The Sharp 8k Camcorder: The Future of Broadcast?

Sharp made a new camera—well, not a camera per se. It’s a camcorder. But that doesn’t really sum up what it is. Sharp made an 8k camcorder that’s decidedly not for cinematographers. Also, it’s $77,000. In short: I have many questions about all of this.

In high school, I had a friend that was, “petrol head.” Rather, he was obsessed with cars, but not just on an aesthetic level. He was obsessed with modifying his car and making minute tweaks to it. In the end, he would go on a rant for a while about why this modification changed everything, and he would start the engine and to me, it just sounded marginally louder.

So here we are, in 2017 and Sharp made an 8k camera that is specifically not made for cinematographers. This to me really calls into question the necessity for such high resolution and all of the work that brings with it. While I could criticize the camera itself, I’m sure it’ll be a great looking camera. At $77,000 it sure better be. In fact, I can almost guarantee that it will over deliver on almost every level for the shooters and demographic that they’re aiming for (over deliver might even be an understatement). So why does this bother me?

We work in a strange industry where our technology moves so incredibly fast, but the consumers who are watching our work aren’t even close to catching up. This Thanksgiving, you’re going to go home and your Uncle is going to turn on the football game, and I would be willing to bet it’ll be on the SD channel, instead of the HD one. This is obviously frustrating for us in the industry, but it should teach us a valuable lesson. Most consumers are ambivalent towards the details and progress that we obsess over.

For us, 8k is exciting and sounds future proof, but in the end, what future is that? Consumers have slowly walked towards HD, and they will slowly move to 4k (especially once 4k streams are more viable and 4k television becomes possible) and from there, we’ll make it to 8k. So when are we talking about here? What are we really spending this kind of money for? Depending on the work that you do, the answers are much more obvious than others. 

While manufacturers like Sharp are pushing their industry to these high resolutions, it seems like a whole lot of time, hard drive space and money for little to no return.

[via Cinema5D]

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Anonymous's picture

Fault? Shameful? Most of us, as he correctly states, really are ambivalent. I don't know anyone who cares. Younger adults, the ones who typically adopt technology first, spend a lot less time watching TV or movies, preferring their computers, hand-held devices and game systems.

Anonymous's picture

I disagree with your baseline so there's no point discussing from there. :-/

Felix C's picture

Why do you never think outside the box? Why do you limit yourself?

This camcorder is one of the first ones for the Olympics in 2020. NKK will be showing the Olympics in Japan in 8K. That is why it does 8K, 60p, at 4:2:2. Its for sports in high resolution and a camcorder.

Notice what it has, 4 12G SDI outputs. The Red camera is 8K but it is a cinema camera and does not output 8K but only to an internal memory recorder.

Bret Hoy's picture

If it is made specifically for the Olympics, that's fantastic! However, that is very niche. Broadcasting in 8k is more interesting than it is functional. I would just like a $77,000 tool to be a bit more wide reaching in it's applications.

That being said, I could be like those SD people who said no one would adopt HD! We'll eventually get to 8K, but until we get to 4k, it just seems a bit more gimmick than function and in this case, it adds a lot to the price tag.

Philipp Schmid's picture

Would've bought it but... APS-C is not good enough for my cats!

Elan Govan's picture

We used to subscribe to satellite TV via SKY for a number of years until HD arrived. Soon we were paying additional monthly payment to access them. ie...there is a price to be paid for quality..... ! In 10 to 15 years time, HD will be considered old technology.....ready for the dustbin.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

It would be nice to watch documentary about 2020 Olympics in 8K on your 8K monitor one day in 2050, right? That's the reason for this camera.

Elan Govan's picture

This would be great. I still have piles of VHS and vinyls in storage. Unfortunately modern TV manufacturers are moving away from SCART to HDMI, leaving older VHS owners desperately hanging on to ageing TV sets.

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

I think it would be easier in 2050 as I suppose this will all be digital content not related to any particular hardware. But I might be wrong.

I find it funny how you misspelled SCART as it's quality were, in fact, more similar to the word you used

Elan Govan's picture

How interesting !!.....I am aware this is a digital issue....but I was making a general statement in reference to the changing nature of electrical goods unless you are suggesting digital era is free of electricity. As for the word "SCART" was edited before you felt the need to correct.

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

Lol it wasn't my intention to correct, I just found the mistake funny. I'm aware digital needs electricity but I'm also aware a digital content can be converted to a new format with almost no effort, unlike the SCART cable :)

Elan Govan's picture

"Almost with no effort" mean they can do it all by themselves without any human interesting....why didn't I think of that........

Look...I am sure you mean well and I am glad I was here to brighten up your day with some much needed humour but it's all under control here. Digitally speaking.

Have a nice day.

filmkennedy's picture

As a RED Weapon Helium owner I don't feel that there's much of a need for every DI to be in resolutions greater than 4k. Sure I love shooting in 8k to use that extra resolution to recompose, stabilize, denoise/supersample, easier for vfx (on certain projects), debayering... But does everyone need to shoot in a resolution that is close to IMAX?

And of course there's the resolution to display size debate. If you're shooting a project for even Netflix then could anyone really tell the difference between 8k and 4k on a 72" screen at home, let alone 1080p vs 4K?

Back to shooting on 35mm film I've never scanned it larger then 6k to 4k (which is a bit ironic since the DI was in 2k those days). So if we consider even 35mm to be 4k then would requiring everything to be in 5k+ make over 100 years of film history obsolete?

This Sharp Camera is primarily for broadcast use. A 4:2:2 10 bit codec isn’t enough for cinema use-and 2TB for 40 or so minutes is just insane, that makes ARRIRAW 3.4k open gate look like xavchd 😂

Spy Black's picture

Being as I thought Sharp was long out of business and the last thing I thought they ever made was a boombox, this has me rather confused, but entertained as well. :-)