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Everything You Need To Know About 4k

So 4k is one of those techy terms that’s constantly used as a ‘must-have’ when it comes to shooting video. And frustratingly, despite it being a selling point, it’s often to find out why it’s a ‘must-have’. And so in today’s video we’re taking a look at what having 4k actually means, and whether you actually need it.

The Basics

In basic terms, 4k is the measurement of the size of a image. And this, in some aspects, is not a physical size, its a digital. So don’t think about 4k being a measurement of a physical size like a tv or a monitor, instead 4k is a measurement of pixels, with those pixels making up the image.

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So 4k is a measurement of an image/video in pixels - it’s 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels. And for those of us who like perfection, its frustrating because technically it falls under 4,000 pixels - they just round up for ease.

Over the last decade or so, what’s been considered as a “high quality” image has really has changed a lot. We started with 720p - Standard Definition (SD), before moving onto 1080p - Full High Definition (FHD), and then moved onto Ultra High Definition (UHD). And even as we look at these terms, shooting in 5k, 6k, 8k and onwards are all a possibility.

4k’s Selling Point

When you head in to buy a camera (or TV/monitor), 4k is usually pushed towards the consumer based on it providing a better picture. So is there any truth in that…. Does a 4k camera get you better footage?

And the truth is maybe.

4k is a bigger image, but other things go into the mix when we look at cameras. It depends on the quality of the lenses you’re using, the bit-rate of the footage and the quality of the sensor to name just a few things.

So 4k is just a marketing gimmick?

And that’s a definite no. Whilst it wont guarantee a better image, it’s likely that it will be a better image. 4k also allows some additional options in editing.

As an example, shown in the video, with 4k you can punch in (zoom into) the footage without quality loss - which means you have more options there, and combine that with reframing;- where you can zoom in and move the image to a new position that gives you a better composition - 4k can really help you get the shot you want, and provide you with more options in editing.

And, if you take that 4k image - something that is 4 times the size of 1080 and then shrink it to fit the 1080 frame - you’re obviously going to pack your pixels in;- meaning the image should be a denser, higher quality.

With all that said… Should I be using 4k?

4k is great option to have - it allows quite a lot options in post-production, but there are drawbacks. You’ll need more memory on both cards for your camera and your computer’s hard drive. You’ll also potentially need a beefier computer to handle the larger footage.

So do you use it? The answer from me is really - Yes, if you’re going to make use of it. Otherwise - 1080/FHD will be just as useable.

But what does GINGERBEARD Media use?

We shoot nearly all of our projects in 4k. We do so predominantly for options in editing, but also to try and help future proof footage for client - an increasing size of image is not going away, so it will be good to have options in the future.

But it was a staggered process. We started with 1080, moved to 4k when we needed it and now shoot almost exclusively 4k.

As a final note…

Shooting 4k changes the way you shoot. Because you know you have options to punch/crop/zoom in when editing, you’ll often find yourself shooting wider - knowing that you have an option to have a closer shot in editing as well. But when you first make the switch, it’s easy to forget, instead shooting with a final product in mind all the time - you’ll find that you’re still lining your shots up for what you want in editing - not what you could have.

Let’s Wrap This Up

So there you go - what is 4k, why you could choose to use 4k and what we do with 4k here at GINGERBEARD Media.

As ever, I hope this article and video have been useful and interesting. I would love to hear your thoughts down below, be it in relation to this, or to ask a different question.

If this topic has been of use/interest to you, we run a free Facebook Group: How to Shoot Video For Your Business - its specifically designed for business owners looking to learn how to shoot their own videos.

And, of course, if you’re looking for a video production company in Perth to assist with your next marketing video project then we’d love to have a chat.