Rio de Janeiro is called cidade maravilhosa, or the "marvelous city," for a reason. "How is one melancholic in Rio de Janeiro?" asks the Brazilian writer Tatiana Salem Levy. "You lower your head, but on your right side a hill rises up, majestic; on the left side, scandalous nature makes its presence felt; in front of you, the infinite line of the sea."
But Rio gets even more marvelous when you spend a couple days filming it with a $50,000, 80-megapixel camera—and a couple months whittling the footage down to a rhapsodic, five-and-a-half minute time-lapse video. The clip, as its creator Joe Capra told me, demonstrates "the extreme resolution of the camera and what the future may hold." (I suggest you watch the film in full screen.)
Capra, a Los Angeles-based photographer who was on assignment in Rio for Panasonic, says he took the exceedingly rare step of shooting the video in 10K resolution, which sounds pretty impressive but requires explanation. Resolution is usually expressed as image width (in pixels) multiplied by image height (also in pixels). High-definition TVs are typically 720 or 1,080 pixels high (the latter is referred to as Full HD, or FHD). Digital images that are roughly 4,000 pixels wide are considered ultra-high-definition, otherwise known as UHD or 4K. 4K is the Next Big Thing in television. 8K, or displays whose resolution is around 8,000 pixels wide, is the Next Big Thing after that. Hence Capra's excitement about capturing Rio in its 10K beauty.
Each raw frame in Capra's time-lapse is a staggering 10,328 x 7,760 pixels. But today's technology simply isn't equipped to transmit such vivid detail (plus, as Capra pointed out, there's debate over whether the human eye can even appreciate any resolution above 4K). Like most HD TVs, Vimeo (where Capra posted his video) can't support more than 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.