I know that people are interested in 8K, and that opinions about it are divided. They're less divided amongst people who have actually seen it, and that's a pretty small number because unless you've been to a major trade show recently, you'll not have had any opportunity to view recently-aquired 8K on a genuine 8K screen.
There have been demos of 8K for years, but it's only recently that RED has produced commercially available 8K cameras - and a managable 8K workflow -and so we've been able to study full dynamic range 8K as opposed to the rather "709" looking pictures from the earlier experimental 8K cameras from the likes of NHK.
And, to me, the results are incredible. Footage on show in RED's invitation-only suite at NAB this year was way better than anything I'd seen before. So good, in fact, that it messed with my mind. Viewing 8K aerial shots on a Sharp 70" 8K monitor (yes - "only" 70"!) caused my brain to tell me that I was watching a "moving still image". it's hard to explain but it was as if I was watching a transparency in a projector, except that people, cars and buildings were moving.
But how is this even meaningful if you don't have an 8K screen, like 99.9999% of us? Well, this footage demonstrates that it's very meaningful indeed.
Because I believe that quality is about more than pixels. Move up one level from pixel peeping and you start to talk about the information content of an image (moving or still). And I think that the more information you have in an image when it's captured (that's pixels, colour, dynamic range, etc) the more information will be retained when that image is displayed at lower resolutions.
It's partly because the more information is present in the original image, the better the assumptions made by the compression algorithms; but I think it's more than that. It's also about the integrity and robustness of the image: subtle hints and cues that remain present whatever the resolution - as long as they're there in the first place.
Ultimately it's about what our brains need to be feed in order to feel that they're "looking" at a high resolution image. (I realise this is not exactly a rigerous breakdown of the process).
Try it for yourself. This film was shot at the incredibly high resolution of 12K using three RED MONSTRO VV cameras side by side. The footage was stitched together to create these remarkable images.
Here's the thing: to me, viewing on a Macbook 12" with a resolution in between HD and 4K, these images look better than anything I've seen even in 4K. I know it's just me thinking that, but there's a reason I think it, and it's because these pictures have been derived from the original shots which contained such abundant information. I've also viewed the footage on a full 4K screen (which is how I captured these stills), and the effect is the same. It looks better than 4k. I'm pretty sure there's detail in this that you would not have seen if it was captured in 4K.
Crop from 4K YouTube version - you can still see the detiail and I believe there is more detail in this than if it was shot natively in 4K. Remember this is AFTER YouTube compression and via JPEG and PNG screen captures and resizing
I spoke to the the creator of this footage, Phil Holland, yesterday. He told me: "It's about captured detail. And if there's not enough resolution to capture it, it just never appears."
Have a look at the film yourself, but first, here's what Phil had to say about it:
Recently Gotham Film Works took delivery of the first SHOTOVER K1 HAMMERHEAD Aerial Camera Array.
Over the last several years I’ve been specializing in long form, high resolution, large format aerial cinematography. For the first shoot with this new aerial array we rigged the system with 3X RED Weapon Monstro 8K VV cameras, which once processed creates stunning 100 megapixel motion picture images with a sensor size of approximately 645 Medium Format Film.
The resulting 12K by 8K footage is 48.5 times the resolution of HD 1080p and full of captured detail. This is an 8K export of the footage. Best viewed in 4K or 8K full screen.