‘Stand still means going back’, is a famous Dutch saying. That’s what they also thought at YouTube when introducing the ability to upload videos with a resolution of 4K.
4K? What does that mean?
Back in the old days, pre-internet, the number of horizontal lines TV could handle was 576 (PAL in Europe) or 480 (US). Then HD came along. Because in the early beginning the technique to actually decode and thus view HD content was pretty expensive a king of ‘pre-HD’ was introduced. They called in HR-ready and it had 720 lines (there’s also a difference in ‘p’ from progressive and ‘i’ for interlace but that’s a bit too technical for this post). Then can ‘full-HD’ with a resolution of 1920×1908 (thus 1080 horizontal lines). Most TV’s in store right now can handle that resolution pretty well, and prices for these TVs have dropped significantly the last few years.
Today’s trend is all about 3D. We have 3D in cinemas and TV manufacturers are fighting a gladiator game to win the battle of bringing 3D into the living room. But there’s another interesting development, and that’s called 4K. What we mean with 4K is that it has 4 times the resolution of 1K (4×1=4 duh!), 1080 lines, indicating a resolution of 4096 x 3072. These are the babies that are used in IMAX theatres. Projectors however do not exist in commercially interesting prices, so in IMAX theatres the 4K is being projected using 2 2K projectors. Filming in native 4K requires some interesting gear. The RED camera is a good example. It all starts with the $17,500 RED ONE base system. From there you can add your choice of the $1,250 Basic or $2,750 Premium production packs. But don’t stop now, go ahead and throw down for a $1,650 RED ONE Power Pack featuring 2x RED BRICK 140Wh batteries and charger, a $1,950 RED Electronic Viewfinder, and the $1,700 5.6-inch LCD. Optics accessories include a $3,500 B4 lens adapter and both Canon and Nikkon 35mm photo mounts costing $500 each. There are also several RED branded media accessories for CF, SATA disk, and something called the “RED RAM 64GB” for $4,500.
As you can see, things add up pretty quickly. But still, compared to the quality you’re getting it still is a bargain. And no doubt these prices will drop pretty fast, too, putting it in the hands of many more independent filmmakers.
YouTube wants to provide their platform to showcase these footage. We were already able to upload and view up to 1080p (full-HD) and now there adding 4K as well. Their are not a lot of videos yet, but hopefully this will grow fast. Check out their 4K channel and their interesting blogpost on 4K.
Interesting developments. 4K in 3D, when?