Reason to film in 4k

SadOldGoth Posts: 8 Just Starting Out*

Hi All,

I'm coming to the end of filming a project for a drama course and I’ve shot everything in 4K on my Galaxy S20 Ultra. As I’ve been going along I’ve been editing shots and scenes, and have kept my composites and outputs at 4K.

However, I’m wondering if that’s the best approach and am questioning whether people film at 4K so they have greater resolution on output, ie, a native 4K, or whether it’s so they can reduce the resolution of the composites and outputs, eg, a 4K shot on a 1080 canvas, and make use of having more shot space to play with, eg, being able to zoom into a shot without losing quality, being able to add pan in post shooting, removing scene artefacts, etc?

I appreciate the answer is probably “It depends” but in terms of the latter approach above, is that a reasonable way of looking at it?

Thanks in advance,



  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,154 Expert

    @SadOldGoth FWIW, the extra latitude with shots is the only reason I would ever consider getting a 4K camera myself. My phone does shot a slight larger picture frame and that gave me a bump that I enjoyed on a project, but as far as a must-have quality or die thing...not so much for me. Totally my opinion with nothing but preference to base it on though.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,237 Ambassador

    As you said, "it depends."

    I merely note MCU and Star Wars movies have VFX rendered at, and final mastering done at 2k. Any 4k versions of those films you see are upsampled.

    The push for higher resolution is largely marketing speak as a way to sell newer gear (HDR is a much more important video advancement than slapping more pixels into the matrix). But, the marketing has worked, and there are now many persons demanding 3k and/or 60fps. (Does, for example, an FXHOME tutorial mostly showing a Hitfilm interface truly benefit from 4k, 60fps? Gosh, that mouse cursor is silky smoith!)

    However, besides the advantages in reframing in post, the other advantage of high res source footage is getting an apparent boost in sharpness and reduction in noise from downsampling.

    If one chooses to master in 4k and/or 60fps, that's all good - and there are people to whom that makes a difference, but, if one chooses to output 2k footage, that's still an acceptable "professional" standard.

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,554 Ambassador

    A per the aforementioned comments - I shoot in 4K but output to 1080p. Advantages are as said- able to reframe, zoom in and out, etc without any appreciable loss when viewed at 1080.

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 924 Enthusiast

    I have yet to have a need for 4K, and I'm shooting in either 6K or 8K... the best use I've found for 8K has been extracting 36 megapixel raw images for fine art. Other than that, it's overkill.

    The biggest advantages that both of my cameras have isn't their resolution, it's their color rendition and dynamic range.

    Fortunately, I don't get hired for my cameras, I get hired for the quality of my work, so I don't need to lie to potential clients about the benefits of my cameras. I just show them what I've shot. :)