It seems like every manufacturer is touting it’s sweet new 4K technology lately, and why wouldn’t they? Packing-in quadruple the pixels their HD counterparts can, 4k devices are awesome!!
But just like with early HD TVs and monitors, it’s difficult to do it right. Luckily, 4K technology isn’t really all that new, and the costs for consumers and pros alike are dropping like crazy.
So what does it take to get a true 4K or UHD image? Stick around over the course of the next few articles as we dive into this topic. By the end you will be a 4K pro!
4K vs UHD
We might as well get this one addressed right off the bat since it’s not that complex, but it can be confusing.
Unless you are a filmmaker, the difference between 4K and UHD is absolutely irrelevant to anything you will ever need to know. Seriously. The difference between the two is so negligible you should treat them as one and the same unless you make a living on these kinds of details. Anyways…
True 4K is 4096x2160 and is primarily used for acquisition, whereas UHD 4K, as it is referred to in mainstream marketing, is 3840x2160 and is primarily used for broadcast. There it is. That’s the difference, a handful of pixels.
For the remainder of this article, the terms 4K and UHD will be used interchangeably even though they are different as just explained, but for the purposes of this article they are meant to be one and the same.
Why should I make the move to 4K?
Because it looks better, bigger.
It’s that simple. Side-by-side from the same vieweing ditance, there is absolutely no comparison. 4K is WAY better. This image makes the difference clear.
The reason for this is the extra amount of detail that can be packed into a given amount of space. A 4K image packs more than quadruple the pixels into the same sized space. Nowadays, with Monitors ranging from 3-inch cell phones, to 100-inch and larger televisions, this is more important than ever.
Have you ever watched an online video on your phone and then watched that same video on a computer or TV and been baffled at how different the image looks on each device. It seems that as the device gets larger, the image gets worse. This makes no sense, right? If your phone is 1080p and so is your TV, than shouldn’t they look the same? Not necessarily.
This comes down to the definition of 1080p, which is 1920 pixels wide, by 1080 pixels high. In a cell phone, you are using tiny pixels to pack in the 1920 across by 1080 tall that you need, whereas in a 50” TV you need to use much larger pixels to spread this same amount of detail across the larger space. That’s why your eye notices the blemishes (in the form of pixilation) on a large TV and not the tiny pixels on your phone.
Now, if you step back from the TV by ten or twenty feet, the HD image on the TV will start to look very similar to the clean crisp image on your phone.
It's an optical illusion really. A little trick that your brain and eyes like to play on you. As you step further away from the Larger TV, you are reducing the size of the screen in relation to the entire image your eye is detecting. The TV still holds 1920x1080 pixels, but since the image is further away, the pixels are smaller compared to your wider field of view. You don’t notice the pixel edges, because they are smaller in relation to the rest of the details your eyes are focusing on.
So does this mean we should all move our couches back a few feet? Sure. If you have the room and don’t mind squinting at a tiny image. Enter, 4K TV's.
To reverse this trick, a 4K TV packs four pixels into the same space that 1080 can fit one pixel. This means you can get closer to the image on a bigscreen without seeing the pixel edges. They do this by using smaller pixels to fit more into the same space.
If you think of a pixel as a detail, 4K means you're fitting four details in the same space you previously could only fit one. As a screen gets larger, it takes more pixels to generate the same level of detail in an image.
It’s really quite simple.
Now, on to the Tech. You will need the following to get the most out of your 4K:
4K Monitor or TV
4K Media Player or 4K Computer
4K Capable Cables
That doesn’t look like much, right? Well, stay tuned as we delve deeper into these other topics for the best ways to optimize your 4K ventures.
If you are interested in capturing the best UHD content for your theatrical, broadcast or web projects, Walkingstick Presentations can make it happen. Film industry insiders have long believed that in order to get good HD, you have to shoot in 2K or better and downscale to 1080. Well that is also true with UHD. Our equipment shoots in up to 6K, giving us ample room to ensure your 4K content is better than the rest.
Please don’t hesitate to call Parker at 435-512-1711 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what Walkingstick Presentations can do for you.
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