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4k Professional Filmmaking Guide – Cameras, Video Editing Software, Storage, Processing and Equipment for Production

 

Filming in 4K: Everything You Need to Know

4K video has continued to become more and more prevalent in cinematography. If you’re a professional filmmaker who is still filming in 1080p, it is time to make the jump because 4K is here to stay. For a long time, there was hesitation to film in 4K because the technology had not spread into consumer markets, however, 4K televisions and monitors are more available and affordable than ever to consumers to take in every pixel of 4K content you produce.

Getting started can be difficult, but we’ll explain everything you need to know to produce 4K content from start to finish. We’ll cover the best equipment, storage solutions, editing tools and more as we guide you through every step of the process.

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Sections:

 

4K Professional Camera Guide

Generally, choosing a 4K camera is the most important and difficult decision you will make in your journey towards producing video in 4K. We’re here to make things as easy as possible.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that content remains king in this process. No matter how glamorous your video looks, no one will watch uninteresting and unimaginative content, so don’t lose focus. On the other hand, you can film the most interesting content in the world, but if the quality is poor you’re likely shooting yourself in the foot. Without the proper arsenal you put yourself at a severe disadvantage. With that in mind, let’s dig into what you need to consider in choosing the right camera for you.

What Type of Camera Do You Need?

The first step is to decide which type of professional grade 4K camera fits your needs. The choice comes down to either a production video camera, DSLR/Hybrid or a camcorder. By in large, production video cameras are designed with professional cinematographers in mind and production quality is generally much higher than than DSLR/Hybrids and camcorders, but of course that comes at a price. Overall, DSLR/Hybrids and camcorders are more mobile and budget friendly, but sacrifice image quality.

If your budget allows, it’s certainly worth investing in a 4K video production camera, but if you’re on a tight budget or need to be mobile the decision can be tough. Diving a little deeper into the details should help you out if you’re struggling.

Video Production Cameras

Video production cameras are designed from the ground up for professional cinematographers producing professional content. Think movies, documentaries, commercials and so on. As opposed to camcorders, you won’t find a cheap production camera. The entry cost is high, but the payoff is far superior image quality and a host of customization options. Production cameras can take excellent still images, but they are created with video production in mind. This should easily be your first choice.

The more difficult decision is between a DSLR/Hybrid or a professional camera.

DSLR/Hybrid

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What sets the DSLR/Hybrid apart from a production camera is its mobility. The body of DSLR/Hybrids are similar to traditional DLSRs, hence the name, but they are engineered to be high quality video production machines. The best way to describe a DSLR/Hybrid is as a “lite” video production camera. You get many of the benefits of a video production camera in a smaller package.

The footprint of a DSLR/Hybrid is significantly less than a production camera, so if you are primarily in the field filming content that requires you to work in tight, rugged situations a DSLR/Hybrid may be the way to go. The body size is only slightly larger than traditional DSLR cameras and even when carrying lenses, you will be able to travel much lighter than lugging around a production camera.

Additionally, most high-end DSLR/Hybrid cameras are dust and weather resistant so they are perfect for shooting in rugged environments in the field.

In comparison to a professional camcorder, a DSLR/Hybrid has far superior image quality. Most DSLR/Hybrids are packed with a full-frame sensor that delivers stunning detail and is able to produce an extremely shallow depth of field. Camcorders generally have much smaller sensors which can’t keep up with the quality of DSLR/Hybrids.

Professional Camcorders

Maybe the most notable advantage of professional camcorders compared to DSLR/Hybrids is XLR audio capabilities. For professional filmmakers, audio can sometimes be near as important as video and the lack of XLR is a shot to DSLR/Hybrids. Being able to capture quality audio straight to the camera can be a significant advantage in post production. Also, sound monitoring using a professional camcorder is far superior than using a DSLR/Hybrid.

It should be noted that audio interface units which support XLR are available for DSLR/Hybrids, but they can be rather bulky and you sacrifice the mobility that probably drew you to a DSLR/Hybrid in the first place.

Another advantages of a camcorder is an eyepiece and rotatable LCD screen. Nothing is worse than being in the field trying to frame your shots on a screen you can’t see. While some DSLR/Hybrids are beginning to adopt a rotatable LCD, most are still smaller and less visible than LCDs on camcorders. Furthermore, when you are fighting sunlight it can be a lifesaver to simply use the eyepiece on a camcorder to frame and shoot video.

It is worth noting that even though consumer 4K cameras are more affordable than ever and are capable of capturing impressive 4K content, the tradeoffs compared to professional video cameras are steep. Professional 4K video cameras are designed with professional filmmakers in mind and prioritize video capturing first. Almost every 4K consumer camera is designed to capture still images first and shooting video is an afterthought.

The Best 4K Professional Cameras

1. Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K Digital Cinema Camera

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Price: $28,990.00 at B&H Photo

It doesn’t get any better than Sony’s flagship 4K digital cinema camera. The PMW-F55 features a magnificent 8.9MP Super 35mm image sensor, capable of capturing true 4K 4096 x 2160 DCI-standard cinema image video. The PMW-F55 is also one of the first digital motion picture cameras with a global shutter, completely eliminating motion skew and other shutter distortions. The camera provides immense flexibility in shooting options and is the perfect foundation for a highly customizable system. Considering the quality and the price, the PMW-F55 is the best 4K camera on the market.

2. Panasonic VariCam 35

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Price: $16,500 at B&H Photo

The VariCam 35 is a professional cinematographer’s dream, delivering image quality second to none with the capability to recording Raw 4K footage in 12bit 4:4:4 up to 60fps. The modular design provides enough customization options to keep even the most adept cinematographer experimenting for a long time. The 4K VariCam 35 is aimed at mid-to-large scale professional feature film productions, TV dramas, high-end commercials and high-end broadcast programs. This camera is easily on the best on-set production camera money can buy.

Panasonic VariCam LT coming in April

3. Red Weapon Forged CF – 6K

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Sitting atop a highly lauded line of professional grade production cameras is the Red Weapon Forged CF. This camera is capable of capturing footage in insane 6K 2.4:1 up to 100fps or 6K Full Frame at 75fps. The Weapon Forged CF features a Red Dragon 19.4 megapixel CMOS sensor which produces top of-the-line image quality. How Red managed to deliver such impressive quality in a body which comes in at only 3.3 lbs is an anomaly. Red also puts a premium on design and the Weapon Forged CF is one of the sleekest cameras available.

Check price at Red

4. Canon EOS C500 4K Cinema Camera

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Price: $16,500 at B&H Photo

The C500 is Canon’s first dive into 4K digital cinema production and it’s near a perfect 10. The C500 packs an excellent Super 35mm CMOS sensor into a 4lb. body inspired by Canon’s popular C300. The C500 is capable of shooting up to 10-bit 4K RAW at 60fps. A standout feature is the EF mount which is compatible with both Canon’s vast range of DSLR lenses but also with their rapidly growing line of EF Cinema Zoom and Prime lenses. The C500 strikes an excellence balance between portability, performance, affordability and customization. Read Full Review

5. Blackmagic Design URSA 4.6K

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Price: $4,995.00 at B&H Photo       Check Price on Amazon

The Blackmagic Design URSA 4.6K Digital Cinema Camera is a high powered, affordable and flexible production camera capable of capturing stunning 4.6K 4608 x 2592p resolution footage. The URSA 4.6K records in lossless 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW format and the Super 35mm sensor delivers outstanding image quality. The camera is fairly modular and is available in multiple mounting options to support the accessories you prefer. Coming in at 16.52 lb, the URSA 4.6 is hefty is best suited for stable production environments.

Shipping this month

6. Canon EOS-1D C Camera

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Price: $7,999.00 at B&H Photo 

The Canon 1D C is simply the best DSLR/Hybrid camera available, bar none. Unlike pure DSLRs, the 1D C is designed for capturing video with the unique demands of the motion picture industry in mind. The 1D C can go places other 4K cameras cannot, and the mobility provides for new creative ways of composing and capturing 4K footage. The camera is also compatible with the entire fleet of Canon EOS lenses already on the market, making it extremely versatile as well. If you’re in the market for a portable professional 4K camera, the 1D C is an impressive option. Read Full Review Here.

Coming Soon…

1DX Mark II

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     $5,999.00 at B&H Photo 

Many professional cinematographers prefer to have a light weight and portable camera available for more rugged field work or as a backup. The EOS-1D X Mark II is Canon’s flagship DSLR model and is pack with a full-frame 20.2MP CMOS sensor capable of capturing DCI 4K Video at 60fps. The 1DX Mark II also features a robust magnesium alloy body that is both dust and weather sealed making this camera ideal for use in unforgiving environments. For the professional cinematographer looking for a highly portable professional camera, the 1DX Mark II should be your first stop.

Available in late April, early May

Nikon D5

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     $6,496.95 at B&H Photo 

At 3.11 lb, the D5 is a near perfect DSLR companion to a cinema production camera and is one of the best options if you regularly shoot in rugged environments. The D5 is positioned as Nikon’s flagship DSLR camera for professional photographers, but it is capable of capturing exceptional 4K video footage as well. The full-frame, FX-format 20.8MP CMOS sensor can shoot 4K video at up to 30fps. The D5 also features a top tier autofocus system which is fantastic for capturing spur of the moment footage.

Available in early April

Best Lenses for 4k Professional Production

Prime Cine Lenses

1. Canon CN-E 14mm T3.1 L F Cinema Prime Lens

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Price: Check on Amazon     $4,920.00 at B&H Photo

The CN-E 14mm T3.1 L F Cinema Prime Lens is a top of the line an ultra wide-angle prime lens from Canon. The lens is designed for the full-frame sensor format and is ideal for the Canon’s Cinema EOS series and all Canon DSLRs. The maximum aperture is T3.1, and the 11 blade iris creates an exceptional, rounded bokeh effect. The lens features markings on both sides of the allowing the user to read both focus and aperture settings from behind or from either side of the camera.

2. Canon CN-E 135mm T2.2 L F Cinema Prime Lens

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Price: Check on Amazon     $4,650.00 at B&H Photo

The Canon CN-E 135mm T2.2 L F Cinema Prime Lens is a jewel in Canon’s lineup of prime lenses. Similar to the CN-E 14mm, it is also designed for the full-frame sensor format and features the same 11 blade iris, which combined with the maximum T2.2 aperture creates exceptional depth of field. Canon’s lenses continue to set the standard for the industry, and the CN-E 135mm includes all of elements and reliability you would expect from Canon.

3. Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2 35mm/T1.5 Super Speed

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     $4,900.00 at B&H Photo

The Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2 35mm/T1.5 Super Speed PL Mount with Imperial Markings is an extremely fast cine prime lens from a familiar name in the high end photography/cinematography space. This lens stands out from the crowd with its massive T1.5 aperture allowing for remarkable low-light performance. This lens allows cinematographers to experiment with more creative shots in low-light since it eliminates much of the need for artificial light. It also results in a much more natural looking final product. The CP.2 offers impressive, shallow depth of field, also excellent for exploring the creative space.

4. Schneider Xenon FF 25mm T2.1 Lens with Canon EF Mount

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Price: $5,750.00 at B&H Photo

The Schneider Xenon FF 25mm T2.1 Lens with Canon EF mount was designed from the ground up for capturing high quality 4K footage. The FF stands for full frame, and this lens covers a full frame image sensor without vignetting. It also features an impressive 14 blade iris, which produces a more natural looking bokeh effect. Additionally, the lens is color-matched so it minimizes color shift when changing lenses.

ZOOM Cine Lenses

 

 

1. Canon CN-E 14.5-60mm T2.6 L S Cinema Zoom Lens

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Price: $38,750.00 at B&H Photo

The Canon CN-E 14.5-60mm T2.6 L S Cinema Zoom Lens with EF Mount is specifically designed for digital cinematography and works flawlessly with APS-C or Super 35-equivalent sensors. This lens features Canon’s advanced optical technology and is suitable for capturing footage up to 4K resolution. The CN-E 14.5-60mm Cinema Zoom lens captures sharp and versatile images and can hold its own against any other cine zoom lens out there.

2. Canon CN-E 30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L S EF Mount Cinema Zoom Lens

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Considered the dream zoom lens by a number of professionals, the Canon CN-E 30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L S EF Mount Cinema Zoom Lens is ideal for covering the longer end of the focal lengths required by cinematic productions. The 300mm maximum telephoto length puts this lens towards the top of its class and the T2.95-3.7 aperture is relatively fast throughout much of its range. This lens also features the exceptional 11 blade iris found in other high-end Canon lines and enables a smooth bokeh effect.

3. Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9 Compact Zoom CZ.2 Lens

Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9

Price: $19,900.00 at B&H Photo

The Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9 Compact Zoom CZ.2 Lens with PL Mount is optimized for top-tier cinematic productions. At 7.72″ long and weighing in at 5.5 lb, the Zeiss 28-80mm is relatively compact compared to other competing zoom lenses. This makes the lens excellent for handheld and Steadicam shooting. A major draw to the Zeiss line of cine lenses is that interchangeable lens mounts are available in PL, Canon EF, Nikon F, Micro 4/3 and Sony E making these lenses usable across different camera systems.

4. Zeiss 70-200mm T2.9 Compact Zoom CZ.2 Lens

Zeiss 70-200mm T2.9

Price: $19,900.00 at B&H Photo

The Zeiss 70-200mm T2.9 Compact Zoom CZ.2 Lens features all the benefits of its 28-80mm little brother but with a deep 200mm telephoto length. This lens produces images neck and neck with other top of the line cine zoom lenses. The lens features full-frame (36 x 24 mm) coverage and displays no focus shift over any part of the zoom range. The 70-200mm is compatible with the large range of mounting options offered by Zeiss and the 4K-ready optics make it a highly future proof lens.

The Best Computers, Software and Storage Options for Editing and Processing 4K Video

What Makes a Good Video Editing Computer?

Before we dig into the best computer for editing 4K footage, it’s important to know what qualities are the most important to consider.

1. Processor

The processor is the heart of the computer and if it’s not powerful enough to handle your needs, the rest of the system won’t matter. In your 4K workflow, you will most likely need to keep several applications running simultaneously to work effectively. This requires a high-speed processor with a lot of threads. At a minimum, an Intel core i5 processor should serve you well, but it’s worth shelling out for an Intel core i7 or even an Intel Xeon processor if you have the budget.

2. RAM

A close second to processing power is RAM. Many professionals make the mistake of overcommit in the processor department and skimp on RAM. That’s a mistake because when you are editing 4K video, your computer is constantly creating temporary files which need to be stored in RAM. The more RAM, the easier and faster it is for your computer to maintain and access those files to keep your workflow smooth. For professionals, absolutely no less than 8GB of RAM is recommended, but like the processor if you can afford more, it’s worth it.

3. Graphic Card

A graphic card handles transitioning your footage from data into pixels. If you invest in a solid graphic card, you will make your life as a cinematographer much easier. The best way to choose a graphic card is to look at the ones recommended by you editing software of choice.

4. Storage


In this day and age, recommending a HDD is near impossible with the enhancements and price decrease of SSDs. HDDs run significantly slower than SSDs and will put a major restraint on your ability to remain efficient while producing 4K content. As far as size, the more the better and this primarily comes down to your budget, although, 256GB is the lowest we can recommend. We also recommend taking a look at the new m.2 SSD drives such as the Samsung 950 Pro, these are excellent for editing 4k videos as their read/write speeds run 2500MB/s and 1500MB/s respectively.

Desktop Computers

1. Mac Pro

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Price: Check Price on Amazon    Varies at B&H Photo

Macs have been the standard in the video production world for years. They have made a name for themselves behind the moniker that they just work. This is generally true and you will most likely run into less technical problems by going this route compared to a PC.

The Mac Pro is the top of the line desktop computer from Apple and the small black cylinder can be highly customize with your choice of either a quad-Core, 6-Core or 12-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, dual AMD FirePro graphics card and integrated flash storage. Another major benefit is blazing fast Thunderbolt connections, which create an experience in which there is virtually no difference in performance between external and internal storage.

It’s not cheap, but if you put a premium on usability and if you are already invested in Apple’s platform, you can’t do better than the Mac Pro.

2. Hewlett-Packard Z1 G2

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     Varies at B&H Photo

If you are invested, or simply prefer editing on the Windows platform, the Hewlett-Packard Z1 G2 is a powerhouse video editing machine. The desktop has been lauded for its stability and speed and the G2 also has a unique feature called “service mode” which allows the monitor to tilt back and lay flat for easy access to the computer internal components. This is great for adding extra disk drives, RAM or updating the video card, which filmmaker tend to do.

The G2 is stuffed with an Intel Xeon E3-1280 v3 quad core processor which hits speeds of up to 3.6GHz. What sets the G2 apart isn’t so much the individual components but how they’ve been integrated to create excellent performance.

3. 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     Varies at B&H Photo

The iMac is the more budget friendly professional desktop computer from Apple. The most recent base model is powered by a powerful 6th generation Skylake 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 processor but can be upgraded along with the RAM and hard drive. The NVIDIA GeForce discreet graphics card inside keeps transitioning smooth.

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display creates arguably the most stunning editing environment of any monitor on the planet. This is a bonus to going with the iMac because the computer and monitor are all in one so you don’t have to pay any extra for a monitor. However, the biggest difference between an iMac and Mac Pro is that the latter has significantly faster rendering times, so if you work by the hour or you are constantly on tight deadlines, the Mac Pro is the way to go.

4. ASUS 23.8″ Z240

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     Varies at B&H Photo

The ASUS z240 is powered by a quad-core 6th generation Skylake 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-6700T processor right out of the box and the 23.8″ Z240 Multi-Touch monitor creates an exemplary video editing environment. Visuals are handled by a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. If you require external displays, you can output video via the two HDMI ports.

The Z240 is almost on par with the HPz1 G2, but lacks the more powerful Intel Xenon processor. Regardless, the Z240 is a powerful machine and is suitable for producing professional 4K content.

Laptop Computers

For serious professional editing projects, a laptop simply won’t do the trick. However, they are great machines to accompany a desktop and can speed up your workflow if you spend a fair amount of time on the road or in the field.

1. 15” Macbook Pro with Retina Display

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     Varies at B&H Photo

If you’re after a portable video editing machine, 15” MacBook Pro hard to beat. Apple packs a lot of power in a portable design, and the built in Iris Iris Pro graphics is more than capable of handling 4K editing. If you can afford the top end model, you can get the same AMD Radeon R9 M370X discreet graphics card with 2GB GDDR5 found in the 5K iMac, which will significantly improve rendering times.

The base model only comes with 128GB of flash storage so upgrading to at least 256GB is recommended.

2. Hewlett-Packard Zbook 17 G3

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     Varies at B&H Photo

The HP Zbook 17 is a top of the line video editing laptop for those who prefer the Windows environment. It’s packed with an Intel core i7 4710MQ quad-core processor, AMD FirePro M6100 GPU and RAM can be upgraded up to 32GB. Also, editing videos on this gorgeous 17.3-inch screen is quite a bit of fun, but it does add some heft.

3. ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     Varies at B&H Photo

While the MacBook Pro and HP Zbook only comes with 1080p displays, the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T features a stunning 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen display so you can enjoy your 4K footage while working away from your main rig. It’s also packed with Intel’s latest 6th generation Skylake core i7-6700HQ quad core processor and 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics. The UX501 is excellent for heavy video editing.

4. Dell 13.3″ XPS 13 9350

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     Varies at B&H Photo

The Dell also features an InfinityEdge IGZO IPS 4K touchscreen display coming in at 13.3-inches and also has a beautiful design to match. The visuals are handled by integrated Intel HD Graphics 520.

The system is also powered by a 6th generation Skylake 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core processor, however, it features a burst speed of up to 3.1 GHz when you need more power. Design wise, this laptop competes with the MacBook Pro and it will get the job done, but there are more powerful Windows based laptops available.

IPS and Professional 4k Monitors

If you purchase a desktop tower similar to the Mac Pro, choosing the right monitor is the next step. For editing 4K footage, you should certainly opt for a 4K monitor and we’ve gathered the best available for you to consider.

1. Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K 31.1″ Widescreen LED Backlit IPS Monitor

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     $5,7390.00 at B&H Photo

The EIZO CG318-4K is hands down the best 4K monitor currently available, but you will pay a premium for it. It features an IPS display with a max resolution of 4096 x 2160 and it has a 1,500:1 contrast ratio along with a 9ms response time.

The monitor can get exceptionally bright and supports up to 1.07 billion colors. It also features a remarkable 178 degree horizontal and vertical viewing angle allowing you to see the display from nearly any point of view. This is the ideal monitor for editing 4K video. Read Full Review Here.

2. NEC PA322UHD-BK-2 32″ Widescreen LED Backlit Color Accurate IPS UHD Monitor

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     $2,999.00 at B&H Photo

The NEC PA322 monitor sets the bar for color accuracy with it’s quality 32-inch display. This LED Backlit Color Accurate IPS UHD Monitor has you covered with 99.2% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space. The 3840 x 2160 resolution display also boasts the same brightness rating as the Eizo CG318 and an even quicker 10 ms response time. The monitor also comes equipped with a variety of connectors including DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D inputs and even an integrated USB hub allowing you to connect USB compatible peripherals directly to the display.

3. HP Z27q 27″ Widescreen LED Backlit LCD Monitor

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Price: Check Price on Amazon     $1,042.00 at B&H Photo

With a dynamic 5120 x 2880 resolution, the Z27q 27″ Widescreen LED Backlit LCD Monitor from HP makes editing 4K footage a pleasure. Along with the 5K resolution, this monitor offers exceptional color accuracy and is compatible with the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and BT.709 color standards.

The monitor can also swivel, tilt and is hight adjustable so you make the viewing experience as comfortable as possible. The dual DisplayPort 1.2 ports make configuration a breeze and five USB 3.0 ports allow you to connect a variety of peripherals directly to the monitor.

4. Dell UP2715K 27″ UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K LED Backlit IPS Monitor

Dell-UP2715K

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $1,569.00 at B&H Photo

One of the first 5K monitors on the market, the Dell UP2715K delivers high quality for a relatively low price considering what you get. The quality of the 5K display is unsurprisingly fantastic and the pixel density creates a stunning picture perfect for editing 4K video.

This monitor is compatible with a number of hardware options making it great for connecting to other sources. The color intensity and life-like display of content make it ideal for professional work such as video editing. Read Full Review Here.

Editing Software

Setting up to shoot 4K footage is incomplete without quality software to put it all together. Here, we will walk through the best editing software options on the market and dig into the pros and cons of each.

1. Adobe Premiere Pro CC

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Adobe Premier Pro CC is probably most well know professional video editing software and for good reason. It strikes an excellent balance between providing professional features while maintaining an enjoyable user interface. The software is also available with both Windows and Mac. Integration with Adobe’s other creative tools like After Effects and Photoshop give Premiere Pro a major leg up on its competition. It supports almost every popular video format and has been used to edit a number of major production, most recently the Marvel movie Deadpool.

Check out the price

2. AVID Media Composer

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From major feature films to prime time television projects, AVID Media Composer has been relied on by many professionals and continues to get better. The software has been used for multiple award winning projects such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and the hit TV series, Sherlock. It is also relied upon by the team that works with J.J. Abrams on all of his projects. Most recently it was used to produce the record breaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Media Composer is capable of editing up to 8K footage in real times while maintaining the speed the keep with high powered workflows.

Check out the price

3. Final Cut Pro X

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For Mac users, Final Cut Pro X is the most integrated and polished software for the platform. Apple takes pride in developing both its hardware and software which they claim makes the experience better than competitors. Final Cut puts a premium on design and results in a highly enjoyable user interface. Final Cut Pro has been used to edit many major films including The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If you prefer to edit on a Mac, Final Cut Pro is hands down the best video editor for the platform.

Check the price on the Mac App Store

4. Sony Vegas Pro

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Sony Vegas Pro is a highly renowned non-linear video editor which fully supports 4K workflows. Vegas Pro features a huge number of professional tools and effects while keeping the interface usable, allowing for high creativity and flexibility within the editing environment. Vegas Pro offers a few unique features like the ability to upload low-res proxies of your footage to your private server, moments after the shots are shot, wirelessly (special hardware required) which lets editors start working immediately.

Check out the price

Storage

Having a place to store all of that gorgeous 4K footage is a necessity. Fortunately, there are some top tier options available perfect for handling 4K content. All of these options are customizable as far as storage capacity, but some do feature unique capabilities.

1. G-Technology G-SPEED Shuttle XL

G-Technology G-SPEED Shuttle XL

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $3,499+ at B&H Photo

The G-SPEED Shuttle XL RAID Array is an excellent storage option in any 4K workflow, but its rugged, portable design makes it ideal for use in the field. The removable door and top-mounted handle makes it easy to carry and navigate on the go. It can handle 4K and beyond editing and storage needs. The G-SPEED Shuttle XL features eight 3.5″ drive bays which are equipped with 7200rpm SATA hard drives and supports data transfer rates up to 1,350 MB/s. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac and its dual Thunderbolt 2 ports provides bi-directional transfer speeds up to an impressive 20 Gb/s.

2. Promise Technology 24TB Pegasus2 R8

Promise Technology 24TB Pegasus2 R8

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $2,799.00 at B&H Photo

The Pegasus2 R8 is a Thunderbolt 2 RAID storage array designed for professional video production. It can handle simultaneous streaming, editing and backup of 4K video footage. The Thunderbolt 2 interface provides transfer speeds up to 20Gb/s. The Pegasus2 is designed to give professional cinematographers the capability to edit and view live 4K streams while backing up the same file to a single or daisy-chained Pegasus2 storage array system. The Pegasus2 is lauded for being a fast yet quiet RAID array and is a solid option for managing a 4K workflow.

3. OWC 32TB ThunderBay 4

OWC 32TB ThunderBay 4

Price: $3,099.00 at B&H Photo

The OWC is an excellent RAID system designed specifically for Mac users. This array allows you to operate a high powered 4K production workflow. The ThunderBay 4 comes equipped with two Thunderbolt 2 ports which enables you to daisy chain up to six devices, 4K displays and more. The Thunderbolt 2 ports also offer a 20 Gb/s bi-directional channel which is perfect for streaming and writing 4K footage at the same time. An extra plus for the ThunderBay 4 is its 92mm noise-quieting fan which keeps the whole array running smoothly and quietly.

4. QNAP TVS-871T

QNAP TVS-871T

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $2,599+ at B&H Photo

The TVS-871T is a high performance Thunderbolt 2 NAS Server in a compact form factor designed specifically for Mac users working with 4K video footage. It is capable of simultaneous 4K video transfers and displays and it runs the QTS operating system which is ideal for professional cinematographers. It is powered by an impressive 3.2 GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core processor, which allows for multiple functions simultaneously with a burst speed of up to 4.0 GHz. The TVS-871T also comes stuffed with 16GB of DDR3 RAM which ensures a high efficiency when multitasking.

5. LaCie 30TB 5big Thunderbolt 2 Series

LaCie 30TB 5big Thunderbolt 2 Series

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $2,799.00 at B&H Photo

The 5big Thunderbolt 2 Series 5-Bay RAID from LaCie is a storage enclosure perfect for storing 4K video footage. The Thunderbolt 2 connectivity allows for transfer speeds up to 1050 MB/s which is ideal for 4K workflows because it enables the ability to see edits in real time. Additionally, the LaCie 5big is design to works flawlessly with video editing applications such as Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro CC. This RAID array features dual Thunderbolt 2 ports which allows for powerful workflows including the ability to daisy chain up to 6 devices to a single computer while supporting a 4K monitor with DisplayPort 1.2 compatibility.

6. Synology DiskStation DS1815+

Synology DiskStation DS1815+

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $1,843.91+ at B&H Photo

The DiskStation DS1815+ is an 8-Bay NAS Server optimized for intensive tasks like working with 4K video. It comes equipped with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, but is expandable up to 6GB to help ensure smooth operation. On the back of the DiskStation you’ll find 4 Gigabit LAN ports and 4 USB 3.0 ports for connection. Also, it features 2 x eSATA connectors to make connecting peripherals such as external hard drives and thumb drives easy. The front features dedicated LED indicators which indicates the drive status.

Monitors & Recorders

1. Atomos Shogun Studio 4K Monitor/Recorder 12G-SDI, HDMI

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $3,495.00 at B&H Photo

The Atomos Shogun Studio 4K Monitor/Recorder is an exceptional combination of two color calibrated 1920 x 1200 resolution displays and recorder capable of recording 4K RAW footage. This monitor/recorder is ideal for both live events and studio work. The Shogun Studio utilizes 4K HDMI and 12G-SDI inputs to capture resolutions up to UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, and 30fps and as well as HD (1920 x 1080) video up to 120 fps. The Shogun records 10-bit, 4:2:2 UHD 4K and HD video to Apple ProRes HQ, 422, or LT formats. Additionally, it can record HD video using Avid’s DNxHD format and UHD 4K video using Avid’s DNxHR.

2. AJA Ki Pro Ultra 4K/UltraHD 3G-SDI/HDMI Recorder Player Monitor

Price: $3,995.00 at B&H Photo

Taking its cues from the established Ki Pro line, the Ki Pro Ultra 4K/HD 3G-SDI/HDMI Recorder/Player/Monitor from AJA provides 4K DCI/UHD recording and monitoring in a rack mountable unit. It’s capable of recording 4K in DCI, UHD, and HD at up to 60fps and supports ProRes codecs up to ProRes 4444. The Ki Pro Ultra has a clean user interface that is simple to use and records footage into an edit ready format. It accepts AJA Pak Media, which provides a stable recording platform.

3. Convergent Design Apollo OLED Monitor, Recorder, Switcher

Price: $2,995.00 at B&H Photo

Convergent Design’s Apollo OLED Monitor, Recorder, Switcher is a four camera HD video switcher which is able to record all four inputs while simultaneously recording either the quad split display, or the program output. The Apollo expands on Convergent Design’s lauded Odyssey 7Q+ and includes additional features making it a more robust product. The Apollo includes dual SSD slots for recording video to 2.5″ SSDs. The monitor features a 7.7″, 1280 x 800, OLED, touchscreen display with an impressive 3400:1 contrast ratio, true blacks and professional monitoring features including waveform, histogram, vectorscope, and 3D LUT support. Convergent Design has announced a firmware update for the Apollo which will bring dual 4K/UHD recordng in Apple ProRes in 24p, 25p, and 30p among other new features to the product.

4. AJA Ki Pro Quad Solid State 4K Recorder

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $2,995.00 at B&H Photo

The AJA Ki Pro Quad 4K Solid State Recorder is an compact recorder that can simultaneously stores footage to an SSD, transfer the footage to a RAID or Thunderbolt-enabled computer and output the footage to up to two displays for monitoring. It can capture footage in RAW format in 4K, Quad HD, 2K, and HD resolutions. The Ki Pro Quad can record in ProRes formats compatible with Final Cut, Premiere and Avid. The Pro Quad has a small LCD Panel with 320 x 240 resolution but can support a 4K display and an HD display via dedicated SDI and HDMI monitor connectors.

5. Convergent Design Odyssey7Q+ OLED Monitor & 4K Recorder

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $1,795.00 at B&H Photo

Convergent Design’s Odyssey7Q+ is a monitor/recorder which builds on the Odyssey7Q and adds support for 4K recording over HDMI. It features a 7.7″, 1280 x 800, OLED, touchscreen display. The Odyssey7Q+ is capable of recording up to DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) and Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) in the compressed Apple ProRes 422 HQ format or up to 2K/1080p using the uncompressed DPX file format. The Odyssey7Q+ also supports several RAW recording options for ARRI, Canon, Sony and POV cameras.

Microphones

1. Sennheiser MKH-70 – (P48) Super-Cardioid Shotgun Condenser Microphone

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $1,745.95 at B&H Photo

The MKH 70 is a long lightweight shotgun microphone capable of capturing excellent sound even in less than ideal conditions. Sennheiser’s advanced audio technology ensures extremely low distortion even in the presence of high levels of background noise. The design is also rugged and weather proof making this mic a great option for both field and studio environments.

2. Neumann KMR 82 i Shotgun Microphone

Price: Check Price on Amazon    $1,699.95 at B&H Photo

Neumann has been producing top quality microphones for years and the KMR 82 is their best option for video production. The direction mic captures crystal clear sound while significantly reducing background noise making this mic excellent for recording individual sources of audio in difficult environments.

3. Sennheiser MKE102-K6 – Omnidirectional Lavalier Condenser Microphone

Price: $599.95 at B&H Photo

The MKE 102 K6 lavalier microphone is capable of meeting professional demands for sound quality and is excellent for the field. This mic can go places a shotgun simply can’t. The K6 powering module is the heart of this professional microphone system and can be powered by either by its internal battery or by a condenser microphone module allowing for a wide variety of patterns.

4. Sennheiser MKH-416 – Short Shotgun Interference Tube Microphone

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $999.95 at B&H Photo

The MKH 216 was designed for recording audio in professional video environments. This short shotgun microphone is optimized for quality outdoor performance and offers excellent directional control in a design that’s easily to carry around.

Tripods

1. Cartoni O105 Omega Professional Tripod System

Price: $13,895.20 at B&H Photo

The Cartoni O105 Omega professional tripod system may be overkill, but for professional cinematographers who simply want the best, this is it. The system comes with the 0101 Omega fluid head, K498 camera plate, 2 O110 telescoping pan arms, K705 1-stage Superpod and the P737 mid-level spreader. This system is intended for studio cameras weighing up to 176 lb.

2. OConnor Ultimate 1030D Fluid Head and 30L Tripod Package

Price: $8,789.00 at B&H Photo

This OConnor Ultimate 1030D Fluid Head and 30L Tripod Package comes with the 1030D fluid head with stepless, ultra-smooth pan and tilt fluid drag designed specifically to deliver optimum control and stability for professional cinematographers. The system also includes the 30L tripod system, a carbon fiber tripod that has a maximum height of 5.15′ and weighs just 8.8 lb.

3. Miller Compass 25 Solo ENG 3-stage Carbon Fiber System

Price: $3,959.10 at B&H Photo

The Compass 25 Fluid Head features 5 selectable fluid pan and tilt drag positions and offers a 360 degree pan range. The full Miller Compass 25 Solo System includes the Compass 25 Fluid Head, the 3-stage Carbon Fiber Tripod, the Telescopic Pan Handle, the Solo DV Carry Strap and the Arrow Softcase.

4. Sachtler 0775 FSB-8 Tripod System with Speed Lock 75 Tripod

Price: $2,430.00 at B&H Photo

The Sachtler 0775 FSB-8 Tripod System features the FSB-8 fluid head with pan bar and additionally comes with a tripod, spreader and carry case. The fluid head is designed to work with a variety of camcorders and features Sachtler’s Snap & Go sideload mechanism which boasts an exceptionally large sliding range of 4.7″.

Rigs, Gimbals & Shoulder Mounts

1. FREEFLY MoVI M10 Gimbal Stabilizer with MIMIC Control System Kit

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $7,994.95 at B&H Photo

For those looking for a top of the line gimbal system to capture creative, stable moving footage, look no further than the FREELY MoVI M10 with MIMIC Control System Kit. The intuitive MIMIC Control System allows the user to maneuver the MoVI as a flight simulation system. The user can remotely pan the MIMIC left and right to move the MoVI left and right, tilt up and down and roll left and right to move sideways as a partner holds the MoVI. The system also lets the user to attach a monitor which allows for a more in sync experience with the system. The MoVI M10 motorized stabilizer supports payloads up to 12 lb. and has been successfully tested with the Canon 5D Mark III, Panasonic GH4, RED Epic/Scarlet, Canon C500 and the Blackmagic Cinema and Production Cameras.

2. DJI Ronin 3-Axis Brushless Gimbal Stabilizer

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $1,397.97 at B&H Photo

The Ronin 3-Axis Brushless Gimbal Stabilizer from DJI is one of the best camera stabilization systems money can buy and is designed to give the operator the freedom of handheld shooting without the hand shake. It is compatible with most camera types and configurations up to 16 pounds. The DJI Ronin uses brushless motors which feature three axis support. The entire system is computer controlled resulting in precise ±0.02° control. The DJI Ronin uses an advanced algorithm to detect movement and engages the motors to react eliminating unwanted shake. Along with handheld shooting, this gimbal can be used in vehicle mounting scenarios and other contexts where tripods and other rigid camera support systems would be impractical.

3. FREEFLY MoVI M5 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal Stabilizer

Price: Check Price on Amazon     $2,995.00 at B&H Photo

The MoVI M5 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal Stabilizer is the smaller sibling of the MoVI M10 which features the same benefits but is designed for mid-sized DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and camcorders weighing up to 5 pounds. The M5 uses three motors and an IMU (inertial measurement unit) for camera stabilization, which detects and counteracts unwanted movement.

4. Letus35 MCS ShoulderCam Bundle for Canon EOS C500 with Zacuto EVF Mount

Price: $2,764.95 at B&H Photo

This MCS ShoulderCam Bundle is specifically designed for the Canon EOS C500, and is one of the best shoulder rigs available if this is your camera of choice. It’s designed to replicate the feel of using a shoulder-mounted Panavision 35mm film camera. The bundle comes with a Cage for the C500, a V-Lock Baseplate, 18″ stainless steel base rods, and two T-Handles with T-Handle to 15mm Rod Clamps.

5. Tilta Universal Shoulder Rig, Baseplate w/Shoulder Pad, 4×4 Carbon Fiber Matte Box & FF Unit

Price: $1,699.00 at B&H Photo

The Tilta Universal Shoulder Rig, Baseplate w/Shoulder Pad, 4×4 Carbon Fiber Matte Box & FF Unit is a versatile all in one solution for shooting with almost any available DSLR, small to medium video camcorder and even large production cameras. The flexibility makes it ideal for cinematographers who shoot with a variety of cameras. The unit includes a baseplate with shoulder pad, 4 x 4 matte box, rod mounted follow focus unit, universal rod mounted handgrip setup, rod mounted top handle, three curved support arms and a lens support.

6. SHAPE BP7000 V-Lock Quick-Release Baseplate Kit

Price: $1,583.21 at B&H Photo

The BP7000 V-Lock Quick-Release Baseplate Kit from SHAPE features a unique design and was created for professional cameras like the Canon C500, the RED series and many other camera models with interchangeable lenses. It is made of solid anodized aluminum and is an excellent professional level product great for both shoulder and tripod use.

9 comments
 
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  • Antonio
    September 2, 2016 at 4:54 am

    From your report look like only milionarie can affondato shoot.videography is not about that,creativity is much more important than money,there are tons of cheaper solutions for shooting decent material

    Reply

  • Lizasdaddy
    November 18, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Why do you have stopped to post news about 4k? Canon 1dxmII still stay as “coming soon” on your site, as far as it is gonna to be an old camera soon……

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      November 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Hello Lizasdaddy, this guide was written quite a while ago by another writer who is no longer with us and it is in the process of being edited. I do apologize for the outdated information in it. It will be refreshed very shortly.

      Reply

      • Lizasdaddy
        December 19, 2016 at 12:43 pm

        Oh, that’s very good news. Your website is informative, interesting, and has a little similar. Sincerely wish success to the project!

        Reply

  • Otto
    December 2, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Great content. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks,

    Reply

  • Vedat Yapanar
    December 27, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Is Adobe Premiere Pro CC can handle 4K and UHD shootings with XAVC-L and XAVC-I codecs and export them in both 4K and UHD ???
    Is After Effects CC can handle the same formats and codecs ???

    Reply

  • jean luc LEON
    January 13, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I enjoy reading and learning from your site but why don’t you cover lighting ?
    That would be very helpful because so many leds are blossoming, it’s difficult to find the good one in this new jungle.
    Anyway, thank you

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      March 19, 2017 at 6:44 am

      Thank you Jean Luc, we’ll take this suggestion into consideration. Currently, our focus has been more on consumer 4K display technologies and PC/laptop devices than 4K cameras and equipment but we’re working on branching out further and will keep this in mind.

      Reply

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