We’ve had a 4 months to get to used to 4k video production. Here’s some of the things we discovered.
Amazingly, due to the latest compression codecs the file sizes are no larger on our camera than HD straight out of the camera. This is a huge relief.
There really is noticeably more detail when you compare the image with the same shot in HD. Also, as the whole sensor is used when filming in 4K, the image, when reduced to 1080p looks clearer than the native HD one.
There are several advantages of shooting in 4K for 1080p output, which we’ll be sad to lose when 4K becomes the norm in the next couple of years:
Stabilising footage is highly effective. Rather than needing to use enormous, complex dolley or crane rigs, it’s often possible to use a small 2 handed gimbal stabiliser and get results that are every bit as good when outputting to 1080p. By filming in 4K and leaving some room around the edge, this gives plenty of pixels around the edge for the software to discard and keep the shot in the middle level.
Cropping in to get a 2 camera shoot from 1. This has proved to be very useful at times, although we do still tend to use that 2nd camera. But we do get a 3 camera shoot! This is also useful in performance videos, especially when they are for output on DVD in standard definition. You can use any 1/8th of the image at full size full screen!
It’s also been useful when needing to put two shots on the timeline that look a bit too similar. Now you can keep one as a wide shot and zoom into the other for a closer shot. This saves having to put in an extra closeup shot between the 2 and extending the video just for the sake of avoiding this.
We have tried panning accross the 4k image full screen in a 1080p timeline to simulate using a slider or dolley but we find that it lacks the parallax scrolling so does not look authentic.
It is great, however, if you need to rotate the footage a degree or 2 on the rare occasion that the shot hasn’t come out level, as well as offering some nice options for rotating the camera in post which would be very difficult to accomplish in real life.
In all we’re very, very pleased with 4K video so far. In fact we tend to film most shots in it, whether the final video production requires it or not. It does not require much extra time or work to do so and gives us a lot more flexibility in post.
So there’s lots of advantages and post production opportunities when working in 4k on 1080p productions. The only downside is, the image is so gorgeous that we hate reducing it down!