There is surprisingly little to no information about this on the web, but it seems like it should be simple:

If I'm shooting with a Canon 70D at a resolution of 5472 x 3078 and export it from Dragonframe at that resolution, then I should be able to edit it in FCPX at 4k resolution (3840 x 2160), right?

Everything online and a few posts here talk about getting a Black Magic camera. But it seems that one of the few luxury benefits we get as animators, is that our content is already recorded at an extremely high resolution by default.

So, I'm essentially just looking for confirmation that all I need is my normal setup and just making sure all the settings stay above 4k resolution along the way. I do not currently have any 4k monitors to test this workflow.

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Interesting topic. I'm definitely no expert, but here's a couple of comments to start. First is the question of whether it is possible for the computer to process 4k footage in the editing program. I don't think mine will. This might just be down to computing power and speed. If not, then I suppose one would have to edit using lower res proxies, and then match the footage later? 

Second, an observation about BlackMagic cameras. My understanding is that these are not stills cameras, so there might be problems getting them to take a series of stills. Their advantage is that they record images in raw with a higher dynamic range than DSLR s, so less information is lost... or at least that what I read when they are comparing video footage. But we can capture frames in raw too, so we have more control over the image quality in post. So I am sceptical about the supposed superiority of BlackMagic cameras in this respect. I don't think it is just down to resolution.

That's my two-ha'porth. I'm sure others with far more experience will be able to shed more light.

I'm pretty certain my computer can handle it, but for the sake of discovery, let's just assume it can. FCPX does have 4k presets for projects, so as long as the export from DragonFrame is above the 4k threshold, then all should be kosher... is my assumption.

It appears that DragonFrame no longer has a message board, so I can't ask there. If there aren't anymore theorists here, then I'll post over at Creative Cow and come back here with what I find.

BMCC (Black Magic Cinema Cameras) are not stills, but DragonFrame interacts with many types of video cameras and they have done a lot to make their program compatible with BMCCs. That's why when I search anything akin to 'Stop motion 4k,' results for DragonFrame and BMCC are all I get. I just don't see why it would be necessary to use a 4k camera, when the base concept of 4k is simply a resolution that our DSLRs already obtain.

Definitely without a solid dynamic range, then I'd be creating pretty paltry 4k video. But I think it's possible to obtain sufficient DR with a mid-range Canon, a good lens and a solid lighting set-up.

Don't let the video heads talk you into using a 4K video source.

The Canon EOS cameras are all at 4K or above, and will provide better images for stop motion than most 4K video cameras.

Usually the questions online about 4K stop motion are people who want a single camera that shoots 4K video and can also shoot stop motion. For a while, the Blackmagic Production Camera was one of the few that could do that.

All you need to do is export at 4K out of Dragonframe, or use the RAW/JPG directly in AfterEffects, and then output 4K at the end of the project.

That being said, it does take a lot of processing power to work with 4K files, so you probably need to look into proxy workflows.

h264 codec is highly compressed

Awesome! Thanks so much for your reply, Dyami!

Dyami Caliri said:

Don't let the video heads talk you into using a 4K video source.

The Canon EOS cameras are all at 4K or above, and will provide better images for stop motion than most 4K video cameras.

Usually the questions online about 4K stop motion are people who want a single camera that shoots 4K video and can also shoot stop motion. For a while, the Blackmagic Production Camera was one of the few that could do that.

All you need to do is export at 4K out of Dragonframe, or use the RAW/JPG directly in AfterEffects, and then output 4K at the end of the project.

That being said, it does take a lot of processing power to work with 4K files, so you probably need to look into proxy workflows.

A video camera has to process 4 K in real time, and that requires a lot of compression to reduce the data rate to something manageable.  A still camera is able to take as long as it needs to save each image, so even a Large Fine Jpeg is not so compressed.  Better still is a Raw image which allows a far better range of colour grading.  So stick to the DSLR for animated shots.

I don't have a 4k monitor either, I just zoom in to work on a part of the image.

I recently did a bunch of animated shots for a live action film that was shot in cinematic 4K, 4096 x 2160 pixels.  (A bit wider than the 16:9 ultra hi def 3840 x 2160 4k, which is double the height and width of HD.)  I shot it with my Canon 7d at 5184 x 3456.  That gives a bit of choice about placing the puppets (shot against greenscreen) over the background plate, allowing me to zoom in or just scale them down.  I was able to do the chroma keying in AE at full resolution, but my 7 year old Mac Pro 8 core is not able to play such big images in real time.  Actually, it can't play uncompressed 1080 HD in real time either, but it does manage Apple Pro Res HD which still looks good.  But inability to play in real time doesn't stop me working with the files, doing wire removal, keying, and colour grading in high res.  I load a compressed, smaller size version into Final Cut Pro so I can check the timing and lip synch, and send the director a preview version of each shot.  My version of Final Cut Pro is 6, which does not handle 4k, even if the machine could.  In another year I'll probably have to replace the Mac Pro with a new one, and then I will look into 4k editing - though I suspect when they say the new Mac Pros and FCP10 will do 4k, that is not in uncompressed format.

Thanks for the perspective from experience, Nick. I have the same computer as you for editing and I suspect I'll see some smoke coming out of the vents as soon as I attempt this workflow.

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