'Hyenas' pose for first feature film shot in 4K

"There has been plenty of exploration in production and post circles about 4K -- four times the picture information in today's commonly used 2K resolution -- as an option for everything from film mastering and projection to restoration.

Developing 4K cameras also has fostered a good deal of conversation, and now one such device -- Dalsa's Origin II 4K digital cinematography camera -- has completed its first outing on a feature-length film.

LeVar Burton's directorial debut, "Tempting Hyenas," was recently lensed with the Dalsa camera in Los Angeles. Mark Wolfe and Susan Rodgers produced the AMediaVision Prods. film.

Starring Alfre Woodard, Seymour Cassel and Burton, "Hyenas" tells the story of Alvin W. Pierce (Cassel), who discovers that life can be worth living and more meaningful when he is forced to spend his last days with a new roommate (Johnny Whitworth) at the Jolly Roger Hospice.

"It sounded like a perfect project for the Dalsa, based on what they wanted to do," director of photography Kris Krosskove says. "I'm thrilled that it came together. It gave us a chance to work with the camera, and so far everything is going well."

Adds Burton: "The camera's image is fantastic; it's amazing what it can do."

The feature was lensed in 21 days, shooting indoors and outdoors. Images were recorded in a 4K uncompressed form to a Codex recorder. Observing on set, Dalsa president Rob Hummel says: "It's cool to see that Kris is taking full advantage of the resolution that is available, as well as the dynamic range."

Critical to the project was data management -- a key point in 4K evaluation -- which was handled by the team at Hollywood-based Post Logic.

When the cameras were not rolling, they were recording the material to Ciprico disk packs. These were sent back to the post house, where backups were made, while images were prepared in the appropriate format and sent to other departments like editorial. "We wanted to make sure everything that we shot is backed up and at our disposal," says Mitch J. Bogdanowicz, executive vp imaging science at Post Logic.

Post Logic vp software engineering Denis Leconte estimates that the feature -- including rough cut and original source material -- will total 20-30 terabytes of data, and the master alone will require about 8TB.

Leconte says that Post Logic intends to archive the original 4K footage, the master and at least one render, all of which he believes will total about 20TB of data, which will be stored on digital tapes.

Post Logic is handling the film's final conform and digital color grading.

Red's Red One is the only other 4K camera available. Insiders say additional manufacturers are working on such systems."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter