BTS: Why 4K?

It’s a decision that is often weighed as customers begin the process of specing out their projects: for a 1080 (HD) resolution project, should you film it in 4K (four times the amount of pixels needed for an HD output) or shoot in 1080? On one hand, higher resolution videos mean larger file sizes, which means more data to process and more storage space needed. On the other hand, there are two benefits we weigh in on today: future proofing and reframing.

Future-Proof Your Footage

In every project we film, we consider the future use of the footage. We consider the logging process (cataloging of video clips on spreadsheets) to be super helpful in reducing long term video production costs. If cataloged, clips filmed for businesses and commercials can be repurposed for various campaigns and promotional materials. In many instances, a clip filmed today will be a helpful asset three years from now. Remember when the shift from SD to HD occurred? SD footage became vintage and virtually useless for most repurposing. With a shift from HD to 4K occurring today, we want to record content in a way that preserves its value for as long as possible.

Reframe for Today

For standard 1080 HD outputs (speaking to our 2019 audience), we can leverage the extra resolution that 4K provides in our edits for today’s projects. With twice as many pixels recorded, we can zoom in on a clip without losing quality in the final output. This gives us additional options to use a single clip in different and creative ways.

While 2-camera interviews are generally more preferable, 1-camera interviews may be a necessary requirement for budget purposes. To make a 1-camera interview more interesting in the edit, we can take a 4K recording and cut back and forth between the full wide shot. A zoomed-in version of the same shot will cut as if it came from a second camera. This opportunity for a cutaway coming from a single camera interview is also great for covering up video cuts made to eliminate misspeaks by the onscreen interviewee.

The opportunity to reframe can also provide value for b-roll clips as well, where a 4K clip can be zoomed in and panned across. We have used this in projects such as save-the-date videos for corporate events, product feature videos and documentary stories. Whether it’s keeping a smaller project in budget while providing a little more value, or simply providing more creativity options in the editing room, we have found reframing to be very useful.

4K It Up

Yes, there are rare times when recording standard HD video footage is the best option. The value of the storage space and data processing time makes sense, as the footage is intended for a short-term purpose only, and there is no potential value for reframing. But in most cases, we’ve found 4K to be the best option, hands down. We’re looking to the future and doing everything we can to provide maximum value to our clients.

Do you have questions regarding your next project? Please contact us. We’re here to help!

About the Author


Rachel Koehler

As the producer for VideoPro, Rachel coordinates all our client projects. Her background includes commercial video production, drone piloting, and chocolate making. She loves working with people and learning something new every day.