To 4k or not to 4k ? Part one.

Well, that is the question.

Little did I know that the ‘GoPro’ purchased a year ago already gave me (in theory) 4k capability. However, the immense file size of the GoPro output at normal HD (FHFD) was giving me (rather my computer) serious indigestion. So 4k capture did not come smoothly onto marcomathieumedia ‘s agenda.

My work-horse Sony HDR- XR500VE video camera and my more professional Sony NXCAM coupled with Apple’s Final Cut (version ‘express’ would you believe?) which had provided me with thousands of hours of happiness and productivity – and business success – was, however creating some ‘opportunities’.

First, and foremost, Apple, in their infinite wisdom, discontinued traditional Final Cut products.

Wait a minute, you will say, they introduced a new version called “Final Cut X” or 10, whatever. Well, that product, at that time, was an abomination – making a laughing stock of most of Apple’s more-or-less serious (read ‘professional’) users and customers. And particularly making sour-faced customers like marcomathieumedia who had moved from PC to Apple uniquely because of the incredible base of  “Final Cut” users and the familiar credo which went something like, “if you are into video and you don’t used Apple, then no wonder you have problems”.

That was a saying similar to the current Apple ads which say, if you don’t have an i-Phone, then you don’t have an i-Phone”!

Now, I hate Apple for what they did to me -and I realize they have a business to run, and that their business is built on consumers – folks who like i-Movie, and thus will like the so-called new “Final Cut X” because it comes from the same stable. But for most “serious” people, professional or “simile-professional” – they just cut us off.  They did two things:

1): of course Final Cut “serious” products were not updated, so bugs remained bugs and later versions of other stuff became incompatible.

2): they pulled the most dirty trick of any computer manufacturer – they made the new operating systems (after Snow Leopard) INCOMPATIBLE with the Final Cut Products before Final Cut X (which , don’t get mistaken is NOT an update to Final Cut, but a completely different concept, and one which could not possibly integrate into existing professional workflow methods).

Just one incredible first trial of Final Cut X – try loading into your project a couple of video clips (no problem), and then manipulate the audio track from your audio recorder. Invalid, because the file is not a video clip !!!

Gradually, Apple has upgraded Final Cut X – I must look at it again to judge if it warrants to be included into the options for serious professional video post production studios.  But in the meantime, they lost customers, and what have been the options?

Closest to the logic of original Final Cut products has been Adobe’s Premier Pro – which I now rent (it is no longer sold – smart business model on their part, and probably good value for the high usage user because updates keep coming).   However, that proved frustrating also – not because of learning a new software – it is really the same kind of logic, so small differences are quickly identified – but because the most simple manipulations would crash the system.  Well “crash” meaning a soft crash – Adobe would say sorry and you have to re-load, on simple things which would never have “crashed” in Final Cut Express.  No-way to contact Adobe of course – usual process of “go to our fantastic user forum” (I hate user forums).  So, I present my problem to the user forum – and I get the most predictable responses:

  1. What are you trying to do?  Why would you ever try to do that?
  2. Well, I use this all the time and I never experienced that, you must be doing something wrong.

Well, to cut a long story short – I almost gave up on Adobe, but it worked 80% of the time if I did all of my critical edits on the old Final Cut Express application running on an old Apple with the Snow Leopard operating system.  BUT THEN – Adobe introduces a new version of Premiere – and would you believe (of course you would believe) most of my problems disappear.  So, today, Adobe is 95% stable. I reckon that if companies like Adobe would actually allow customers to present errors (and receive some kind of acknowledgement) rather than relying on rather ominous  forums – they would more quickly identify and fix bugs that make users very frustrated.

So, what has all this got to do with 4k ?

Nothing really, except that having been forced to move to new editing software,  and that Adobe produces stable exported FHD (1080i/p) results, which Final Cut Express could never do reliably – and also can edit and transform 4k material – I have no post-production reasons to resist.

Quire frankly, immediate 4k capability is not a must, but the future is 4k.


I need two types of camera –

1. small, compact, discreet, stabalization for hand-held work, still decent quality.  Photo mode is a definite plus to avoid handling both video and still cameras on a single assignment.

2. full manual control, pro audio (XLR, phantom power, manual, auto) connectivity (thus replacing the current NXCAM).

All of my cameras must adapt to long recording times.


I would like to have the advantage (and the fun) of a one inch captor, but still awaiting the perfect model.  I renounced the AX100 from Sony for a very strange set of reasons: firstly, there is no built-in lens protector and no protector even with an optional lens hood.  Secondly, the hot shoe is non-standard.  So, even though I could get excited about the 1 inch captor in that price range, I will wait – perhaps my next full manual camera will have the 1 inch. Still looking.

For a small camera, and a small captor, I now have the Sony AX33 -beginning tests using FHD, not yet 4K.


Experiences and results – more to come.

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