I get asked often, “What’s the point of shooting at 4K resolution?” After all there aren’t a huge number of 4K viewing options available and the files take up a lot of memory and computing power. This reminds me of the same question everyone was asking when SD was transitioning to HD. The same benefits still apply and more this time around. Here are 4 reasons of why I’d recommend you to transition from HD and to start shooting in 4K now!
4K Is Accessible & Affordable
I’ve only recently started saying this, but the first point I always bring up now is that the majority of the camera manufactures and even cellphones are allowing you to already start shooting in 4K on their devices. With an entry level as low as $600 you can start shooting 4K. There’s no denying that everything is transitioning quickly and you’ll already be on the leading edge of the movement as it becomes the new normal.
Overall Image Quality
What gets me so excited about shooting in 4K is the quality! When shooting in 4K you get dramatically higher resolution compared to HD. Even if your final project is going to be exported to HD, you can still gain massive benefits from shooting in 4K like the ability to reframe or steady out a shaky image (more on that below). When you dawn-sample the output to 1080p from 4K you get a better image than if you were shooting in 1080p HD. Down-sampling can help reduce noise and grain, making your footage look cleaner. The footage just looks more crisp.
Hardware & Software Are Ready For 4K
I currently use a 2013 MacBook Pro with Adobe Creative Suite and I’m impressed with the way it can handle my 4K files coming from my Sony α7R II and FS7. I’m looking to upgrade the MBP soon but given the performance I’m still getting, I’m in no rush. I can’t speak for all editing software, but as far as the Adobe Creative Suite is concerned, I’ve found it handles it all flawlessly and I can even do extensive color correction and other touchups.
More Resolution = More Possibilities
As I mentioned earlier, when you export to HD, shooting in 4K gives you a number of significant advantages:
Cropping & reframing
Pans & zooms
I find myself using all three of these very often. In some projects I go so far as to create dynamic pans and tilts that really enhance the viewing experience. I just have so much latitude from the 4K resolution! You’ll see in the sample videos below how I was able to stabilize a pretty shaky boat shot that normally would be unusable. This shot created a great ending for my trip to Greece video.
Again, the advantages of shooting in 4K are numerous even if, and maybe especially if, your end project is being output for HD. With my Sony α7R II and my other Snoy cameras, I shoot in 4K whenever possible. If you’ve shied away from 4K, give it a go and you’ll find that in addition to future-proofing, you’ll gain image quality, flexibility and the many post-production advantages that the 4K format offers.
Benefits Of Shooting In 4K: Image Stabilization
Benefits Of Shooting In 4K: Crop & Reframing
Benefits Of Shooting In 4K: Pans & Zooms