8K Video on the Nikon D800? – This Luxury Hotel Video Proves It’s Possible

This is a guest post by Art Sanchez and Miguel de Olaso on his work submitted to the Videolog.
In this article Art explains how he shot 8K video on a Nikon D800 for his mesmerising architecture film about Son Brull Hotel&Spa.
Visit the Vimeo page and download the 4K source to enjoy this video on a 4K screen.

art-sanchezArt Sanchez is an architecture and interior design photographer based in Spain.
Miguel de Olaso, aka Macgregor is a director and cinematographer based in Los Angeles.

Art and Miguel teamed up when they saw a lack of high-quality films that showcase architecture in motion and decided to do something about it. They developed a new filming technique for architectural videos to capture 8K video with minimal equipment.

The Quicklapse Technique

We’ve developed the Quicklapse technique which is a way to generate ultra high resolution real time video. By capturing continuous bursts of still images and applying interpolation algorithms in post-production to fill up the missing frames we are able to create unsurpassed video quality.
Basically we shoot low frame rate, high resolution sequences and turn them into smooth motion video.

4K-screenshot

This technique is perfect for premiere global destinations, states, resorts, interior design and to showcase iconic architecture projects.

Main advantages of the Quicklapse Technique:

  • High resolution and rich colour imagery: Video with professional photographic quality at affordable production costs.
  • Full frame capture for good low light performance and optimal lens coverage especially at wide angles and on tilt/shift lenses.

Disadvantages of the Quicklapse Technique:

  • Tedious and slow workflow due to large file sizes and raw formats not developed for video.
  • A limiting factor: fast moving objects can be a problem, such as trees or water splashes.
  • This technique works best on static objects and is ideal for architectural showcase videos.

Why did we choose the Quicklapse Technique over traditional high end video for this project?

  • Higher resolution files allow for a much better stabilisation and perspective correction, ideal for an 8K or 4K finish.
  • Excellent performance: dynamic range, low noise, raw flexibility and great color science, helped us create luxurious imagery.
  • Lighter camera setup, offered more stability when using complex multi-axis motion control rigs.
  • Post production: photographic acquisition made it easiest to emulate the architectural photography look.

Initial Challenge

nikon-24-tiltshiftWhen we developed the quicklapse technique the first task was to compare the best DSLR cameras available to date and test their buffer capabilities: We looked at the Canon 1DC, Canon 5D mark III, Nikon D4, Nikon D800, Sony A7, A7R, A99 and A6000.

The next step was to check the different possible combinations of shutter speeds combined with different burst speeds in order to find the sweet spot where each camera offered endless continuous shooting, in raw mode. Some cameras are able to shoot very fast bursts but they cannot hold that rate for long.

We also took useable dynamic range and overall image quality of each camera into account. After a month of tests, the Nikon D800 turned out to be the best contender for this project.

Further adjustments:

  • Matching shutter speeds and frame rates to get a 180° shutter equivalents.
  • We needed to solve Nikon’s limit of 100 maximum continuous shutter actuations (implemented in most models)
  • We had to research different motion interpolation solutions (AE, Twixtor, etc).
  • We needed to avoid flickering generated by the fast actuation of the diaphragm.
  • Stabilisation isn’t used so often with shoot-move-shoot movements in timelapse, however it ended up being essential when moving continuously through the slider length.
  • We had to optimise the use of tilt/shift lenses for motion applications and test this against post-production perspective correction. T/s lenses are quite tricky in video.

Nikon D800 resolution vs. professional cinema cameras

This is how the resolution of the Nikon D800 compares to top cinema cameras:

  • Nikon D800: 36mpx
  • Red Epic Dragon: 19mpx
  • Arri Alexa 65: 20mpx
  • Sony F65: 20mpx

Compared to conventional 8K video:

  • Nikon D800: 7360 x 4912 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio) –> 36.3mpx
  • 8K UHD: 7680 x 4320 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) –> 33.1mpx
  • 8K DCI: 8192 x 4320 pixels (17:9 aspect ratio) –> 35.3mpx

resolution

Equipment used

Custom Intervalometer

custom-highspeed-intervalometerEvery Nikon DSLR camera body has the same handicap: a maximum of 100 photos in burst mode.

terminal-selecting-fpsWe contacted Alex Gutierrez, motion control engineer and CEO at Mslider and they created a custom intervalometer to bypass the Nikon’s limit especially for this project.

This little box fires the camera through the shutter port. The frame rate selection had to be chosen before shooting, by reprogramming the settings of the high-speed intervalometer with the help of a computer.

Motion control rigs

We opted for multi-axis programmable motorised sliders to achieve smooth and continuous camera movements, we used two different systems: Stage One slider with Emotimo TB3 head with 3 axis and also a 2 axis Mslider system.

motion-control-rig

Working with precise and repeatable motion becomes a time saver and brings a confidence factor to the production.

Lenses

When working with high density sensors (as the 36mpx D800 sensor), the use of high quality glass is mandatory. Our lens bag was formed by a complete set of Nikon mount lenses, and a few Hasselblad Medium format lenses with a tilt/shift Nikon adapter.

A common use for the vertical shift is to avoid converging verticals in the image; however, we took advantage of another practical use of these lenses: we also were able to avoid seeing the slider in long push-in movements.

Post Production

We ended up shooting more than 50,000 stills during the two weeks of production.

Since the whole project was shot in the RAW format, the processing and conversion of the stills had to be done before the editing could start. We used Lightroom for RAW conversion. It took more than two weeks to export the 36mp colour corrected RAW material to 4K. And we are not counting the time we spent dialling the right settings in Lightroom. Two straight weeks where our main computer was just exporting image files, 24/7!

after-effectsOnce we had image sequences we imported those into After Effects, where we performed tasks such as stabilisation, perspective control and of course time remapping. This process took about two more weeks. We exported the clips to either uncompressed or Cineform codec video files.

Finally the editing was done in Sony Vegas, which handles 4K and the Cineform codec pretty well.

Some Tips To Shoot Beautiful Architectural Videos

In sunny bright destinations like Mallorca, exterior views are the main selling point when booking a stay. That’s why choosing the right time of the day to shoot each room is dictated mostly by the sun.

light-position-studyIn order to represent the maximum tonal range of the scene and create a pleasant aesthetic, most interior spaces are best shot when the sun enters through the windows. This involves having a carefully designed schedule to cover as much of the building as possible with the right light at the right moment of the day.

Another interesting time occurs during the twilight, just when sunlight and artificial light show equal brightness. With the right exposure we can capture very appealing images.

twilight

If one of the goals of architectural photography is to make the viewer understand the concept and mood of a building, with our new architectural motion photography technique we wanted to go one step further to create the experience of being in the space itself.

art-miguelSpecial thanks to:
Magdalena Rydz
Alex Gutierrez
Josep Lluis Lai
Carlos Garcia
and Foto Ruano Pro

This is a guest post by Art Sanchez and Miguel de Olaso, Macgregor
via www.sanchez-olaso.com

Leave a Comment

You are not subscribed to this post. Follow new comments

Login to comment

Ryan P. Siemers Reply
Ryan P. Siemers March 9, 2015

Time-lapse sequences in architecture don’t necessarily need to be captured over a short duration. Intact, Architecture is one of those unique project types that can be best suited to longer duration sequences of 10-30 minutes a sequence. The rest of the pros and cons are the same, however I also suggest looking at software like LRTimelapse 3 to help make automation of the frames a bit easier. It doesn’t interpolate frames, it actually just processes them into a finished video files.

One of the creative decisions I prefer to do with length time-lapse sequences, is to drag the shutter to create a bit more of a blur to the motions of people within the frame. Here’s a really small project that demonstrates this technique throughout the video. https://vimeo.com/64654064

Jérémie Duriez Reply
Jérémie Duriez March 10, 2015

what a timewasting workflow !!!! It’s a concept… the timewastelapse…
A 6K dragon downscaled to 4K give the same sharpness… it cost more than D800 but you don’t have to wait 4 weeks for generating a decent video…

Mark Pommett Reply
Mark Pommett March 15, 2015

Exactly

Jacob Barkey Reply
Jacob Barkey March 10, 2015

I really dig the hard work put into this. It’s nice to see something with so much hard work and ingenuity put into it.

Thomas Walker Reply
Thomas Walker March 10, 2015

Great Way to Murder your shutter actuator.

Ryan P. Siemers Reply
Ryan P. Siemers March 10, 2015

Thomas, I can’t disagree more. The camera is a tool and it should be USED. Even if you drastically reduce the lifespan or resale of the camera, most bodies are warranted for a lifespan on a D7000 is 150,000 actuations. That’s about 83 hours of video (@30fps), if you used EVERY actuation for time lapse in any capacity. Considering the average video is about 3:30 thats about 1,422 videos. Even if you shoot 10 more sequences than you actually show in the final cut or all the shots are twice the length of what is shown in the final product, you still are left with likely around 400-500 videos from the life of that one camera. Sounds like a tool worth using to me… Not to mention that you can always have the shutter box replaced for a small fraction of the total cost of the camera body.

Сергей Савельев Reply
Сергей Савельев March 17, 2015

83 minutes, not hours

Сергей Савельев Reply
Сергей Савельев April 3, 2015

OMG I still laugh at your fail about 83 hours, LOL.

Ryan P. Siemers Reply
Ryan P. Siemers April 3, 2015

Yes… yes… you’re very clever for noticing a typo.

Ryan P. Siemers Reply
Ryan P. Siemers April 3, 2015

So yes, Mr Сергей is correct. (In my haste I simply forgot to double check my math). 83 Minutes of video is still 23 videos at 3:30. Certainly a far cry short of 1,422. but certainly well worth it in my book. Unless you’re not being paid for your work, which then you may want to go ahead and find another technique.

Alessandro Rufino Reply
Alessandro Rufino March 10, 2015

This is great news! It is thousands of photos that make up a video, like the classic timelipse. I’m testing this possibility for 4 months now, and I can say that it is very difficult. The post-production is very long is complex and time-consuming, and professional use of the software.
Also you must choose the right optics, and be able to process the raw files very accurately.
I am currently trying to find a post-production faster and a variable frame rate 4K 15fps, 30fps, 40fps, 55fps, 60fps, 77fps, 92fps

Ryan P. Siemers Reply
Ryan P. Siemers March 10, 2015

Alessandro, have you found any products you like to use in this workflow? I’ve considered using bulb ramping during production to vary the end frame rate, but ramping the speed in post production certainly may give you more control of the final product. Have you tried using LRTimelapse 3 at all?

Alessandro Rufino Reply
Alessandro Rufino March 10, 2015

RYAN,
I use 3.4 LTR as a plugin on Lightroom 5.0 for 4K and 6K
Or use even PhotoshopCS6 (Room RAW8 + TIME LINE Video in Photoshop)

Christian Schmeer Reply
Christian Schmeer March 11, 2015

50,000 shutter actuations in 2 weeks? Are they going to buy a new DSLR every 6 weeks?

Reply
Kelly May 7, 2015

Check out my video that goes over the video setting and capabilities of the Nikon D800. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yqy1rccXaUM

 Jerome Courtial Reply
Jerome Courtial April 29, 2016

Yes I agree with other comments, beautiful video, but completely unpractical workflow. There isn’t that much money in hotel videos, so adding a 2 weeks workflow on top of the normal editing would make it far too expensive for most hotel owners.
Even shooting RAW with my canon 5D3 was just too painful. Just had to buy a decent camera in the end and that was the end of that!
On another note, the editing is really stunning, well done.