If you’ve been shopping for a camera recently you’ll probably have seen the term ‘4K video’ plastered on shop displays and even written on the labels stuck on the front of products. 4K is a video specification that literally just means ‘4,000’. It gets its name from the approximately 4,000 pixels of width of the footage.
This is much more detailed than anything you’re likely to have seen before. You’ve probably already noticed the jump from pre-digital ‘standard definition’ television up to ‘HD’ and ‘Full HD’ services that are now available on digital TV, online streaming and Blu-Ray discs. Compared to earlier standards, this HD footage is detailed, crisp and it even looks good when viewed on a large TV. But even the best quality, ‘1080p’ HD footage is only 1920 pixels across. 4K is significantly more detailed, since it has twice as many pixels horizontally, and four times as many pixels in total.
What does it mean for video shooters?
If you shoot HD video, should you upgrade your camera to a 4K-capable model? The obvious reason to make the switch to 4K is to future-proof your work.
Consumers may not demand 4K content today, but at some point they will, and if history is any guide this will probably happen soon. Just imagine if you had continued to shoot in standard definition up until the moment that everyone finally had an HD television. Who would want to watch that crunchy, mushy low-resolution content today? As a content creator you’re always better off getting ahead of the curve.
However, even if you don’t need (or want) to create 4K content yet, there are number of huge benefits to adopting a 4K workflow now.