Kitting up for 8K Shooting and Production for Under $15K
Plummeting 8K production costs are reshaping our industry. Early professional Sony 8K cameras like the UHC-8300 8K, launched at IBC 2017, cost half a million dollars with about the same budget needed for lenses. At about the same time, the most reasonable budget for kitting up to shoot and produce professional 8K video with cinema-grade cameras would still have set you back over $100k. Linus Tech tips explains this well in a ten-minute YouTube video that you can see here.
They detail why the YouTube channel spent over $140K on a RED epic camera rig in 2017 before there were even any 8K TVs in people’s homes. Back then, you’d have typically needed a RED camera at around $50K with lenses and a computer for postproduction, costing about $10K.
In the following years, the cost has slowly come down with cameras and other components we regularly report on at the 8K Monitor. For example, the Black Magic 12k camera launched at just $6K (although the true 12k nature was later disputed).
Taking a fresh look, almost five years on, budding filmmakers can now kit up for a tenth of the investment required back in 2017. They can acquire a new 8K-friendly MacBook Pro for $4K, with the right software for a just few hundred extra dollars and a mirrorless camera like the Canon EOS R5 or the newer Nikon Z9, that can efficiently shoot 8K at 60fps, for a total budget of just $10K to $15K. We covered The Explorers recently and noted they, and others, are looking to become the home for a new generation of 8K filmmakers.
In the first issues of the 8K monitor, we reported on interesting new 8K content on YouTube. That’s no longer feasible. Although we don’t have any stats yet, the quantity of 8K videos posted on YouTube seems to be growing exponentially. This phenomenon illustrates our point. There isn’t yet an 8K search filter on YouTube, but just limiting the 4K one and using “8K” as the search term, there are several content pages each hour. 8K production is getting more and more accessible. Don’t believe us that plummeting 8K production costs have already changed the game? Check for yourself.
I’ve no doubt, naysayers will argue that you cannot compare a mirrorless camera designed for still photography that so happens to shoot video, with a genuine cinema camera. Of course, they are right, but the point here – as we’re still a generation or two away from 60 fps 8K filming in smartphones – is about the democratization of 8K production in a prosumer range of products. With all this experimentation, we will see an increasing array of 8K content that that confirms the viability of the format.