market with the current bog standard methods.

It may seem surprising, but the industry is very conservative and many are not willing to embrace new processes and techniques such as the new high resolution formats, more out of habit, yet they have only to gain with a process that offers a faster turnaround, less costs and more creative opportunities.

Few post production facilities have renewed their technologies to the new higher resolutions, and the high overheads some of them also have contribute to make them less competitive.

For many, the idea of recording 8k or 12k imagery conjures up huge files sizes, long transfer times, piles of hard drives, and slow proxy workflows. It doesn’t have to be. There is also a misconception that these high resolutions are vastly more expensive than they actually are. 

Even though HDR (high dynamic range) and HFR (high frame rate) are far more valuable than resolution to the consumer’s eye, there are other benefits with an 8k - 12k production which an increasing number of projects are taking advantage of because shooting in these high resolutions offers many significant advantages in post that one would not have when shooting in lower resolutions such as 4K. The high resolution images, and which have much greater numbers of pixels enable vastly improved selectivity for grading, tracking, picture stabilisation, green screens, blue screens, composites, visual effects, and re-framing.

8k Mobile Digital Lab drastically reduces the time it takes with today’s standard processes to complete post production by offering right from the beginning of shooting the possibility of working in final quality without the need to do off-line / online or proxies. Thanks also to the Da Vinci Resolve, no footage ever needs transcoding as work is done with native and raw digital camera files.

8k Mobile Digital Lab offers a novel, very high technical quality control to all departments. So, for example, makeup and hair department heads can evaluate the result of their work as it will be seen in the final product; director can see edited and graded dailies with the editor and cinematographer. All of this leads to creative interactivity for the heads of department and a first hand insight into production’s progress for the Producer.

With partner Pixelman - Cineric 8k Mobile Digital Lab offers 8k scanning for 35mm and 65mm films, and which gives the resulting restored films an extremely impressive look. Those that have not yet seen the effective results often state that 4k is “enough” for 35mm films. The 8k Mobile Digital Lab pushes the benchmark from “enough” to excellent, and for good reasons.

The practise of oversampling, or using higher resolutions to shoot and scan with offer better image quality for the finished product, and now that the technology has become eminently enabling for 8k, there’s no excuse not to use it!! It will look better!! And it won’t cost more!!

Mike shooting and directing cinematography in 8k with the Red Monstro in the Dubai office of the Prime Minister of The United Arab Emirates - Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This was for a documentary based on his book “My Story”, and was also the first time in the world that the 8k Mobile Lab was used.

The Lab was set up in a Hotel in the City, and every evening Mike was able to see colour graded rushes, while director Ahmed Kamel was able to see edits made by editor Wael Al-Masri.

The production companies and producers were also able to see progress in shooting and post production on a daily basis, and everyone was extremely well impressed by this, and, of course the quality of the pristine imagery. While the main shooting was done in 8k with the Red Monstro, night time desert shots were done with the Red Gemini in 5k taking advantage of its 3200 ISO capabilities.

The project was edited, graded and finalised in 4k, and with imagery shot in higher resolutions this gave very high quality imagery thanks to oversampling.