4K. It’s a phrase that causes heated debate amongst video professionals. Do we really need to be shooting in 4K? What if Im only delivering in HD? Are there any other benefits that make shooting in 4K worthwhile? In this post we are going to take a look at some of the benefits of filming in 4K and what this means for video production.
If you have recently been in the market for a high-end television you will probably have noticed that the latest technology being marketed to consumers is 4K. This refers to the resolution of the television screen, which is four times the resolution of the previous standard of ‘Full-HD’ or ‘Full High Definition’ televisions. In numerical terms the resolution of ‘Full HD’ is 1080p.
In a similar way the standard recording resolution for many years for video cameras has been 1080p or ‘Full HD’, although in recent years, high end video cameras and digital cinema cameras have also begun to incorporate the ability to film in 4K as well. This has been achieved with the incorporation of a 4K sensor in the camera body in cameras like the Sony A7s (pictured).
This is really the next revolution in video production, as even if you are not viewing 4K video on a 4K television screen or monitor, or delivering your final video in 4K, there are a number of benefits to be had by recording in 4K. These include downscaling for playback at lower resolutions, the ability to reposition the image, additional stabilisation options and future proofing.
Downscaling provides for a much sharper and higher resolution final image. By recording video at 4K for playback at Full-HD, we are taking a very high-resolution video and downscaling it to fit within a smaller frame. This results in a very highly detailed image that has a much higher level of quality and sharpness than video that has been filmed in Full-HD natively.
The extremely high resolution of 4K video allows us to reposition the image or create additional shots from within the one shot. So when we film in 4K to watch the final video in Full HD, we have an extremely high quality image that we can zoom into and dramatically reposition the shot and still end up with a 1080p or Full-HD resolution image. For example on a recent Dream Engine shoot in Sydney for Bosch, we were able to zoom into our 4K footage and create an additional shot from the existing footage.
Another amazing opportunity that 4K provides for film production, is the ability to stabilise footage. The large resolution of the 4K image allows us to stabilise and crop into the image, and still be left with a high resolution image. This becomes very useful to smooth out shots that might not be perfectly stable. An example of this would be to stabilise a handheld shot of someone who is talking to the camera, where the stabilisation reduces or eliminates camera shake.
With the continual development of video production technology, 4K will eventually become the new standard for video capture and visual display. Therefore, although we may only require a 1080p resolution version of our video today (for output to the web etc), we may want a 4K version in the future when it becomes the default standard. By filming our material in 4K resolution, this allows us to have the option to create a 4K version at a later stage.
As you can see there are many fantastic benefits to filming in 4K for video production. With the increased flexibility that 4K footage provides, there are far more options for editors in post production, so you are able to be more creative with your projects. Although you may not be required to deliver your final video in 4K just yet, there are still many significant advantages to be gained from filming all of your projects in 4K.
If you require a video shot in 4K and don’t know where to get started then take a look at this helpful guide.