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Filming In 4K – Is It Really Necessary?

31st March, 2015

Filming in 4K

We’ve recently taken delivery of the new Sony FS7 camera, meaning we can now offer higher resolution footage to our clients. Much higher, in fact – 4 times the level of detail we currently see in full ‘high definition’ footage. But while many people are still struggling to stream HD footage, and very few even have a screen capable of displaying 4K, is this vastly superior image quality really necessary?

Filming in 4KStrictly speaking, the answer is probably: not yet. The time will eventually come when your audience expect a 4K viewing experience, but HD still has a lot of life in it and is going to be the standard for a while to come. But there are definitely benefits of getting ahead of the curve and bringing this level of quality to your video projects right away.

1. Ability to ‘crop-in’

Why would you shoot in 4K if you’re only going to deliver your final product in HD? One major advantage is that when the camera shoots so much detail, you have the ability when editing to ‘crop-in’ on the footage without loss of quality. Think of your final HD image as being a ‘window’ on to your original 4K footage. This offers a range of options in postproduction, from creating a virtual second camera angle on an interview, to recomposing a shot to include only a selected portion of the frame.

2. Future-proofing

When your video is shot in 4K, you can be sure that in a few years time it will still look just as great and won’t suffer when compared with newer videos. In fact, as 4K TVs and monitors become more commonplace, your video will look even better than ever before as it can be viewed ‘as shot’.

Filming in 4K3. Extracting stills

We’re often asked if it’s possible to take still images from video footage. Of course this is possible, but we’re always limited to the resolution of the video camera – even at full HD, the still frames are only really suitable for basic web use. While shooting at 4K still won’t provide results that rival a professional DSLR, the stills will be far more flexible than those taken from HD footage and stand up to being printed.

These are just a few advantages, aside from the obvious one of shooting your footage at the highest quality you can. What’s not in doubt is that while 4K footage can enhance your video, it won’t make up for poorly scripted/structured content, and beautiful visuals are no substitute for a great idea or perfectly executed concept.

Mike Plenty

Managing Director

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