8K-resolution short film by NHK to screen at Cannes Film Festival

11 Apr 2013

Scene from the short film, Beauties À La Carte

Though 4K is still a while away from breaking into the mainstream, Japanese public broadcaster NHK is wasting no time in showcasing the even-higher definition 8K technology it has been working on with a screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

NHK has been working on this Super Hi-Vision format for almost 20 years and performed the first live 8K transmission from London Olympics venues last year. The broadcaster is now planning experimental 8K broadcasts in Japan in time for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

But first, there will be a public screening of comedic short Beauties À La Carte shot in 8K with 22.2 multi-channel sound at Cannes in May.

“The production of Beauties À La Carte is part of our efforts to understand the technical challenges of producing drama in this new format,” said Nobuhiro Haneda, NHK’s senior manager in charge of 8K content production. “I hope we can work with film industry professionals to further explore the possibilities of using 8K for feature films.”

8K resolution equates to 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, which is 16 times the number of pixels you get with 1080p HD. It is one of two varieties of ultra-high-definition (UHD) resolution available, the second being 4K. With 4K still in an exhibition phase, commonplace 8K is an even longer way away, but NHK is determined to let the worldwide film industry see what can be achieved in cinema imagery and sound using this technology.

Directed by Toshio Lee, Beauties À La Carte tells the story of a gourmet food critic invited to a new French restaurant where the chef decides what to serve based on his patrons. At the screening, viewers will also be treated to 8K coverage of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival by NHK, as well as wildlife, entertainment, art and sports footage.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.