Watch our exclusive video to find out more about the world of 4K Video! We reveal the key benefits of what the 4K format offers for your shooting, image quality and post-production workflow

Shooting 4K Video is now available to almost all filmmakers with a wide range of affordable cameras now offering 4K capabilities as standard. But what is 4K? How can it help your filmmaking? And what do you need to consider when shooting and editing 4K footage?

Why is it called 4K?
4K is simply a video specification or format that gets its name from the approximate 4,000 pixel width (3840 for 4K UHD, 4096 for DCI 4K) of the footage, hence ‘4K’. If you compare this to 1080p HD footage, which is 1920 pixels across, you can begin to get an idea of the possibilities of image detail in 4K. For example, it is at least twice as wide and has four times as many pixels in comparison to 1080p HD footage.

Major benefits
Thanks to its high resolution capture capabilities shooting with 4K offers a number of key benefits. These include sharper and crisper image quality, plus better colour data for grading. It also offers the reduction or elimination of video artifacts, such as moiré, plus compatibility with 4K TVs and projectors.

Post-production workflow
Using 4K also gives greater flexibility for your post-production workflow. With the greater quality image source file from 4K it is easier to crop in on, zoom out or pan across 4K footage and still maintain HD resolution. In other words, the better the source file you have… the more flexible it will be for producing creative, high image quality edits.

The extra pixel power offered by 4K can also help for stabilising footage. For example, many editing packages will contain image stabilisation features that will do a decent job of artificially stabilising handheld footage but this is done by a process that includes decreasing resolution. Working from better quality 4K footage will mean you have more pixels to play with and significantly sharper original material.

Easy availability
These days 4K is not just limited to high-end professional and cinema cameras but, thanks to better sensor technology and increased processing power, can be seen in many sub-£500 models. If you’re taking your first steps into 4K it might be worth starting with an inexpensive camera to develop your 4K shooting and workflow skills.

Key considerations
To make sure you get the most out of shooting with 4K consider the following:

• Use fast memory cards of at least 30MB per second write speed to allow for recording at quality settings up to 200Mbps.

• Keep a fast, high quality, hard drive for quick and easy storage of your 4K footage.

• Consider your computer’s memory for editing 4K footage, as it will quickly use up memory. However, you can also edit proxy footage offline, as opposed to the original footage online, then export it to 4K.

• It might be worth investing in a 4K monitor so you are viewing footage at true 4K quality.

• 4K editing support is now available in inexpensive packages, such as Apple’s iMovie, but take care to consider what is the best package for editing your 4K footage. Fully featured packages such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve will all easily handle a 4K workflow.

Find out more…
Just click on the video window at the top of this article to watch a video that explains many of the key things you’ll need to know about 4K.

You can find out more about editing 4K footage offline with proxy files by just clicking here.

To discover some of the best 4K cameras that are available for under £500 just click here.