4K Content Hub founder Torsten Hoffmann reflects on the current market for and future of 4K and offers advice for filmmakers toying with entering the 4K world.
How did you get into 3D and 4K content?
We started 3D Content Hub during the last hype — after Avatar and when the first TV makers started selling 3D TVs. Representing more than 100 hours of stereoscopic 3D content, 3D Content Hub was one of the largest distributors, acting as middleman between filmmakers and VOD companies, TV broadcasters, Blu-ray companies.
Some time ago, our customers started talking about Ultra HD (4K). So 4K Content Hub was born, and now we’re building a catalog of 4K documentaries, short films, movies, and concerts. We license them to VOD companies and broadcasters in more than 20 countries. But we don’t cover the footage market, so it’s great to be working exclusively with Dissolve.
What are the challenges of working with 4K?
4K is easy to acquire — in fact, many cameras have been capturing 4K or higher resolutions for a long time. The trouble with 4K is the sheer size of the files, which makes rendering and delivery more expensive.
What’s your prognosis for 4K?
We all saw the hype about 3D a few years ago — it was going to be the future. Turns out people didn’t really care too much about wearing glasses in their living room. Even though it still generates hundreds of millions of dollars in cinemas, 3D has largely disappeared from the public discussion.
With 4K, the industry is a bit more careful about making claims. In my view, we’ll see more TVs, set-top boxes, laptops, and tablets with higher resolution. We’ll also see more cameras — even those in mobile phones — 4K-enabled. So there will certainly be a demand for 4K content. Whether it will be “the next big thing,” whether your daily soap opera or news show will ever be broadcasted in 4K, I’m not too sure.
What are your favorite clips?
Our award-winning short films are close to my heart, and come to mind first, of course. We’re lucky to work with some of the best timelapse creators in the world. One of them spent weeks in remote parts of northern Canada to capture the aurora borealis. It’s mind-blowing.
See more auroras from 4K Content Hub.
We also have videos and photos from NASA missions to the moon. Back in the day, everything was still on film at higher than 4K resolution, which today can be scanned and made available in digital format. No one has seen better, sharper images with more contrast, from the moon.
Finally, there is a short scene from a production in Nepal, near Mt. Everest: You see a huge glacier and massive mountain, but no reference to scale — until you notice little moving dots that look like ants. Then you realize it’s a team of mountaineers, and appreciate the vastness of the icy glacier.
[See all 4K Content Hub’s Nepal footage.]
What advice do you have for filmmakers considering getting into 4K?
Produce content the market wants. There’s no point in spending time and money on making a film no one will ever license. Shoot colorful, well-lit, sharp images — anything where the added resolution of 4K can be demonstrated. Nature and wildlife are always popular. I regularly speak to filmmakers and would be happy to arrange a chat with anyone interested in talking 4K.
See all 4K Content Hub’s footage — it’s exclusive to Dissolve.