What is 4K Video

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4K Video recording presents some new challenges and opportunities for cinematography and video in general, but what is 4K Video? 4K Video is also known as Ultra High Definition Television of UHDTV for short. It has been accepted as a standard by the broadcast industry and has broad application in video and cinema work but it is still a ways off from large scale consumer acceptance. UHDTV is defined by display devices or content having a horizontal resolution of 4,000 pixels. This is almost four times as much resolution as standard 1080 HD as the picture above shows. There are however at present a few issues with 4K. The first is that as of today there is not that much video content being produced in 4K. That will change. More on that in a moment. The second issue is that although there are a smattering of 4K televisions on the market today, there are not very many out there and they are generally more expensive than the perfectly good HD TV that consumers already have. The general public will likely be slow to go out and buy a new 4K television. In conversations with our cinematographers we have come up with a more interesting use case for 4K cameras. The way video is setup and recorded today is to setup the shot, put the camera in place and take the shot, then move the camera to the next shot and the next and so forth. What if you no longer needed to move the camera for each shot? With a 4K camera you can set up a wide shot and pull crunch shots and other closeup shots in post production at full 1080 HD resolutions. Voila’ a potential reduction in on-set camera time. You simply set the camera up and record everything in its view and then, once you have everything in the can, you go back to the studio. Using current NLE systems you pull the shots that you want from a portion of the entire 4K frame. Here’s and example. You have two actors on a set interacting with each other, you will need at least three shots for this scene. If you set up your 4K camera to record the entire scene, you have enough resolution to be able to go back and pull out crunch shots of each of the actors without having to reset your cameras. It works, and it has the added advantage of being able to use 4K now for cinema work with the resulting output being able to be used in the far more prevalent HD1080P standard.


About the Author:

George Hall Founder/President of VideoSSC. He has over 30 years’ experience as a high technology engineering executive. With significant experience in high performance computing, Military electronics, IP networks and Video Broadcasting. Board member Public Television. An author and frequent guest on technology programs and panels. He holds a BA in mathematics from Hillsdale College.
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