Foxconn, AKA Hon Hai Precision Industry, AKA the company that made your iPhone, works with the pioneer of RED digital cinema to create affordable 8K cameras, the company announced. President Terry Gou told reporters in Taipei, the Nikkei among them that the goal is to reduce both the price and the size of these two-thirds camera systems.
Whereas you can shoot 4K on the tiny sensor of a mobile phone these days, it's not really a surprise that the small 8K factor is a focus for a major manufacturer of equipment. Very soon, it will be a standard feature on flagship phones.
Of course, Gou did not say anything to suggest that the quality of the picture was worth it. A sensor that records at this resolution can be an integral part of an 8K system, but there is much more than that. On the one hand, to get a decent picture, you need a serious drink: the lenses for mainstream products are simply not made with the precision needed for this level of detail. Glass cinema is five digits to start.
Honestly, it's only the beginning. In addition to the glass, you will need a very fast and efficient image processor and a lot of storage – even compressed, an 8K video can be 10 to 20 times bigger than a 1080p video . Then you will need to color and edit … and after all this, most people will be unable to tell the difference between HD and normal.
But digital cinema is more than people who take videos of their friends doing karaoke. More and cheaper cameras shooting reasonably good images at 8K are good news for filmmakers who want multiple angles, VFX artists who want more pixels, operators who struggle to cope with high costs. Sometimes two decent cameras are better than a big one (but not always).
RED has been riding this line, with gear generally overpriced for people who are not really filmmakers ($ 15-30,000), but often much cheaper than competition from Arri and Panavision (think upper). Apparently, the two are in talks to create a joint venture or partnership to produce these theoretical cameras, as part of an effort by Foxconn to differentiate its holdings a bit.
I contacted RED for more information and I will update this post if I hear it.
Selected image: RED