4K: The new frontier

Nicholas Duron Posted in Video
10 November 2015

MORE PIXELS. MORE RESOLUTION. BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

4k (8k and now a rumoured 18k) are the new high definition resolutions that are sending waves through the tech world and grabbing the attention of the filmmakers who are looking to produce Ultra HD (UHD) content.

So what is it?

4k is the resolution of an image. What we consider HD resolution at the moment is 1080p which 1080 pixels in height and 1920 pixels in width. A 4k image is 4,000 pixels wide, essentially doubling the dimension of 1080p, allowing for 4 times as many pixels in an image. Long story short, 4k is HD but on a whole new level.

Why should I care?

By shooting on 4k cameras, you can fit more pixels into your shots, allowing for more sharpness, definition and overall content for audiences to enjoy. In the same way that 1080p HD was an upgrade from 720p SD – 4k is the next step up. The film industry has already gotten behind the quality that 4k provides. Most movie theatres project on 4k as it can clearly show a picture in high definition over a large screen, while streaming giant, Netflix is talking about offering a 4k streaming service. Because 4k TV's aren't common and most content is currently produced for HD TVs and monitors, there is still some argument about whether making the switch to help enhance your 1080p content.

What does 4k offer that 1080p doesn’t?

If you’re releasing your content in 1080p (which is the standard for most broadcast and digital content) much of the advantage that shooting on 4k offers comes in post-production. Because a 4k framesize is so much larger than 1080p, you give yourself the a high degree of flexibility to reframe shots as well as give the illusion of multiple camera angles. For an interview, this can reduce camera requirements from two to one, saving you time and money. For more creative projects, it means that you can turn a mid-shot into a medium close-up without too much hassle. On a long term basis, if you intend your content to have a multi-year lifespan 4k is also attractive. Research suggests that UHD TVs will fill every home by 2019. By shooting in 4k now, you’ll be able to futureproof your content for re-release in 4k. and get a head start on the impending market takeover.

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