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What is 4K? What is UHD?

Question: What is 4K? What is UHD?

Answer: 4K and UHD (Ultra HD) refer to the resolution, or number of pixels, of the image captured and displayed. UHD is defined by ITU-R as an image resolution of 3840x2160. This is precisely four times the resolution of 1920x1080 and has a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This is typically used for presentation on Consumer Electronics television sets and projectors. 4K is defined by Digital Cinema Initiatives as an image resolution of 4096x2160. This has an aspect ratio of 1.89:1 and is typically used for cinematic presentation. These terms, often used interchangeably, describe a resolution which is 2x the width and height of full HD or 1080p. Instead of using the term "2160p," the industry has adopted the terms UHD and 4K. Netflix has adopted the term "UHD 4K" to make it simpler for our customers. For a camera, this is determined by the number of photosites on the camera’s sensor. For a display, this is determined by the number of pixels on a TV panel or projector’s imaging chip.

 

Why does Netflix require UHD on Netflix Originals?

Question: Why does Netflix require UHD on Netflix Originals?

Answer: In 2014, Netflix made the decision to begin shooting and delivering all Originals in UHD. This decision was made for several reasons, the most of important of which is to future-proof our content. UHD is here, and adoption of UHD in the home is increasing. In just a few years, it will be harder to find an HD television than a UHD television. For this reason, we feel it only makes sense to shoot natively in the format that most of our customers will see for years to come. The experience for customers viewing HD is still fantastic. Our encoding pipeline takes a UHD master and produces beautiful HD (and SD) streams for all those customers who are viewing on smaller or older displays.

 

What does NETFLIX mean by “non-approved” camera?

Question: What does NETFLIX mean by “non-approved” camera?

Answer: A non-approved camera is one that has not met the base capture specifications required by Netflix Originals. While there are many cameras that are UHD capable, we approve them based on more than just image resolution.  

By default, 90% of the total runtime of a final program should be captured on approved cameras. For nonfiction content, this threshold may be more flexible. Any exceptions must be discussed with the relevant Netflix project lead.

Our specifications take the following into account:

  • Native Sensor Resolution (minimum 3840x2160 or 8.3 megapixels)

  • Dynamic Range

  • Record formats (compressed video and RAW capture)

  • Physical connectivity and functionality

  • Workflow compatibility

 

I keep hearing about the “non-approved footage allotment”, what does this mean?

Question: I keep hearing about the “non-approved footage allotment”, what does this mean?

Answer: Because preserving your creative intent is so important to us, we make allotments for a certain percentage of a project to be captured on non-approved cameras.

 

What are the implications of using a non-approved camera?

Question: What are the implications of using a non-approved camera?

Answer: There are several factors, including:

The non-approved footage allotment.

  • Keep all non-approved footage to a maximum of 10% of the total run time of each episode or movie.

Compromised image quality.

  • Some non-approved cameras may have inferior image quality.  This can manifest as increased noise in the image, inaccurate color reproduction, etc.  An inadequate codec can also negatively affect image quality by introducing banding and other undesirable artifacts.

Functional limitations.

  • Not having a timecode input or requiring a separate third-party recorder can introduce more work in post as well as adding unnecessary complexity and points-of-failure on-set.

 

I need to use a non-approved camera for technical reasons, will it be subject to the 10% allotment?

Question: I need to use a non-approved camera for technical reasons, will it be subject to the 10% allotment?

Answer: We understand that some shooting scenarios (drones, crash-cam, tight spaces, etc.) cannot always accommodate a large camera. In these situations we do allow smaller UHD cameras to be used that are not on our approved camera list, but the 10% non-approved allotment will still apply.

 

I’d like to shoot with a high-speed camera but there aren’t any on your approved list, will this camera also count towards the 10% allotment?

Question: I’d like to shoot with a high-speed camera but there aren’t any on your approved list, will this camera also count towards the 10% allotment?

Answer: Yes - high speed cameras tend to make compromises in image quality in order to achieve high frame-rates. However, there are several cameras on our approved list that can go as high as 120fps, which may be sufficient for your project.

 

My project requires a vintage, “lo-fi” look. Can I shoot it on a non-approved camera if creative intent merits this look for the entire episode or movie?

Question: My project requires a vintage, “lo-fi” look. Can I shoot it on a non-approved camera if creative intent merits this look for the entire episode or movie?

Answer: In this situation we would recommend the show be shot on an approved camera. The “lo-fi” look can then be applied in Post, giving far more flexibility while maintaining a good quality image.

 

 

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