We all want to get the best out of our video productions, and using the latest tools can really help – but does that mean you should be aiming to produce in 4K? Is HD dead?
While your glossy product shoots, service launches, and client updates are all going to look amazing in 4K, our advice would always be don’t get too focused on the tech specs.
The Cost Side of Things
If your production budget can incorporate shooting at 4K (using capable cameras, edit times and so on) then go for it! But remember nowadays your audience aren’t always going to be viewing your final video in all its 4K glory. The majority of online video is consumed through mobile devices and the number of 4K mobile screens is still a minority.
Nowadays, the cost of producing in 4K is much less significant a consideration that even a couple years ago, as technology has moved on, but if you’re on a super tight budget, and you need multiple cameras for your project, equipment costs may exceed what you had in mind to pay.
How Are You Going To Reach Your Audience?
If you are reaching out to your clients or potential audience through YouTube then keep in mind that having a 4K option on your video will keep a part of your audience happy as Larry, as they kick back and relax watching your stunning content on a huge UHD or bigger screen, probably surrounded by their latest tech – right on! For those without a speedy enough connection or a suitably high res screen, though – delivering your content in HD or less, will still be able to reach out and tell your story to those that matter.
So, if you’re aiming to reach your video audience online it’s OK to just use HD cameras, right? Well, you certainly can, and for some productions the budget savings could go to employing an additional camera or two to get extra shots, more angles or just wrap a shoot faster. On the other hand, if you can capture all the footage for your project in 4K, even if your audience only ever watches in HD – rest assured the HD version will still look great as 4K footage when reduced in resolution to HD almost always looks great, often better than footage produced using HD-only equipment.
What About TV Broadcasts?
Here at Cloudy South, we come from a broadcast world in TV, and even now the quality of shows being broadcast is almost universally well below the true 4K quality that the latest cameras can easily handle. In fact, many channels will broadcast in highly compressed, lower quality resolutions, in order to stay within the limitations of ageing equipment and to keep data rates manageable. They may well take delivery of true HD or 4K originals, but that’s not what gets broadcast to the end viewer today, in the (not so near) future, when the majority demand true 4K quality, well, things will change…and then the full detail and quality of 4K productions will be enjoyed my more and more viewers. Will this make for a better telling of the stories recorded, though?
Long story short? If your production partners offer it, and your timeline and budget can accommodate it, then go for 4K. Longevity, quality, flexibility – sounds good to us!