Whilst the certainties in life might be death and taxes, in video there’s nothing quite as certain as the rise in picture quality. As video producers strive to create better and better content, improving video resolution is one of the obvious technical methods to implement.
As long as you ensure that you are creating the most useful and entertaining content possible, the next area for consideration should be final image quality. Think of resolution in line with your brand; the halo effect of a stunning viewing experience will wow your audience and reinforce your message.
What is 4K video?
4K video has a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels, which is over four times HD video resolution 1920 x 1080. 4K and the improved UHD (Ultra High Definition has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels) have been around since 2003, but broadcasting at this resolution has taken a little longer to catch up. YouTube started accepting 4K uploads in 2010, but the first movies were not shown until 2011.
At around the same time as 4K gained popularity, audiences moved their TV viewing habits to on-demand services like Netflix. This gave broadcasters a challenge as the large files (~40GB) being downloaded via domestic broadband connections raised concerns about data limits and overall download times.
4K in Marketing
Marketers have embraced 4K just as enthusiastically as their counterparts in television. 4K camera equipment is available at such competitive rates that in-house corporate video production units and third party production services are able to shoot at very high resolutions. Even if a 2K viewing experience is subsequently offered; the stunning detail of the 4K original capture still improves the quality and visual being broadcast.
If your audience or your own brand is seen as innovative early adopters then offering the highest quality image will only benefit the campaign. Similarly, using 4K at a trade show or other high profile event will provide the very best viewing experience.
The other major advantage of investing in 4K video production is longevity. If your content is planned to be around for the next few years, having it available in the maximum resolution will ensure that the quality doesn’t look dated (even if the content does!).
The Downside of 4K
There are some challenging aspects of working with 4K, mainly to do with the size of the content produced. Just a few minutes of 4K film can be up to 500GB and so the immediate challenge for Marketing teams is how to store, move and manage the large files.
If you are considering moving into 4K video production, it will be worth sitting down with your IT team to discuss methods for handling a 4K workflow and what resources you might need in storage, both on computers and long term storage and back up. You should also plan out a draft workflow that encompasses file sharing, distribution and any transcoding required.
Remember – never assume filming in 4K will automatically improve the overall quality of your marketing video. If it’s bad then it will be still bad, only now everyone will be able to see how bad it is on 8.8 million pixels!