Never stop learning.

I’ve always held this belief and in the video production business I doubt you’ll survive long if this isn’t your approach to the tools that you use every day. I also believe that experimenting and testing is something you don’t do on a paying customer’s bill, so my holiday movies have become R&D opportunities.

Cameras recording at 2K and 4K resolutions are becoming more common and so too have the ability of post tools to handle higher-than-HD resolution media. 2K and 4K projects were recently added to Avid Media Composer 8 and I used a kayaking trip the past weekend to test the feature. To shoot footage for my planned video project I used the only recording device I currently own that shoots 2K – my GoPro Hero 3+ and its older companion, a Hero 2 that will be recording at 1080p/25fps. I chose 2.7K because my GoPro offers it at a decent 25fps. I was also curious to see how HD video from the older GoPro would play along in a 2K timeline.

Let me be the first one to admit that although I have a lot of experience dealing with HD and SD projects, I’m new to the world of 2K and 4K editing, this being my first 2K editing session. I believe that experiences like these are great because it highlights gaps in your knowledge that you can improve on, and also gives you a bit more of a running start the first time a client requires you to work with this type of media.     

In Media Composer 8.3.1 I created the closest project I could find to the size of my GoPro 2.7K footage, which was 2K 2048x1152 25fps. I brought in my GoPro media through AMA and then transcoded everything to native Avid DNx to speed up editing later.

To my surprise the newly created 2K media handled really well in Media Composer on my aging HP Elitebook with no noticeable performance lags. Avid also did a great job of resizing the 2.7K GoPro media to the 2K timeline. All AVX effects worked as normal and the 1080p footage had no noticeable problem with clarity when viewed side-by-side with the 2.7K images.

The only snag I hit was when I tried to create titles.

Marquee won’t work in a 2K project and you’re asked to use the newly added NewBlue Titler instead…a privilege for which NewBlue FX will gladly charge me money as my trial copy has expired.

I opted to create my titles in Photoshop. A straight import of a higher-than-HD graphic requires AMA import, which in turn reversed the alpha channel on it. Problem.

Eventually I resorted to kicking the project down to 1080p, import my titles and then exported the final sequence to QT as 1080p HD. Again I realize that there are gaps in my knowledge and that this workflow is far from ideal, but it was a valuable learning experience and I’m happy with the clarity of the final 1080p clip, considering what I used to record the footage with.

The bulk of what I do everyday is still HD. But having just ordered a compact Sony PXW-X70 camera and the promise of 4K on that in future firmware updates, 2K and 4K is something I’ll be taking a closer look at in future.