Amazon to film all 2014 original series in 4K UltraHD
Michelle Clancy | 17-12-2013
When it comes to supporting the next generation of content, it could be over-the-top (OTT) operators that lead the way. Amazon Studios, the original film and TV production arm of Amazon.com, has announced that it plans to shoot all 2014 full original series, be they comedies and dramas, in 4K UltraHD.
The move follows a first-mover step for Netflix, which opted to shoot the popular Kevin Spacey drama House of Cards in 4K when it filmed it in 2012.
4K is the latest and most advanced in high definition video, utilising displays with an aspect ratio of at least 16:9 and capable of showcasing video at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels or 8.3 million pixels —that's four times the number of pixels as standard full HD. The technology faces a number of challenges, including the expense of the TV sets required to view it, and the fact that it takes eight times the bandwidth to deliver versus a typical HD stream, but a lack of content has been perhaps the largest market obstacle so far.
"As a premium original content creator, we're excited about 4K and the future of UltraHD technology, particularly as we move into drama series next year," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. "All of the pilots and series we produce next year will be shot in 4K. That includes our first-ever drama series that we will green light next year — we think customers are going to love watching these series in the highest resolution ever available to consumers and we can't wait to deliver it."
The next round of comedy and drama pilots from Amazon will include The After, from Emmy-nominee Chris Carter (The X-Files), Bosch, based on the best-selling Harry Bosch book series by Michael Connelly, Mozart in the Jungle, from Academy Award-nominee Roman Coppola (The Darjeeling Limited), Jason Schwartzman (Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore) and Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher), The Rebels from Kevin Iwashina, Jeremy Garelick, Constance Schwartz, Matt Alvarez and Michael Strahan (former New York Giants football player and host of Live with Kelly and Michael), and Transparent from Emmy-nominee Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under). The shows that are then selected to move into full series, along with additional pilots filmed in 2014, will all be filmed in 4K.
Amazon is also working on the user education aspect of things, and has introduced a 4K UltraHD TV Guide that offers information about the differences between 4K and regular high definition, an HD pixel comparison chart, a graph that illustrates the various jumps in resolution from standard definition all the way to 4K, factors that impact picture quality and a guide on relevant terminology. Naturally, customers will also find Amazon's selection of 4K TVs and 4K-compatible receivers and Blu-ray players.