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.