Future-Proofing: Why You Need to Shoot in 4K

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Looking to create content that can stand the test of time? Brella’s got the tips to make your media Future-Proof.

Change is hard, especially when it comes to new technologies. Early adoption can be disruptive, expensive, and has no guarantee of paying off (just ask anyone who bought into HD DVD, the Newton, or the Zune).

Some changes, however, just aren’t optional. Case in point: In the world of video, it’s 4K or no way.

“If you’re not shooting in 4K right now, you’re behind the times,” says Brella co-founder Mark Mallchok. “It’s not something for the future. If 4K isn’t your current video standard, you’re wasting a great opportunity to extend the life of your content.”

What is 4K, anyway?

4K is a video resolution standard that equates to approximately 4000 horizontal pixels (find out more here). In practical terms, we’re talking 4x the resolution of full HD (1080p).

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Why you need to shoot your next video project in 4K:

1. The New Industry Standard — Don’t just take our word for it. The industry’s biggest players are using their considerable resources to declare that 4K is the only way. Panasonic and Canon are developing a Video over IP (VoIP) solution for transmitting 4K video. Sony just announced a big basket of goodies for 4K broadcasting.

The forecast for the consumer market is also 4K, all day. Shop at any retail electronics store and you will find yourself swimming in a sea of UHD TVs. Go back in a year and you will be hard pressed to find anything on the floor with less than 4K resolution.

2. Scalability — The 4K standard opens things up in terms of display options. Say you’ve produced a promo video for a tradeshow. At the last minute, you find out that instead of running on a 60 inch flat screen in a booth, it’s going to be presented on a 60 foot screen in a one thousand seat hall. If your vendor shot in SD or 1080p, your audience is going to think they’re standing too close to a Georges Seurat If they shot and edited in 4K, you’re okay. Just ask for a 4k compression and your audience will see all the detail you intended.

3. Flexibility — Shooting in 4K gives you all kinds of options in post. For starters, if you shoot wide in 4k and are editing in HD you can crop and reframe (or “Punch In”) on your footage to get a CU shot.  If you want to get fancy you can also add camera movement to static shots. “You can shoot a scene wide, locked down, which is quick and safe,” says Brella Video Department Director Dave Less, “then in post add a perfectly smooth track or zoom. And you’ll have the ability to change that movement at will.”

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When it comes to VFX, the more pixels the merrier. Green screen compositing and any kind of image manipulation becomes a lot easier at higher resolutions. Zooming in to crop out unwanted elements — or add in new ones — is a snap when you have plenty of pixels to play with.

In any case, creating lower resolution compressions of 4K footage is simple enough if you need to do so (e.g. streaming video). When it comes to video resolution, as Mallchok likes to say, “It’s always easier to go down than up.”

4. Durability — Do you need your video content to look fresh and current a year from now? Adopting 4K as your shooting standard now will save you money in the long run by extending your video content’s use life.

Consider this 1986 gem from Meat Loaf. It’s more than just his wispy mullet that makes it look dated. Soft focus, harsh lighting, and low resolution add up to a product that’s held up less well than some silent movies. Shoot in 4K and you’ll have a video that will look much better for much longer.

4K is the only way

The industry has reached a tipping point in terms of video resolution. 4K video is here, with 8K looming on the horizon (check out this stunning 8K video wall from this year’s National Association of Broadcasters show). Shooting in 4K is insurance against future reshoots. Adopt it as your standard now and avoid a lot of headaches in the future.

Want a gorgeous 4K video for your next trade show? How about an unforgettable event, or a handy new app? Give us a nudge. We’d love to chat.

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