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Is 4K Worth The Tradeoff?

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I agree with ppl in the comments - it depends on what type of scene you shoot. If it is something with a lot of motion and shallow dof, then not that much. But if you shoot with more dof and less blur, you will clearly see it. Depends on lighting as well. I can see it very well in those scenes. 

Plus, there is always a post factor - do you want to be able to crop/zoom your video, push your grade more or less. 

Ofc there is a downside to 4k, a tax in disk space and computer power required to process and edit it smoothly. 

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I can't really tell a difference unless cropping in. I never crop in so its pretty useless for me to be honest.

Only makes a difference on youtube due to Youtube's weird compression. But you can just upscale your 1080 to 4k and it looks good.

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I crop in a good bit and 4K helps with post stabilization for the few times im not using a tripod.

 

However Its hard to tell when watching on a tiny phone screen, but I watch a ton of stuff on a 27'' and 25'' monitor so yes I can tell the difference. Also 1080p on a 4K TV usually looks kinda terrible. 

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I never notice a difference between 4k and 1080p for distribution even on a large 4k tv.

However, with every camera that I have used or edited footage from, downscaled 4k for a 1080p delivery is significantly better than natively shooting 1080p. For capture, I think 4k is without a doubt "worth it" in terms of SD card and disk space, and processing power--unless you need a very quick turnaround and don't much about image fidelity.

4k is also very useful for green screening, motion tracking, and other information-hungry VFX processes, especially if you downscale to 1080p afterwards.

On the other hand, I can't honestly say I see a difference between downscaled 4k and native 1080p after YouTube compression. But FWIW it's a fairly well known trick to upscale 2k to 4k just to get a higher bitrate on YouTube, if the bandwidth supports it at the streaming end.

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It depends on the level of detail of the shot and the size of the picture displayed, obviously. Where crop magnifications can pop up the differences in-between. There are human limitations, as well.

Which means a much more noticeable difference from SD to HD or from 720p to 1080p rather than from 2K to 4K or even as far as the next 6K or 8K steps concern. Except if you'll print a large format. Then, the difference can be crucial between to have it or not to have.

It is what it is. Like when you won't probably notice the difference between 10 to 100 millions in your bank account as much as from 10,000 to 100,000 or from there to 1 million.

There's always a sweet spot in everything. In my country we're used to say the virtue is in the middle, for some reason ; -)

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20 minutes ago, Mako Sports said:

I crop in a good bit

that was a huge revelation after making my short in 1080p: i wish id shot a bunch of it just a little wider, and then cropped in during post. even if the extra pixels just go to straightening out a horizon line, it wouldve been super useful to have that

20 minutes ago, Mako Sports said:

and 4K helps with post stabilization

which is huge, bc several shots that i stabilized in post were ones that i didnt plan on stabilizing at all. 4ks great for adding camera movement, as well. lots of post stuff

but this is my take for something thats grading/vfx heavy, so if you have a fast turnaround its a whole different story

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edit: the difference between 4k and 1080p on youtube on my 1080p TV is huge. of course i notice it!

that being said, you need to have an objective idea of the resolving power of a grid of pixels... whether its 2k, 4k, whatever, theres a high end limit to the detail in an image at a given resolution, and MOST cameras dont approach that in any mode whatsoever, so its kind of an abstract comparison 😂

an analogy: my 5d3 shoots ~soft~ stills, to me. pleasantly soft, dreamy stills at 22 megapixels, compared to the *actual resolving power* of that 5760x3840 grid, right? other manufacturers have razor sharp images at 100%, in comparison, at the same spatial resolution. thats a matter of taste, but to think that 22 megapixels = my camera is of course retarded

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37 minutes ago, kaylee said:

edit: the difference between 4k and 1080p on youtube on my 1080p TV is huge. of course i notice it!

that being said, you need to have an objective idea of the resolving power of a grid of pixels... whether its 2k, 4k, whatever, theres a high end limit to the detail in an image at a given resolution, and MOST cameras dont approach that in any mode whatsoever, so its kind of an abstract comparison 😂

an analogy: my 5d3 shoots ~soft~ stills, to me. pleasantly soft, dreamy stills at 22 megapixels, compared to the *actual resolving power* of that 5760x3840 grid, right? other manufacturers have razor sharp images at 100%, in comparison, at the same spatial resolution. thats a matter of taste, but to think that 22 megapixels = my camera is of course retarded

Youtube is not a good way to compare 1080 to 4k. 

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Something missing here is the fact (or not) about the sensor native resolution used, as well, color depth and bit rate as for instance.

That equation counts much more than some other nonsense math for the subject matter strictly based on 4K vs 1080p or 720p acquisition.

 

There are other variables completely ignored over here on this discussion.

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What I got out of that clip was a good argument for considering one's resolution as another, um, "film stock" choice (along with, oh say, Picture Profiles) based on one's shooting intent and delivery intent. For a "15 Jump Cuts of handheld footage for a 44-second quick-turn-around video of "My friend rocking his Electric Skateboard" intended for cellphone consumption on YouTube" (which will not be critically viewed, and will likely be forgotten by the time the viewer reaches their subway stop! Ha!) he makes a good argument for one to consider shooting cheap and fast with not only one's gear choices but also with one's resolution choices (with the caveat, "where applicable"). IMHO.

However, if one's shooting intent and viewing intent is for considered consumption where the viewer is taking-in the entire scene while expecting high quality footage (read: commercial shoot, weddings, sports/action showcasing/highlighting, cinematic content) on larger 4K (or even, HDR-capable) screens then to my tastes, shooting at 1080 or 720 might/would work if tossed in "here and there as artistic cutaway shots" but not as the primary resolution choice. Case in point, it's very clear and obvious to me when these GH5S scenes drop to 1080 for slow motion vs the 4K main content...

Surprising Results Filming with GH5S from Panasonic - YouTube:

 

...well, my 2¢ on the matter.

:)

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if youre trying to do a comparison thats even in the realm of objectivity, take what you think is a high quality 4k clip, render it out at 1080p, and watch both. compare. easy

this video is wildly subjective, it makes its point, but... cmon

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