Shooting in 4K – is it worth buying into the hype?

1st December 2017 No comments

Much like HD before it, 4K is currently a huge buzzword in the consumer electronics world. Brand new TVs are coming equipped with 4K panels, games consoles are pushing 4K as a justification for pricey hardware upgrades, and mobile phones are coming with 4K resolution cameras. We’ve written before about video resolutions, and why resolution alone is not indicative of image quality.

See my previous analogy:

Your new smartphone may have a 4K resolution camera but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the camera is very good. Think of a video’s resolution as being like a sheet of A4 paper. You can either draw on that paper with a fine art pencil or with a wax crayon. The smartphone’s version of 4K is more like the crayon, whereas the sort of cameras a professional video production company would use would more like be fine art pencils.

In our short video (embedded at the top of this post), I explain some of the benefits of using 4K as it stands today, and how we consider resolutions such as 4K, 8K and beyond, in a practical sense when it comes to producing your next corporate video.

Simply put, the best resolution is the one that matches the kind of device your viewers will be watching the video on. There’s no point in filming in 4K if people are watching your videos on Instagram via their phones because they won’t be able to see that much resolution on a 5 inch screen. However, if your video is being projected in a cinema, 4K is definitely worth the investment. Likewise, if you plan to produce a 360° video, 4K is the absolute minimum requirement to get legible footage.

The downsides of using higher resolutions are that they generally require higher end equipment, more storage space, and the files take longer to edit. As nice as it is from a vanity perspective to film your video with the highest resolution possible, it’s often more sensible to film in a lower resolution that speeds up the post-production workflow and potentially offers extra benefits such as the ability to shoot in higher frame rates, which allows for techniques such as slow motion.

To summarise, while higher resolutions have their benefits, it’s not worth getting caught up in the consumer hype of HD, 4K, or whatever comes next, when it comes to having a corporate video produced. For most desktops, laptops, and all smartphones and tablets, HD is still more than enough and will be for some time to come. Just because Hollywood is pushing a new technology, it doesn’t mean that you need it yourself – remember the failed attempts to push 3D video into the mainstream?

Video resolutions are quite a technical topic and, for most people, won’t usually come up in the conversation when having a professional video produced. However, if you have questions about how video resolutions impact your next video project, get in touch!

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