Or as they say in Silicon Valley: The Future is Now. This new year also brought a new challenge in the form of a CGI motion piece we developed for a friend and client, Amine Chabane of Marseille Inc. His Silicon Valley start-up company develops 4K video chips while revolutionizing the way chips are designed and prototyped on the side. Marseille unveiled their first 4K video chips at CES in January and needed a demo loop with killer 4K content to strut their stuff, content that would actually do their massive display and new 4K chips justice. You might be asking yourself, what in the hell is "4K"? Simply put, it's when HD is just not good enough. Another way to understand it, is to think of it as video running at print resolution. Roughly four times the number of pixels of today's HD runnning on these 5 foot flat panel HDTVs you can pick up for less than a grand at BestBuy nowadays. When you think about it, even though they are called "High-Definition" those TVs are actually quite low-res, given that they have continued to get larger and larger but the resolution has stayed the same. So you don't actually see more detail on a bigger HDTV, just bigger pixels.
Compare that to your Retina iPhone or Samsung HTC phone, where the displays are basically staying the same small size, yet the resolution or the amount of pixels in that space keeps getting higher and higher with every generation. An iPhone 4 packs about 10 times more pixels into every inch than a large HDTV, while the iPhone 4s' camera shoots pictures that are now twice the resolution of what even the highest-end HDTV can display right now. It looks like 4K displays are not that far off.
For the demo then we created a motion piece that exceeded what the chip and display can deliver rather than just barely meeting it, as most RED 4K footage would and pack in tons of detail and tricky things that would tax the system enough to show where its maximum performance tops out.
The result was a four minute 4K loop that weighed in at 56 gigabytes incorporating timelapse Nikon photography, RED camera footage, and the cherry on top... a 360 of our CGI Hot Rod, the 1932 Ford Roadster you may have seen around here. This time around with a custom Marseille California Sunset Orange paintjob and personalized vintage California license plate. And then imagine having to render out 5000 print magazine pages at 300dpi and you get the idea. We let this render over the holidays, spread out over several 12-core machines, cranking the quality settings to the max.
To see the final loop on the 4K display at Marseille in Santa Clara was breathtaking.
It's difficult to express other than "you have to see it to believe it". But for what it's worth check the HD version of the video above or click on these still frames to get a taste.
If you're seriously interested in this kind of thing, who knows, I can talk to Amine and maybe arrange a demo for you at Marseille in Santa Clara and you can see for yourself what the future looks like right now.