UNLESS you’ve been hibernating for the last few years or just returned from a deserted island you’ve heard of 4K and probably watched something in 4K.
4K, refers to a display device or content having horizontal resolution of 3,840 pixels along and 2,160 pixels vertically. 3.84K just doesn’t roll off the tongue… Up until the advent of mainstream 4K 1080p HD was the best image quality available for most online video viewing. Remember when we jumped from SD to HD and 1080p became the norm? it was groundbreaking – suddenly Youtube videos were beautiful and crisp. Well, 4K is four times more crisp and beautiful than 1080p – something referred to as UHD or Ultra HD.
You might think that shooting in 4K is reserved for James Cameron types but you can get your hands on a 4K capable camera for just a few hundred dollars. A 43 inch 4K TV can now be had for under $600 and a 4K computer monitor for under $500.
7 Reasons you should be shooting in 4K, NOW
4K is the future and the future is now
It’s happening. Now. This isn’t some future tech that may or may not be hitting mainstream. Soon enough 10280p ‘regular’ HD will seem dated and maybe even unwatchable. Don’t think so? Remember when you didn’t know that VHS (I am dating myself here) looked like shit? Then DVD’s came around and blew your mind. Remember when DVD was the cat’s meow – now DVD looks antiquated next to Bluray. That is the type of shift that is underway with 4K content and tech. Don’t wait to be out of date.
A GoPro Hero4 black edition shoot 4K footage at 24/25/30 fps and it is only $499. The $1,300 Phantom 3 drone has a built in 4K camera. Vizio has a 43 inch 4K Ultra HD smart TV for under $600. Or, if you’re a baller, you can spend $10,000 on LG’s 79 inch WEBOS 3D Ultra HD 4K TV and be the coolest kid at the party.
4K streaming on Youtube – the leader in 4K streaming
Youtube has been leading the charge in 4K streaming since 2010 – when the tech was little known and hardly used by average folk. Now there is a growing collection of gorgeous 4K content, with new videos uploaded daily. Youtube is pushing 4K to the next level, again, testing 4K videos videos that stream at 60 fps. Oh. My. Gawd.
4K streaming / download on Vimeo
It took Vimeo awhile to get there but 4K streaming is finally happening for the filmmaker favorite video site. Users can also download original 4K files of videos as well.
Amazon, Netflicks…who’s next?
Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflicks are slowly adding more and more programming to their 4K streaming services. Yes, you need a 4K monitor to take advantage but, hey, the prices are dropping fast. Time to upgrade. Who is next? Well, likely we will be seeing network television offer 4K programming in the not so far off future.
GoPro 4K all the way
I’m a die hard GoPro fan and the 4K capabilities of the Hero4 Black edition have barely been tapped. Again, the little camera is only $500 (probably less by the time you read this) and shooting incredible images in Ultra HD. For my money this is the easiest, and perhaps cheapest entry point into the world of shooting 4K.
Movie theater quality images
If you are shooting on the above mentioned GoPro in 4K then you can screen your footage at the local 4K compatible theater and it will look glorious. Many theaters (or at least the ones I patronize here in LA) are showing in digital 4K and the image quality is crazy good.
4K Drones – Inspire 1, Phantom 3
DJI is the leading consumer drone company and they have 2 drones in their family of copters that have built in 4K cameras. The sexy Inspire 1 goes for about $3,000 but the new Phantom 3 Professional addition is about $1,200 and also comes with a built in 4K camera and a 3 axis gimbal for smooth shooting.