4K video resolution is quickly taking over the video production world. While it’s still in it’s infancy stages, it has been predicted that by 2025, over 50% of U.S. homes will have a 4K-capable TV. But what’s all the fuss about? What’s the deal with 4K resolution? Is it worth the costs? What are those costs? IDR Productions is here to answer all your 4K questions. Here’s your complete guide to 4K video resolution:
What is 4K video Resolution?
4K resolution marks a huge change in how we look at video resolution. While we used to measure resolution vertically (such as with 480i or 1080p), 4K resolution is measured in horizontal pixels. That’s right, 4K resolution is an astounding 4,000 pixels wide. If you were to convert that into vertical pixels, 4K resolution would clock in at 2160p. It’s important to note that there are two 4K resolution standards: DCI and UHD-1. DCI, with a resolution of 4096×2160, is the standard specifically used in the film industry. UHD-1, also known as ultra-high-definition, has a resolution of 3840×2160. UHD-1 is utilized in television and consumer media. When you watch those amazing 4K GoPro videos on YouTube, you’re watching using the UHD-1 standard. While 4K resolution is still not super common amongst broadcast channels, we have seen sites such as Amazon and Netflix begin to pick up on the trend.
What do I need to use 4K video resolution?
To shoot 4K: As impressive as 4K is to look at, more devices than you would think are up to the task of capturing 4K resolution. If you’re looking for a more casual video production experience, or aren’t sure if you want to invest big money into 4K yet, some smartphones are 4K capable. These phones include the LG G Pro 2, the Google Nexus 6, and the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Next up are the action cameras. These cameras are a step up from smartphones in terms of battery life and overall ease of use. Most action cameras are also mountable, giving users more freedom with the device. The most well known of these devices are easily the GoPro Hero 3 and the GoPro Hero 4. If you’re looking for a camera outside the GoPro family, you still have some options. The Panasonic HX-A500 and the Sony X1000V both also offer 4K shooting. While these 4K action cameras may seem expensive when compared to a normal HD action camera, none of them exceed a $500 price tag.
If you’re the ‘go big or go home’ type, then you might want to consider looking into getting a full 4K production camera. This arena of cameras has a huge price range depending on what you’re looking to shoot and for how long. If you’re looking to produce a high-quality TV commercial or online video, this is where you need to be looking. Examples of these cameras include the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4K, Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 4K QFHD/HD 16X Long Zoom Digital Camera. Lower-end cameras range from $1000-$4000, while the best of the best comes with a $10,000 price tag. While these prices may seem steep compared to a smartphone, sometimes you get what you pay for.
To watch 4K: Obviously, to fully enjoy your 4K video, you’ll need a 4K-compatible screen. Unfortunately, you’ll need one that’s also equipped with features like HDCP 2.2 content protection, HEVC video decoding ability and HDMI 2.0 ports. You’re also going to need a mega-strong Internet connection, ideally one upwards of 18 Mbps. If you’re looking to watch on a computer, you’re going to have a little bit easier of a time. All you’ll need in this case is a 4K-capable monitor and a computer that can handle 4K, which, if you have the monitor, should be a given. Your Internet needs are also slightly diminished with only a 15 Mbps requirement. If you’re planning to watch 4K YouTube clips, you’ll need to make sure your computer supports the VP9 code Google uses to encrypt 4K videos. Most newer models of computers already have this taken care of, but if 4K’s important to you, best to double check before you buy.
Why should I use 4K?
With 4K video resolution still being very uncommon, it’s natural to wonder why it would be worth investing in at this point. What’s wrong with the 1080p most of us are shooting in now? While there’s nothing wrong with our current techniques, in the end there’s one very big reason to make the jump to 4K: it makes ever shot you take so much better. Shooting higher resolution footage gives you so much more power in postproduction and editing. You can zoom in on shots without losing image quality. This ability to zoom in so much further can effectively create the appearance of multiple camera angles with just one camera. You can also create smoother pans and will have an easier time stabilizing your video. If all of that isn’t appealing enough, 4K resolution also makes your 1080p final cut look much sharper. You have absolutely nothing to lose by making the switch to 4K early, and when the rest of the world finally catches on, you’ll already be ahead of the curve.
Would you like to learn more about 4K video, or about any other video topic? Reach out to IDR Productions for additional information and answers to all your questions. You’ll discover why we’re Orange County’s premier producer of TV commercials, infomercials, and online videos for a wide range of businesses, organizations, and brands.