What is 4k and why do I need it?

I’m sure you’ve all seen those fancy curved tv’s at the major “big-box” electronics stores and thoughts, “that looks really really really cool, but do I need it?”  Short answer.  Yes, and no.  So what’s the big deal with this whole 4k thing then?

4k video is specified by the actual size of the video.  We’re all very familiar with the keyword 1080i or 720p when shopping for a new flat screen.  1080i is really 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall or just short of 2000 pixels wide or 2k.  4k is really video is really the same thing, just describing size – 4096 x 2160.  There’s a number of different options for 4k video, but the standard is UHD or Ultra HD.  UHD is 2x the size of standard 1080.

Now that we’ve gotten the technical details out of the way, why is it good and bad?  Well its fantastic because we’re now experiencing super high resolution video that is of amazing quality.  The video camera industry is consistently pushing the boundaries and trying to achieve more resolution, not to mention driving the costs of the technology down.  The not so good thing is that 4k video really doesn’t have any great ways of distribution.  Ask around, how many people do you know with a 4k tv?  I sure dont’ have one yet, but I want one..  Need, vs. Want…  You get the idea.  So here’s what’s the absolutely beautiful thing and why I completely love 4k.  When you shoot video in 4k and down-res it to 1080 HD for broadcast or release, it’s like you’re getting two times the quality!  Plus, when you shoot something at the highest quality possible, it provides the client with a project with longer shelf life.  Eventually 4k TV’s will be mainstream, and the projects you shoot and edit now in 4k, will still be viable and look great.

This is the exact reason why we choose to shoot all of our projects in 4k, edit in 4k and export a version in 4k.

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