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Author Topic: For Video, Sony vs. Canon  (Read 361 times)

JoeKitchen

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For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« on: September 13, 2018, 05:48:08 PM »

Hello Everyone, 

I would like to get more into video, even though I am not completely sure how I am going to integrate it into my business yet.  However, I do think it is the future and can not ignore it anymore.  Ultimately I would like to do more stories, not straight up videos of architecture (my speciality).  

I am considering purchasing either a Canon 5D IV or the new Sony A7R III.  Which would you recommend?  

Obviously I know the Sony is mirrorless and I like the idea of being able to use any lens with it plus being able to attach it to my tech camera.  But I do have other concerns that I really don't know anything about when it comes to comparing the systems.  

First, I would probably be using this camera for more B-roll and would rent a professional cine camera for any interviews.  Obviously it would be best to keep the brands consistent between the main camera and the B-roll camera for color and file similarities.  I have used the Canon C300 Mark II and found that to be a very nice cine camera that produces a good file.  I have never used a Sony cine camera.  How are Sony's offerings compared to Canon?  How do the files from each compare in regards to color depth and dynamic range.  I think Canon's C300 II records a 12-bit color file at 4:2:2 at its best quality.  Are the Sony's similar?

Second, specifically how do the files from the 5D IV and the A7R III compare?  Does one have much better color and/or depth to allow for more robust editing?  

Joe  
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Joe Kitchen
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MichaelEzra

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 08:41:35 AM »

Hi Joe, I am no video expert, but may be Blackmagic 4K Pocket is worth considering if you are after a cinema-type camera.
MFT mount & loaded with cinema/video features. Within the same budget you could get two of them for 100% consistency.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 09:39:49 AM by MichaelEzra »
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JoeKitchen

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2018, 11:31:26 AM »

Hi Joe, I am no video expert, but may be Blackmagic 4K Pocket is worth considering if you are after a cinema-type camera.
MFT mount & loaded with cinema/video features. Within the same budget you could get two of them for 100% consistency.

This is something I was considering, however the Super8 sensor size makes it difficult to get good wide lenses for interiors.  I like the idea of working with a full frame sensor since I can use my current lenses without a loss of width. 
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Joe Kitchen
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MichaelEzra

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2018, 04:24:40 PM »

Take a look at
  Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO
  Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
  Rokinon 10mm F2.8 ED AS NCS CS
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John Brawley

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 08:28:38 PM »

This is something I was considering, however the Super8 sensor size makes it difficult to get good wide lenses for interiors.  I like the idea of working with a full frame sensor since I can use my current lenses without a loss of width.

Well actually the mft sensor size is about half way between SUPER 35 and Super 16, the most common professional motion imaging origination formats for the past few decades. Much bigger than Super 8.

I'd be confident to say about 90% of the content most people watch is NOT 135 format motion imaging cameras.

Maybe you don't realize, but most professional cinema cameras (including the C300 you mentioned) are super 35, not 135 format. So you're already looking at a cropped camera if that's your fear.  It's only in the last few years we've seen any professional larger that S35 cameras making their way into professional hands.

Oh, and the Canon C300 MK2.. While it can do 12 bit, it's "only" in 1920, not 4K.

The P4K can do 16 bit lin / 12 bit log RAW uncompressed, or using a new soon to be implemented RAW codec that BMD just released called .braw it can go up to 12:1

Or it can shoot ProRes HQ. All on board for the same price.

Canon have a habit of crippling their codecs through much higher proprietary compression and bit depth limiting as well.  But if you want AF and more ease of use in the field for a one person band then it's a better option.  Canon make some nice pictures, but the limitation is the codec.  And it's criminal how limiting they are for the price you pay.

There are also some EF mount speedbooster's and they've been very popular with BMD MFT camera users.

JB







« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 08:34:18 PM by John Brawley »
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TommyWeir

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 04:22:15 AM »

I have to say if I was looking at a camera mainly for video, I'd be looking at a Panasonic GH5.   The lens range, the adoption by the video community, the wide range of add-ons and Panasonic's options and controls for video capture built into the camera.  It's remarkable.    The Blackmagic is great too.

But if you're considering your current lenses then perhaps I'd edge it to the Sony.

JoeKitchen

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 12:53:57 PM »

Thanks all for the replies. 

However, if Canon and Sony were the ONLY choices, which would you go with considering the overall offerings of each?  (I have my reasons for being so specific.) 
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Joe Kitchen
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bcooter

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2018, 03:39:58 PM »

Thanks all for the replies. 

However, if Canon and Sony were the ONLY choices, which would you go with considering the overall offerings of each?  (I have my reasons for being so specific.)

Hey Joe,

Since you mentioned the 5d mark iv and the Sony A7RIII, I can't give you an exact comparison, but can get close as I have a 1dx Mark II and a Sony A7sII.

First I find the Canon color much easier to control, especially on people, with the only downside is the mjpeg codec.  It's actually a good codec, except it's very large, even on the 5d Mark IV which is 500mBytes a second and will fill up a Cfast 2 card quickly.     Also the Mark IV has a 1.74 crop which is close to 4/3.     There were rumors last year that Canon would offer a firmware that would change that to 4k 1.27 but that annoucement was in March 2017, and not a word since.

https://petapixel.com/2017/03/29/canon-5d-mark-iv-firmware-update-reduce-4k-crop-1-74x-1-27x/

Also the Canon does not have internal stabilization, so you need stabilized lenses for hand held work, or a stabilizer and most Canon FF zoom lenses with stabilization are F4 constant, except the 70 to 200.    I recently tested a 24 to 70 2.8 sigma but found the stabilization weak compared to the Canon 24 to 70.   The sigma is a nice lens and well built, but I would only use it for tripod work.  The excellent thing about all the pdaf Canons is the autofocus is amazing, especially the face detection and that's from the lowly 80d, then the 1dxII, c200, c300, c700.

I bought the Sony A7sII for it's low light capabilities and iBIS, but it has a weak bit rate of 100 mbs and will skew quickly on anything but slow pans and I have to be very careful with banding like on skies and maybe it's  me but I find color grading skin tones in a lot of scenes very difficult to grade in resolve and the Sony batteries don't last long for filming.  This may be that I'm very use to Canon color, so I use the 1dxII, though a lot of people love about the Sonys.  But don't be scared off by Canon's c200 8 bit because it's a pretty rugged file.

And sorry for the long post, but I've done this and seen at with at least another dozen still photographers moving to or adding motion footage to their repertoire.

You want to get your feet wet first, but to relay my story, when my 5d2 had been out a few years I decided to try to make it a cinema camera.   I think I spent around 5k or mounts, rails, cages, adapters, sound input, etc.   Now it is still a good 2k camera in the semi dark and for short takes and newer software will upres to 3.7k without overly noticeable artifacts.

(this is a still image from a 5d2 motion grab that has been first graded in resolve then retouched in Photoshop).


But after using it, I realized I was chasing my own tail.   It was obvious then it was going to become a 4k world and it has.   So I bought my first RED 1, then a second one for a "round the world gig".    I like RED, then bought a Scarlet MX then an Epic MX. Had a screen writer I know write approx 5 scenes and since we were going to Paris for a gig, I thought what a better way to learn than to shoot these scenes.  I learned more in those 4 days than I would have learned reading every tube review and just testing in the studio.

Today (even though I still use them) I wouldn't buy an R1 simply because they're heavy, but todays cameras didn't exist then.   Client expectations then were for good 2k, now good 4k, even though most AD's or even their production teams can't play a prores edit in 4k on their few years old iMacs, they all started asking for final edits in 2 and 4k (or uhd), so those now older R1's more than paid for themselves. 

And btw, DPs and operators I know that came from the film world, all were saying how bad the R1's were, but REDs last firmware updates and improvements in resolve still make them useful and I've only had one bad clip out of thousands of clips.   

As you know times change quickly in the digital world and there are many options, but taking a sony A7 series camera, or any dslr/mirrorless and turning them into something really useful, including sound recording can get expensive, even if it's for your own personal reel will easily drop you into the 7k range of expense and you'll find yourself back into the buy a bigger camera range.   

In the last year and a half, I've had client's from direct to Ad agencies ask what type of cameras I work with and use Netflix's approved list as a guide.  https://partnerhelp.netflixstudios.com/hc/en-us/articles/217237077-Production-and-Post-Production-Requirements  which is kind of silly because Netflix probably has a thousand movies online that we're shot with the original and later Arri's which and only lately Arri hit a true 4k off the sensor.  In fact Netflix only allows two Arri's.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that type of list I posted.

Now I'm not suggesting anything other than keep in mind the first dip your toe expense plus later adding more professional cameras.

An URSA mini pro may seem expensive, but if you look around through established dealers and rental houses, you can get one for probably close to the same cost of tricking out a 5d mark II or any small sony and have something you can use for a long time.

I'm also not saying that great content and story doesn't matter, because a great script and some time/budget makes a huge difference.  In fact two years ago I viewed a jeans commercial that was the best I've seen, all shot with a 5d2.

But the one thing I DO strongly suggest is learning DiVinci Resolve.  It's a kluge of a software but has a beautiful color engine, but learning it is the black hole of time.

just IMO

BC
« Last Edit: September 18, 2018, 03:49:38 PM by bcooter »
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 08:45:56 AM »

Had a quick look at your website and therefore brand/client base.

In summary Id say canon have better colour and sony have more efficient codecs and higher frame rates.

If you want 'stills like' malleable images Id forget any 8bit cameras (sony mirrorless)

Im taking a guess that you own canon stills gear with significant money in glass, maybe TSE lenses and the like.

I think as AF gets its act together then having glass and body from the same maker will pay off.

Id therefore suggest canon.

In budget order..

-load magic lantern and shoot with the DSLR you have.
-the new mirrorless looks interesting

-If you are a file (quality)junkie then you want raw/12bit..
-Which takes you to
-Used C500 and Odessey recorder
-C200
-C700
in cost order, the C700 having the advantage of fullframe, AF and higher frame rates

The C200 has good AF and seems the perfect match to someone who wants a good file, AF with their existing lenses and a 'reasonable' price - what you dont get is slow motion.

--
Shooting buildings timelapse and DSLR will deliver fantastic images.









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HywelPhillips

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2018, 10:08:42 AM »

As always the answer is a big "it depends".

BC and Morgan are absolutely right in what they say, but it depends on how ambitious you need to be. If just dipping a toe in the water of video, I think the Sony A7RIII is the better option right now... unless you already have a lot of Canon lenses.

If you're going to be at all serious about video on Canon, you really need to look at their cinema EOS line, the C200 in particular. In fact you'd do better with an 80D than a 5DIV IMO especially if you already have some EF-S lenses. The compromises for video on the 5DIV are horrible- especially that crop factor that BC mentions. The 1DXII is less crippled as a video camera, but if that is the only reason for buying one, you'd do better with a Cinema EOS (even if you have to find it second-hand) rather than encumber yourself with a heavy dSLR body which might not be of use to you in stills situations.

Conversely, if the 1DXII appeals as a stills camera and you have lots of Canon full-frame lenses, get one. 


In praise of the Sony A7RIII, its video autofocus is damn good now - not quite as magical as the 1DXII, but still very useable. The out-of-camera colour can be fixed- get Andrew Reid's Procolour profiles: https://www.eoshd.com/pro-color/ and it'll look almost as good as a Canon.

I have mine set permanently to those colour profiles and I really like the look.

The A7RIII can shoot both full-frame and APS-C crop frame in 4K, shoots 100/120 fps slowmo in 1080p, has IBIS for handheld use, is great in low light... and is an outstandingly good detail/landscape/portrait/all-around high resolution stills camera as well. Eye AF is a godsend for shallow depth of field work.

The flaw as BC says is that it is only recording 8-bit at 100 Mbps- which works great if you get everything right on set, but doesn't allow the amount of grading we're used to for stills. And the FE lenses are nice, if a bit pricey.

If I have to travel light and pack just one system for stills and video, I always take the Sony system now. The 5DIV feels like the end of the line for video on Canon dSLRs- indeed, in quite a few people's opinion the 5DIV is actually worse as a video camera than its predecessors. Sony are aggressively developing their system, by contrast, and the A7RIII is a significantly better video camera than the Mark II was. (Same sensor, but better readout and significantly better software for AF etc.)

I'd be wary of investing in Canon dSLR's for video as a result. Obviously, if you have tens of thousands invested in Canon lenses already, that changes the calculation somewhat!

So it depends- do you really need the small form factor, or are you limited in budget to 5DIV/A7RIII territory? Then I'd say the A7RIII.

Form factor or budget more flexible? Canon C200.



Cheers, Hywel


 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 10:13:07 AM by HywelPhillips »
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D Fuller

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2018, 11:50:15 PM »

I can’t speak to the Canon cameras, as I don’t use them. I do use the Sony a7r3 for video, and it’s pretty good. I’d agree with Hywel’s assessment with a few caveats.

1) I’d call the autofocus on the a7r3 usable for video, but I wouldn’t call it “damn good”. (It’s probably better than most of the cameras in its class, but no where near a replacement for a human with a follow focus.) It works well where face recognition is possible. Less so where it has to decide among a choice of inanimate objects. And importantly, you have no control over the speed of a focus shift. So trickery of various kinds can be required if the set has objects near and far. I just shot a furniture spot with an a7r3 on a gimbal, and it worked, but not always easily. Oh—and Sony autofocus performance is very Lens-dependent. (Not for accuracy, but for speed.)

2) Your footage will be significantly more gradeable if you record to an external recorder. That’s because it sends uncompressed 4:2:2 out its HDMI port. Internal is 4:2:0 and quite compresses. Both are 8-bit.

3) If you’ve been shooting raw formats for a few years, the switch to the non-raw format is (or was for me) a bit unnerving. You have to get white balance right. With an 8-bit codec, there isn’t enough meat in the file to correct something that’s very far off. Having said that, Sony’s Slog-3 is very good. And importantly, it conforms to cineon, so it plays nicely with many standard grading workflows. There are many choices of gama curve and other settings that are worth spending some time to test and dial in. They cam make a significant difference in the result. And shoot charts. Especially if you are going to match to another camera.

4) Shooting S35 (apsc) is sharper than FF on the a7r3. That’s because it’s properly downsampled, while FF uses line skipping. That also makes FF more prone to aliasing.

5) You mention planning to use the camera as a B-cam to a real Cine camera. As a practical matter, that means you are going to be grading the Cine camera to match the DSLR, because it will have a lot more grading range. The Sony recording will break if you have to move its color too far, where the Cine cam will have at least 10 bits, and may be raw. (And see the note above about shooting charts.)

6) Battery life is no longer a problem. It was with the mk2 Sonys, but I run about half a day of video on one battery on the r3. (That’s recording to an external device, so YMMV.)

All that said, I like the camera quite a lot for what it is. It’s very portable, works well on lightweight support—sticks, sliders, gimbals. And makes pretty nice pictures if you are religious about exposure and white balance. It is not a Red. But today, if I could only have one camera for stills and video, it would be the a7r3. (In a month, it might be a Nikon Z7, but we’ll have to wait and see.)

Oh, and sound synch is tedious. (I haven’t found a solid timecode workflow yet.)

Good luck!
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HywelPhillips

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2018, 02:03:05 PM »

I can’t speak to the Canon cameras, as I don’t use them. I do use the Sony a7r3 for video, and it’s pretty good. I’d agree with Hywel’s assessment with a few caveats.

1) I’d call the autofocus on the a7r3 usable for video, but I wouldn’t call it “damn good”. (It’s probably better than most of the cameras in its class, but no where near a replacement for a human with a follow focus.) It works well where face recognition is possible. Less so where it has to decide among a choice of inanimate objects. And importantly, you have no control over the speed of a focus shift. So trickery of various kinds can be required if the set has objects near and far. I just shot a furniture spot with an a7r3 on a gimbal, and it worked, but not always easily. Oh—and Sony autofocus performance is very Lens-dependent. (Not for accuracy, but for speed.)


An entirely fair point.

I shoot people. For that, the A7RIII's video AF is damn good.

It does touch AF (touch screen, focus at that distance, lock focus at that distance until released). You can control the speed of that type of rack focus operation IIRC; otherwise it is rather vague settings to control the speed of AF changes. It also has auto-lock-on-AF (set the AF to follow an object) but the ergonomics of controlling that are a bit convoluted and I end up not using it as a result. Which is why I said it was not as good as a 1DXII in that regard, where the lock on AF is almost magical.

Nothing stops you using it with a human focus-puller of course; Sony E mount is pretty good for taking adapted lenses or you can opt for stuff like Zeiss in E-mount with actual physical geared rings for focus if that's your preferred mode.

For me, the A7RIII on a gimbal in continuous AF has got to the sort of reliability where I use it without hesitation on a shoot, but as I said I shoot people. And I don't generally have the crew to handle remote pulled focus efficiently on a gimbal (one or the other usually- focus pulling OR gimbal, but rarely enough people to cover both at the same time).

We did get that all set up for the RED with wireless focus pulling and low latency wireless monitoring so the focus puller could control the focus on a gimbal, but it was such a pain to operate (literally- a fully-rigged Ronin with a RED and lens is back-breaking) and so cumbersome to get set up that we never use that set-up any more.

We always just put the A7RIII on a hand-held gimbal. If we do happen to miss a shot, a retake is much quicker than getting the big rig set up ever was, so we end up saving quite a bit of time that way. The whole Sony set-up was cheaper than an easyrig or similar means of taking the weight of the RED plus gimbal! It is notably more maneouverable through doorways etc. too.


A lot of people swear by external recording. Personally that falls into the same camp for me as dual audio- nice in principle, but so much extra fiddle that I only do it if I really have to. As BC said, if you're adding a ton of rails, follow focus, external recorder, etc. I wonder at the utility of starting with such a small camera in the first place- maybe just buy a dedicated video/cine camera.

I mostly shoot indoors in fairly controlled lighting situations where I can constrain the dynamic range and mostly manage the colour temperatures with the lighting. For that sort of assignment, I think the A7RIII's files do OK, despite the 4:2:0 8-bit colour.

My mileage would definitely vary were I to be regularly shooting outdoors or in very changeable lighting- I'd always favour the RED in such circumstances because of how RAW-like and gradeable the files are.

It would also vary if I needed true, highly-detailed 4K as a deliverable. I need really nice 1080p, or 4K suitable for web-video bandwidths. For that, the A7RIII's internally recorded files are perfectly serviceable- even the softness D Fuller noted in full frame is solved by downscaling to 1080p with a little bit of sharpening before you downscale. You end up with a good, sharp, solid 4:4:4 1080p. You do still get a hint of aliasing, but I generally only notice that given extreme provocation (clothes with exactly the wrong combination of pattern plus distance to camera, for example).

But like D Fuller, I like it a lot for what it is - a lightweight camera which complements the RED very nicely in my typical shooting situations.

Cheers, Hywel

« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 02:07:22 PM by HywelPhillips »
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BJL

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For Video, Sony vs. Canon: aside on move film vs sensor sizes
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2018, 03:28:44 PM »

Well actually the mft sensor size is about half way between SUPER 35 and Super 16, the most common professional motion imaging origination formats for the past few decades. Much bigger than Super 8.
A moot point now, but actually the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K's combination of 4/3" (which specifies only the diagonal size of about 22mm) with a 16:9 shape makes the sensor 18.9 x 10mm, distinctly larger than the Super-16mm film format of 12.5 x 7.4mm (and a bit wider than regular MFT cameras give.)

In fact, mobile phone sensors are about as big as the Super-8 film frame, which matches about 1/2.6" sensor format.
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John Brawley

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Re: For Video, Sony vs. Canon
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2018, 10:44:39 PM »


In the last year and a half, I've had client's from direct to Ad agencies ask what type of cameras I work with and use Netflix's approved list as a guide.  https://partnerhelp.netflixstudios.com/hc/en-us/articles/217237077-Production-and-Post-Production-Requirements  which is kind of silly because Netflix probably has a thousand movies online that we're shot with the original and later Arri's which and only lately Arri hit a true 4k off the sensor.  In fact Netflix only allows two Arri's.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that type of list I posted.


I laugh because I see so many that see this list as being some kind of gospel.

Few realise this list is actually only for a Netflix Original commissioned content.

THE MAJORITY of the content on Netflix isn't 4K originated, nor is it Netflix Original content.  Netflix have as a stated goal to have 50% netflix original content.  They don't have that number yet.
https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/16/16486436/netflix-original-content-8-billion-dollars-anime-films

And actually...only about 20% of the audience actually watch Netflix content.(netflix dominant watching)

80% of the shows watched on Netflix are LICENSED shows...mostly TV re-runs and syndication, and I'm going to say about 90% of TV content is originated 1920.

So this whole 4K netflix logic is flawed and is at best a stated ideal, not an actual reality.

https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/netflix-licensed-content-majority-streaming-views-2017-study-1202751405/

In other words...

Plenty of low resolution Alexa material has been sold to Netflix and they have zero problems programming it, and the majority of users who think they're getting 4K netflix don't realise it's upscaled 1920.

The only ones that obsess over 4K cameras are camera geeks reading this list and thinking their spec movie or show has to be shot 4K for Netflix to buy it.  It's just not true.

JB


« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 10:48:37 PM by John Brawley »
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