High Definition used to be the end all be all. You were the envy of your friends when you told them you just got the new HDTV. Your peers were green with jealousy as you casually told them about the camera you just bought that was capable of Hi-Def. Yes, those were the good old days.
Then came 2012.
Though rumored for a long time, that was the year 4K struck the world. 1080? Pssh, no one wanted that anymore. 4K has more clarity, more detail, more…everything! Still today, shooting 4K seems the way to go. Everyone wants a 4K video. To be at the cutting edge is the only way to be.
But, and this may smack of heresy to some, 4K isn’t always the best bet.
Most people won’t be able to view 4K in it’s natural resolution. It takes the newest TV or video monitor to show it in its proper form. Very few have the proper equipment to view it correctly. It would be like forcing a purebred racehorse to pull a farming plow. Yes, it’ll get the job done. It’ll even be sort of impressive pulling on the yoke. But that horse’s potential is being squandered. Instead of galloping around the track in an equine blur, it;s plodding along slowly to till a field. If the end product isn’t going to be seen using the proper tools, most obviously an internet video, then stay away from 4K.
Also keep in mind that 4K is much more expensive. Though the cameras are cheaper and more accessible now than they ever were, you’re still going to drop thousands of dollars to be able to film in 4K. Then you have to make sure your equipment can handle the larger format. You’ll need faster graphics cards and more ram and lots, lots more memory. Just moving the files takes longer than it did before. Everything is going to slow down in the pipeline, and though it is a cliché it holds true: time equals money.
So keep all this in mind when thinking about 4K. It is glorious and wonderful, but isn’t always the answer you’re looking for. It’s not the industry standard yet, so be intelligent and pick the proper format for your next project.