More photographers and videographers are beginning to look at making the switch to this burgeoning format.
But recording in 4K (or its other moniker, Ultra HD or UHD) – whether it’s the cinema-quality 4K (4,096 x 2,160) resolution or 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) for home viewing – offers both tremendous opportunities as well as challenges.
The decision to shoot a moment in video or photo has always been difficult, but 4K videos’ ability to use any single frame as a high-res image allows photographers to now capture both without having to compromise quality.
As we’ve seen with products like the new Panasonic Lumix LX100 and Samsung NX1, as well as GoPro’s new Hero4 Black, it won’t be long before we see more consumer-grade 4K-capable cameras and camcorders. While manufacturers are pushing hard on getting 4K into consumers’ hands, there are valid reasons to get into it now from a production standpoint.
What are the benefits of 4K?
The benefits are begining to outweigh the negatives pushing industry professionals to make the transition from beloved 2K (1920 x 1080px)
4K gives us much more control in post-production over our images. Resizing, cropping, stabilization, and smaller grain (less noise) all benefit from increased resolution. Video FX and Animation are often created in 4K as it gives flexibility to move around the frame when exporting in 2K and not compromising quality.
The most obvious benefit of 4K is the resolution. With an HD frame being around 2 megapixels and a [4K UHD] frame being 8 megapixels. The detail is staggering. While there is currently limited ability to output 4K due to the price and availability of 4K televisions, being able to shoot in 4K helps differentiate yourself from others. Additionally, shooting in 4K is a method of future proofing. Since 4K will become ever more mainstream over the next 12-24 months, having 4K footage now helps keep me at the front of the curve.
However being 4x HD 4k requires larger storage more RAM and bigger budgets.
In (cinema) 4K, any individual frame is approximately 12MP, adequate for fine art printing. The increased resolution comes with a price: the data is four-times heavier than HD. So your entire pipeline must be robust to ingest, move, manipulate, and store four-times more data.
David Newton: Over the last few years there has been a major shift in the digital photography world. It began with the introduction of HD-capable DSLR cameras. This introduced a whole new market to the world of video and has seen videography grow from a split of professional and niche consumer shooters, to something that the mid-ground of consumers and the professional photographers have embraced. It’s a slow move though, as many photographers do not understand video. That said, as the numbers swell, so too does the interest in higher resolutions. As technology marches forward, so the increase in digital still-imagery resolution is moving across to video, and people at large are always looking for better, sharper or more detailed.
While 3D never amounted to more than a gimic, 4K is gaining traction in the market with cameras that are, relatively speaking, cheap compared to the performance they offer. The action camera market has helped too – the popularity of action cams, some of which can shoot 4K footage, has awoken the consumer consciousness to the possibilities, and more people are showing an interest, not just in video overall, but in 4K video specifically.
Photos by: Jack Pasco Photography