Ultra HD – The 4K Revolution: A Technology Primer

Earlier this year in June, the Television Academy, the organisation behind the Emmy Awards, held a fantastic conference entitled “The Ultra High Definition Revolution: A Technology Primer”.

The event was held at CBS Studio Centre in Hollywood, CA. The focus of the event was Ultra High Definition technology, the state of the UHD 4K TV consumer market, and the impact of 4K technology and workflow on TV productions and feature films.

Philip Lelyveld, from the USC Entertainment Technology Center moderated the event, which featured participants – Greg Gardiner, DP, Rake (11 episodes); Bradley Lipson, DP, The Wedding Ringer; Phil Squyres, SVP Technical Operations, Sony Pictures Television, and David Stump, ASC

The panelists discussed their experience with productions utilising 4K as an acquisition format, and its effect on make-up, set design, lighting and other aspects of the production process.

Check out the 2-hour video replay of the conference below:

Summary of topics covered in the above conference:

  • Brief overview of the current state of 4K and UHD technology
  • ITU Recommendation for optimum viewing distance:
  1. For a 60 inch screen to sit 3.7 feet away (or 1.1 meters) to get full benefit if increased pixel count
  2. For 1080p full HD on a similar screen distance is 9.6 feet (2.9 meters) away
  • State of the UHD TV consumer market

4K Camera Technology

  • 4K changes lens and camera sensor pairing considerations – the camera sensor is more sensitive than the lens glass
  • 4K impacts make-up, set design, lighting, and other considerations


  • How shooting in 4K differs from HD
  • What new demands 4K places on lighting, make-up, set design, and other elements


  • lessons learned from shooting, processing, and distributing 4K (examples from The Blacklist and other 4K shows)

4K UHD Technolgy Primer 4K Shooters

From the above video conference we can clearly see that Hollywood and major broadcasters in the States are taking 4K seriously. More and more features and television series are shot in 4K and it is just a matter of time before most television dramas and features are not only shot in 4K, but also edited and broadcast in 4K into peoples homes.

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