4K video has been on the verge of becoming an industry standard in media production for quite some time (even smartphones now shoot and display 4K video!). This means that more and more production houses, filmmakers, and cameramen have switched gears from HD to 4K over the past few years. At Pond5, we’ve seen immense growth in 4K from both a supply and demand perspective. For example, in comparison to the same period in 2015, 50% more 4K clips were uploaded into our 4K video collection this year.
Shifting from HD to 4K editing most often involves upgrading your hardware, such as computers, hard-drives, graphic cards, and storage. However, there are some key benefits to using 4K video that make it very much worth implementing into your workflow. Here are six reasons why you should start using 4K in your current and upcoming projects.
Future-Proofing Your Work
Let’s start with the most obvious reason: 4K video is on the rise and here to stay. While not all consumers are demanding 4K content today, an increased awareness and desire is proving that the “mainstream switch” is likely to happen within the next few years (think of the SD > HD revolution a few years back). Looking ahead, it seems that now is the time to start investing in future-proofing your work, thus allowing it to have a longer shelf life.
Ultimately, by working with 4K footage – and outputting your projects in 4K – you can make sure that your content will be available for distribution and playback at its optimal resolution when this format becomes the standard of media display. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sony, and YouTube are just a few of the world’s leading content providers that have been adopting 4K within their ecosystems.
The additional pixels of a 4K clip allow you to crop in up to four times within a particular shot while still maintaining Full HD (1920×1080) resolution. This creative freedom – being able to crop in on a particular area without losing too much detail – is a huge benefit of 4K video. Think of an interview set-up, for which you only have one available camera. After framing your subject in a medium shot, you’re able to crop in during post-production in order to obtain a close-up of the subject’s face. This allows you to edit the interview with a medium shot and a close-up sourced from the same clip.
In addition to just simply cropping, 4K video makes it possible to apply a variety of editing techniques such as zooming, tilting, and panning. Adding subtle movement to footage can help improve the dynamics of your visuals.
Stabilizing shaky footage has become a simple thing to do with most post-production tools. However, automated stabilization often results in a re-scaled clip that has a somewhat lower resolution. When working with 4K footage, you benefit from the additional pixels, while also having a great amount of “edge room” to work with for cropping.
Downscaling to HD
If you’re working on a project in HD, you can still use 4K video and easily downscale it to HD resolution. And since there are four times as many pixels, this results in an even sharper image. When color correcting, this downscaled footage allows for more flexibility. Both Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X allow you to downscale 4K footage within your HD sequence in a few clicks.
While a Full HD frame export results in a 2 megapixel still image, 4K gives you four times as much resolution — meaning you’d end up with an average 8 megapixel image. This works great for print magazines or other advertising purposes. A photographer could technically shoot 4K video and decide on which individual still to output later on. Again, most professional editing tools will allow you to easily export frames from your video.
When keying out a green or blue screen background, the additional pixels around the subject’s edges mean you can tweak and refine your settings in order to obtain a cleaner and more polished final result. More sharpness and detail also make it easier to track movement appropriately.
Still from 4K Woman on Green Screen by CENTERSTAR
This handful of post-production tricks, as well as the importance of starting to future-proof your content will ensure you a longer shelf life for your media as well as keep you ahead of the curve for years to come. Start browsing the Pond5 4K video collection and upgrade your projects and possibilities today.