The End of all Camera Resolution Myths

Steve Yedlin, ASC offers an intriguing demonstration, on how capture formats, pixel counts and postproduction techniques affect image quality and why simply counting Ks is not a solution when selecting a camera.

While the “K Wars” continue to dominate many filmmaker and studio-level conversations about image quality and what camera system is “best” for a given project, cinematographer Steve Yedlin, ASC — known for his work in such films as Brick, Looper, Carrie and the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi — believes much of this discussion has been based more on advertising-influenced superstition than on observable evidence. His solution? Create an exhaustive, methodical, empirical presentation that would not only address the many issues swirling about this debate, providing isolated-variable comparisons  to demonstrate how he came to his perspectives on these issues.




You can read the whole article at American Cinematographer


One thought on “The End of all Camera Resolution Myths

  1. Resolution is not a good measure. What we see in terms of resolution is an effect of the MTF of the lens/sensor/processing/compression combination. A true measure for HD resolution is a specific point (such as 30%) of MTF, as long as the MTF curve is smooth without sharpening artfacts or halos.

    As an example, a lens may be 600 vertical lines at a very wide aperture, so 4k, or 8k will not look sharper than 2K.

    Then, there is the MTF limit of the eye combined with the screen size and distance. This generally makes everything above 2K very irrelevant in most cases. The eye also has very low resolution when it’s not looking directly at something, and it tends to mostly look at things that move, so perceived resolution will not be very high in these scenes anyway. In most movies, you have to hunt for a sharp image. Putting a 500line filter on a movie proves how little is above that point in actual shots.

    Generally, with big screens at proper distances, or in cinemas, the eye will detect softness in some low-motion scenes when we go below 600 lines of vertical resolution at 30-40% MTF. Getting 600 sharp lines requires 1080p/2K, sharp lenses and good processing. Above 1000lines, the limit is almost always the lens and the operator focusing skill.

    MTF is combined in all stages, so every bit of softness counts, the MTF goes lower. At 1080p everything after the sensor must be of very high quality.

    Sharpness can be recovered up to the sensor limit, as long as the compression quality is good, or the images are uncompressed. It’s a time consuming process, but it can be done. This is only important in technical applications or fixed sensor/lens systems.

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