Resolutions – when use 4K v 1080p

It is the age old question, what resolution should I shoot in?  It is actually easier than you think.  It 100% depends on where the video is going to be distributed.  If it is an over the air broadcast, as of today, 1080p (Full HD) is fine.  In fact, I would bet you can find some 720p and lower resolution transmissions going on.  In the future, this will change.  6K and 8K are in the far future, and all of this information can be translated to the newer resolutions.  

As 6K and 8K become more popular, 4K will be the new 1080p.  I am sure it will continue, even though the human eye can’t really see a difference beyond 4K.  

Ok, so why should you shoot in a higher resolution than what the human eye can even see?

One word: Flexibility.

Shoot at least one level higher than the final product, that way, if you need to crop, or add a pan, or a crane shot, or a zoom shot, you can do it, without loosing quality.   If you are going to distribute in 1080p, use 4K so you will have more flexibility with your editing.  Of course, you will definitely need a good computer to edit.  The higher the resolution of the video, the more the computer has to calculate.  Video editing is one of the biggest tests of a computer’s capabilities.  High end gaming is right up there with it.

What about using 1080p for a 1080p distribution?  There is one advantage in today’s cameras that would make that a good thing, and that is slow motion.  A lot of newer cameras are allowing 1080p with 120 FPS, which will allow for some spectacular slow motion video.  If you are shooting athletics, or fast moving anything, 120 FPS is your friend.  You won’t be able to do what the SLO-MO Guys do, but you can definitely make some great videos.

I hope this helps.  Here is a video I made about it a couple of months ago, and it has some samples of what I am talking about, and even explains 4K and 1080p better than I did here.



Leave a Reply