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The prospects of introducing new standards in film production depend on multiple factors. Discover the present and the future of super UHD movies.


Most luxury home theaters already support 8K resolution. The viewers are looking forward to major film studios offering state-of-the-art image formats, such as 8К Super UHD and expanded color space Rec.2100. Andrey Denisyuk, a video artist and 8K video expert, tells us whether Hollywood is ready to be offering such films.

The prospects of introducing new standards in film production depend on multiple factors, including filming equipment, the possibility to show a movie in cinemas, and, of course, creative tools selected by an author.

Hollywood’s cameras

Let’s take a look at Oscar-winning movies of recent years.

The best movie of 2020, Parasite, was shot with an Arri Alexa 65, which forms a 4K image closest to a film camera.

Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Actor Oscar for playing in Joker. It is set in the 70s–80s, and director Lawrence Sher wanted the image to match the era. Despite that, he chose the same digital camera, Arri Alexa 65, and managed to recreate the atmosphere and the filming style of that time by selecting the right lenses. The movie was mastered in 4K.

Renée Zellweger won the Best Actress Oscar for playing in the movie Judy. It was shot with an Arri Alexa Mini camera in 4K.

Another Oscar-winning movie is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Quentin Tarantino picked a Panavision 35mm Film Camera which corresponds to 4–6K digital resolution. The movie Marriage Story was also shot with an Arricam ST 35mm film camera.

The best movie of 2021, Nomadland, shot with Arri Alexa Mini and Amira cameras and has a resolution of 2880×1620, which is significantly less than 4К.

The winner of 2022, CODA, was shot with Sony CineAlta Venice in 6K source format but mastered in 4K.

As we can see, movies are still shot in 4K resolution or lower.

8K cameras

According to the publicly available ranking of movie cameras manufacturers in terms of the popularity of their use, Arri Alexa holds the leading position with 48%, Red Epic goes next – 19%, Sony CineAlta – 15%, Panavision Genesis – 12%, and Canon EOS – 10%.

The opinion of the ranking leader, Arri, doesn’t sound promising: “We firmly believe that image quality is not just resolution but consists of other parameters that are arguably more important than resolution. […] We believe in better pixels instead of more pixels”. However, its major competitors, the manufacturer of Panavision Millennium DLX2 and Red Monstro cameras, are already offering 8K filming. Thus, we can guess that Arri won’t want to be a laggard and will soon create a relevant movie camera.

About 20% of directors prefer good old film. 70mm film will provide 8–12K digital resolution. Even though 35mm film is considered a 4K analog, it can be digitized in 8K. Such digitization will also add a unique color to the image due to a specific display of film grain (if you don’t believe me, ask Tarantino).

Therefore, we can conclude that in terms of technical filming capabilities, nothing holds us back from creating movies in 8K.

Theaters and streaming services

Although home theaters already offer 8K, there are no such cinema theatres yet. Even IMAX, which has always declared its commitment to quality and the highest resolution, is mostly equipped with 4K digital laser projectors.

The leading streaming services, Apple TV+, Netflix, and Prime Video, have made several strong statements about their readiness to move to 8K. However, those have only been statements so far, as there is no 8K content available in their libraries.

The inability to provide mass distribution in 8K is the very factor that has been keeping film studios in 4K so far. 

The long-awaited 8K content

Progress in different fields of human activity is uneven. In 2005, when 4K TVs started to emerge, the majority of movies had already been shot either in 4K or on film that provided the equivalent digital resolution. Today we have the opposite situation: TV manufacturers have taken the lead, while the movie industry is lagging well behind. I think the authors of independent films will switch to 8K first. They will most certainly use the opportunity to be the first to reach the owners of premium 8K TVs and, therefore, get a competitive advantage over major film studios.

When talking about Super UHD content, one should understand that 8K is not only movie. The innovative standard prompted the development of new digital art. 8К resolution, along with a much wider dynamic range and a larger number of colors supported by the Rec.2100 standard, allow video artists to create unprecedented digital masterpieces. I’m proud to be one of the first artists who created a piece of 8K video art – the artwork Historical Park of Thailand. Myself and other pioneers of this art, such as Phil Holland, were followed by other artists. The works of such professionals as Marco Brambilla, Julius Horsthuis, Leo Isikdogan, Bellatrix Sébastien Guérive, and others will become the gold standard for the future of the 8K film industry.

The future of 8К

The old-school studios are already prepared to move to 8K, while camera manufacturers already offer appropriate equipment. Major studios are waiting for a sudden increase among the users of luxury home theaters and the transition of cinema theaters to more modern projectors to get additional income from this market segment. The industry giants demonstrate that they are getting ready to launch a massive attack on the market. Prime Video and IMAX have become the members of the 8К Association – the major and the only professional organization consisting of the 8K video market participants – proactively joining the world’s leading manufacturers of Super Ultra HD content. IMAX has certified Panavision Millennium DXL2 and Red Ranger Monstro 8K cameras and uses 70mm film, which allows for digitizing in 12K. Therefore, the emergence of Super UHD movies is a matter of the nearest future!

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