MIB Director Barry Sonnenfeld Calls 8K "Stupid" and HDR a "Disaster"

Tsing

The FPS Review
Staff member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
11,202
Points
83
During CEDIA Expo 2019, Hollywood director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, The Addams Family, Wild Wild West) had quite a bit to say about the display industry's latest technological darlings, 8K and HDR (high dynamic range). Sonnenfeld isn't a big fan of either, calling the former "stupid" for anything other than sports. He claims 4K and 8K cameras make everything "look like a soap opera" or video game.

Sonnenfeld also hates HDR because it's being pushed for marketing and boasting purposes, which is conflicting with artistic intent. The director recently shot "A Series of Unfortunate Events" for Netflix, which was supposed to be "really gloomy… really flat," but the color timing was supposedly ruined when the streaming company adjusted everything for HDR.

Sonnenfeld says due to that HDR-driven manipulation, the second and third seasons of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” look very different. Since mobile devices and nearly every TV display made today has HDR, Netflix’s reasoning for the manipulation is that the television is going to expand the contrast anyway, so why not do it in the studio during color timing.
 
How would a resolution make anything look like a soap opera? I don't think this guy understands what FPS is and I'm pretty sure if you master it properly HDR can look dark too. Some really talented/smart people can be real idiots when it comes to certain things.
 
It's ironic. I agree with the statements but disagree with his reasons.

For HDR I completely agree with @Strelok in that it comes down to the implementation and mastering. I do think the industry should stop with advancing more standards and let the dust settle with HDR10 and DobyVision.

For 8k, I simply think it's too soon. We're not even really getting true 4k, or higher, DI's being used for 4k. Perhaps Barry doesn't know that Marvel almost exclusively uses 2K DI and upscales. From media to gaming, 8k is a ridiculous step right now for home use. In a stadium or some large venue, sure but not at home yet so I at least agree partially agree with him there.

I also disagree that he believes we all want to see a fuzzy mess that leaves us wondering if a trip is needed to the optometrist. No one likes the soap opera effect but I don't hear anyone jumping up saying they want a dust storm either.
 
4k@120fps for all movies would be awesome. I hate that 24fps stutter fest for panning shots in movies. Such great art direction ruined by ancient technology. Note: have seen hundreds of movies in the theater. I still watch them cause I like the plots but man do we need these old directors to die off already and let technology take over.
 
Well your not exactly talking about Spielberg or Kubrick... although I suppose Wild Wild West did push the envelope for the Spaghetti Westerns Starring Rap Stars genre.
 
4k@120fps for all movies would be awesome. I hate that 24fps stutter fest for panning shots in movies. Such great art direction ruined by ancient technology. Note: have seen hundreds of movies in the theater. I still watch them cause I like the plots but man do we need these old directors to die off already and let technology take over.


Couldn't disagree more. A high refresh movie just doesn't feel like a movie.

It feels more like some kids YouTube channel.

I find high refresh films remove that "movie magic" and become damned near unwatchable.
 
For 8k, I simply think it's too soon. We're not even really getting true 4k, or higher, DI's being used for 4k. Perhaps Barry doesn't know that Marvel almost exclusively uses 2K DI and upscales. From media to gaming, 8k is a ridiculous step right now for home use. In a stadium or some large venue, sure but not at home yet so I at least agree partially agree with him there.

I don't think 8k will ever be of any real value outside of some specialty inalstallations.

On normal-sized screens and viewing distances 4k barely even makes sense. You can do a side by side with a 1080p version of the same content and not tell the difference in many cases.

8k takes this even further. For any screen that fits in your field of view, you will gain no visual Fidelity over 4k. To get the benefits from 8k you'd need a screen larger than your field of view, and then you are only looking at a small portion of the screen at a time.

Someone will certainly think of use cases for this, but I'm sure it will be for pretty damned fringe specialty installations where it is beneficial to give the viewer freedom look around in the environment, and thus a screen much larger than the field of view winds up being useful.

All that said, the fact that something doesn't make sense has never stopped marketers from taking advantage of the "bigger is always better" farce to sell stupid customers stupid **** they don't need, so chances are good we'll get 8k eventually...
 
Couldn't disagree more. A high refresh movie just doesn't feel like a movie.

It feels more like some kids YouTube channel.

I find high refresh films remove that "movie magic" and become damned near unwatchable.

Higher framerate = lack of motion blur. In addition to that, interpolation tricks are why a lot of HD and 4K titles on store display TVs end up looking like soap operas. First thing on every new tv i set up is to disable that ****.
 
I think that as display technology continues to evolve with VRR standards so should the movie making process. For slower paced movies, or moments, I believe a slower(24p) framerate does look nice. However, when fast paced action happens it should be something higher(~60-120p). From film to digital it just feels like a cop out every time things pickup and the screen becomes a blur fest. I think a new codec needs to be developed allowing for this and creators can choose instead of trying to lock anything down. No one wins, or is happy, when the choices are taken away. As always, right tool for the right job.
 
I don't think 8k will ever be of any real value outside of some specialty inalstallations.

On normal-sized screens and viewing distances 4k barely even makes sense. You can do a side by side with a 1080p version of the same content and not tell the difference in many cases.

8k takes this even further. For any screen that fits in your field of view, you will gain no visual Fidelity over 4k. To get the benefits from 8k you'd need a screen larger than your field of view, and then you are only looking at a small portion of the screen at a time.

Someone will certainly think of use cases for this, but I'm sure it will be for pretty damned fringe specialty installations where it is beneficial to give the viewer freedom look around in the environment, and thus a screen much larger than the field of view winds up being useful.

All that said, the fact that something doesn't make sense has never stopped marketers from taking advantage of the "bigger is always better" farce to sell stupid customers stupid **** they don't need, so chances are good we'll get 8k eventually...

The only are where I could see a potential benefit of higher resolutions is sports, especially since they always have those wide shots. But we aren't even at 1080P yet, much less 4K in the US so I wouldn't hold my breath.
 
Higher framerate = lack of motion blur. In addition to that, interpolation tricks are why a lot of HD and 4K titles on store display TVs end up looking like soap operas. First thing on every new tv i set up is to disable that ****.

The interpolation tricks mimick the effects of higher framerates. They both result in the "soap opera" effect.
 
8k now when 4k content isnt really fully there yet is so stupid. I guess if it brings down 4k prices I get it and I guess if you cant compete on panel tech you compete on pure resolution.
 
I think that as display technology continues to evolve with VRR standards so should the movie making process. .... As always, right tool for the right job.

That's a good point. There's nothing stopping Mr. Sonnenfield from winning his next Oscar in 24fps, and it should still play just fine on a 240Hz display - even without VRR. And I think you have a good idea with your main point - the tech is there for a movie to be filmed in a dynamic refresh rate, and mix and match according to the best case for the format.
 
I don't think 8k will ever be of any real value outside of some specialty inalstallations.

On normal-sized screens and viewing distances 4k barely even makes sense. You can do a side by side with a 1080p version of the same content and not tell the difference in many cases.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

8k now when 4k content isnt really fully there yet is so stupid. I guess if it brings down 4k prices I get it and I guess if you cant compete on panel tech you compete on pure resolution.

This is the common sentiment among video professionals, too. As Zara said, the lack of fidelity improvement when you have to sit back as far as you do on normal screens is the kicker. 4K at 30-36" is painful when doing 100% zoom for all tools on your desktop. Scaling then becomes a wash. 4K is a bit hard to look at with tools at native scaling, and most 5K panels currently fall within the 27 to 34" range. Yeowch.

You have to trade off how close you are able to sit to the screen with how much you want to be able to see in native resolution. We don't even really have the monitor panels necessary for displaying an 8K image during production that allows us to have editor tools on the same screen. By the time you increase the panel size, you're going to end up needing to sit further back.

So what do you do to make things fit? Zoom out your preview. When you have to zoom out your preview, the extra resolution benefits become a bit harder to justify unless you need to be able to substantially crop your frame. So you're aiming for 4K anyway. (Netflix requires everything to be finished in 4K)

Then you consider how it gets to be a bit ridiculous after a while when most of the time people end up watching 4K via streaming. 4K discs aren't really selling. And in streaming, compression does no one any favors. So having 8k is a niche even in video production. Streaming in 4K is basically local BluRay in HD quality wise.

It's a massive waste.

Hell, even The Force Awakens was DI mastered at 2K. 4K seems like an extravagant endgame and 8k... is likely something that will only see use in extreme professional use: Fancy wall to ceiling signage that you can walk up to in museum displays, extremely high production value Vegas shows for their backdrops, and maybe a format to shoot in so you can reframe a shot and crop out a 4k image without digital zoom.

Given the amount of bandwidth and processing power needed just to handle 8K on the workstation side, it's going to be a bit painful to do anything efficiently but work in-camera, and for those who like to shoot in-camera without having to reframe in post... then there's no real point. That all but rules it out for most non-professional use.

One of the things BlackMagic has come out with was the Pocket 6K camera. Total sweet spot, IMHO, if you want to finish in 4K. A little bit more leeway with how you crop the image but still a little bit less overhead than what is required for 8K.

I've done loads of video production work and... 8K is overkill. When I was at InfoComm, there was a lot of "WE HAVE 8K!" demos. Yet a lot of the projectors were still doing 2K and 4K to the walls due to the constrained proportions of vendor spaces. Go figure.
 
The problem with high refresh rate video is that there's no motion blur. This works fine for sports where you are usually not watching the whole screen at once and want to focus in on a subset of the frame and action. But real life has motion blur. Put your hand in front of your face and wave it around. See... motion blur.

For HDR, they will just have to learn to color grade for HDR. I do agree that faked up HDR for an existing work is kind of bullshit though. Let my TV pretend to do it, at least that way I can likely turn it off. Greater color depth being available is not a bad thing though and whining about it existing is very get off of my lawn.

As for 8k, it's kind of absurd. The only thing I can see a use for it in normal TV land is once again sports where you are focusing on part of the screen very often. That being said, I don't think it's a pointless gimmick as a whole. How it will pan out in the commercial realm remains to be seen because we DON'T need it for TVs. It is, however, likely the end game resolution wise for the graphics pipeline. make it reasonably priced from lens to display, and you pretty much have VR imaging done. Killer digital signage. Media coverage of events will no longer have to differentiate between still and video photography. Etc. It basically wraps up all the edge cases and once hit a lot of things will hit the long tail phase of advancement. It might not be great for watching a movie in my living room, but for video conferencing you could literally have it be near real life if you can manage the throughput to not compress it to death. For people interested in advancing the tech of visual mediums, I think it will be the holy grail for a while and continue to be pursued.
 
Become a Patron!
Back
Top