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I am looking at upgrading our camera equipment and am trying to work out, to 4k or to not 4k?

We need a relatively compact camera in size and weight for our productions specifically.

For generic video productions companies, do they want 4k?

Is 4k valuable at 8 bit, 24fps, or do they really want 60fps?

Would they prefer us shooting high quality HD (1080p) footage upto 60fps (i.e. 12 bit, 13 stops, raw)?

We are having real trouble making a choice, as picking lower end 4k seems to have some big caveats. So is it worth it?

We have had some tell us, 'YES GO 4K!' And others, 'don't bother'.

Any tips would be much appreciated, thanks.

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2 Answers 2

In my opinion, the market for 4k delivery is still very small, but that doesn't mean its useless.

Shooting at a higher resolution than the delivery resolution allows you to recompose shots without any quality loss. If you shoot a talking head in 4k but deliver in 720p, you can get a wide, medium, and closeup from the same shot.

In my experience clients nearly always want video delivered in 24/25/30fps. Higher frame rates should only be used to achieve slow mo. That being said, everyone loves slow-mo, so the ability to be able to shoot at 60fps or higher is valuable.

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We shot one of the first indie HD films back in the day when the prosumer HD cameras first came out. Because we were one of the first feature films to shoot in HD we secured a national theatrical release.

If I was shooting a feature film today, I would do it in 4K. Because at some point in the near future theaters, NetFlix, Cable Networks, etc. will be acquiring all the 4K content they can get their hands on to please the millions that own 4K TVs. We aren't there yet... but it's coming.

As for online, 60FPS is hard to handle with the bandwidth most people have today, but that will soon change. YouTube just announced plans for supporting 4K with 60FPS.

I knew a photographer 15 years ago that shot a lot of stock images. He shot and saved everything at a resolution of 320x240 because hard drive space was "expensive" and that was a decent resolution for the time. Against my advice of shooting and saving at the highest resolution possible, He said those files sizes were big enough because they filled half his screen. Fast forward a few years later and monitor sizes have increased and his "big" pictures now look like thumbnails.

Thousands of his images and pictures are now obsolete because he didn't look towards the future.

But it depends on your clients. Are they shooting feature films, online content, or corporate stuff that will be shown once then never again?

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