Shark Biscuit have made the move to 4K. This is not a decision that we took lightly as many of the broadcasters that we deliver content for; the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and S4C all transmit in High Definition. Shark Biscuit are not purposefully political but were asked recently by the Welsh Labour party to produce a party political broadcast for the upcoming election. This was a challenge that we were happy to accept and one that we were determined to deliver using 4K video.
The first challenge was dealing with the 4K file size. 4K is roughly 1 gigabyte per minute, so to combat the mass size versus the short timeframe that we had to produce the broadcast, (8 Days) we decided to film the shots of the subjects speaking direct to camera in 4K, then drop down to HD for actuality shots.
The second test was ensuring that the post production kit we had was powerful enough to process the footage in realtime. For this we upgraded our Novatech to 36 GB of RAM, which coped with the footage really well. In the video edit we used two timelines, one for the 4K video and one for the HD video.
Using the Sony A7R ii camera was awesome, its low light capacity meant that on many occasions we could use natural lighting with an LED camera mounted light when needed. Rarely over the process of production did we need to break out the 3 point red heads. When we invariably did it can become most time consuming as you have to control all the light in the environment. Another great advantage of the camera is that it is really small and lightweight, so portability is fantastic and shot set up time is dramatically reduced.
Moving forward Shark Biscuit will be consistently shooting in 4K, as we cannot deny the crisp, viceral image that results from shooting in it.