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Benefits of 8K video production

We often forget the world of video production we live in is far removed from some of our clients. Even for some of our more experienced client contacts, video terminology – and the subsequent benefits – are a world away from their day-to-day, particularly as the technology itself changes so quickly. So we’ll be covering some basics for questions that pop up from time-to-time.

What is 8K?

4K , 8K and subsequently ‘anything-K’ refers to the number of horizontal pixels, rounded.

There are various iterations and varities which all fall under the bracket of being ‘8K’. 8K UHD is actually 7680×4320 in 16:9, but 8192×4608 is also a 16:9 8K format. They’re both 33.18 and 37.75 megapixels respectively.

In the case of our RED Helium 8K camera, it records up to 8192×4320 in full format (2.4:1, which is slightly wider than the usual 16:9 aspect ratio), at 35.39 megapixels.

4K is a more standardised, with TVs, monitors and most cameras being 3840×2160, otherwise called 4K UHD. The same is true of 1920×1080, called 1080p or Full HD… even though it should just be called 2K. But that was already taken by Digital Cinema Initiatives who termed 2K as being 2048×1080.

Along the same lines, 1280×720, or “HD Ready”, is basically 1K, and DVD or SD resolution – 720×540 – is basically 0.7K.

But it’s all well and good talking numbers and anagrams, but there’s huge benefits to our video productions and clients by utilising this extra resolution.

Future-proofing

The first goes without saying: future-proofing. We’re already closing in on achieving resolutions that the human eye can no longer see the benefit of, and so with longevity of videos in mind, the higher the resolution the better the chance that content will be future-proofed.

Or, at best, just not look as old as a VHS recording does nowadays.

Framing flexibility

Whilst every effort is made, from storyboarding to production, for shots and their framing not be altered in the edit, a greater resolution does give you this as an option or intention.

A good example is for interviews. An on-trend device of having contributors talking directly to the camera (and therefore audience) allows you to almost achieve two shots from one camera – a closeup and a wide – enabling us to cut out sections of delivery; something you’d usually need two cameras for to avoid a jump cut.

Take the example to the side; the top frame being the original framing, the bottom being a 100% crop within a 4K sequence.

Ultimately this reduces cost by reducing edit time, and can give new life to existing content in the form of re-edits.

Supporting stills

Utilising stills from videos is nothing new, but 1080p (or 2K!) is only really suitable for smaller web images, and you can just about get away with using a 4K still in small print.

Our RED Helium 8K on the other hand, whilst lacking the finest of detail and quality you get from a dedicated stills camera, actually outputs a resolution not far off our Sony a7R III dedicate stills cameras. And in RAW for image manipulation and grading.

The benefit of course being cost-effective consistency across digital and print.

Comparison of 8K resolution
Indicative comparison between 8K resolution and 4K, HD and SD
A single-camera, two-shot 8K interview setup in a 4K sequence, with the full-frame original top, and a 100% crop below
8K Video Production Still from The Royal Mint
An 8K still from Una & The Lion for The Royal Mint. Click for full-resolution.

By Russell
31/07/2020
Video Production

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