4K or ultra-high definition video is the latest improvement to video quality. You may already be familiar with 4K from watching some of the new televisions. Its definition, video quality, and color spectrum are vastly superior to any other format.
Earlier high definition formats ranged from 720p to 1080i with 720p being the most common on sites like YouTube. In the earlier days high definition video had to be interlaced, which is what the “i” in 1080i means. When interlacing, half of each frame would be drawn, every other line at a time, then before its image fades away a second scan would draw the remaining lines. Think of it like the television screen being a series of 800 horizontal lines where lines 1,3,5,7,9…. are drawn first and then it goes back and draws lines 2,4,6,8,10…. and so on. This two-step method of drawing the screen would often result in noticeable flicker or a perceived motion. Later, non-interlaced formats were introduced which remedied this problem. The ‘p’ suffix on 720p and 1080p denotes that these formats are “progressive” (every line drawn sequentially), not interlaced. This makes them appear clearer to the human eye with less chance of flicker.
Here at La Paz Drone we have the ability to record still photographs and full video with our drone at various resolutions right up to 4K ultra-high definition and our hand held camera records at up to 1080p. We select the resolution appropriate to each job. Why, you ask, do we not just film everything at the highest resolution?
One effect of higher resolutions is the greater amount of pixels stored allow you to zoom in without noticeable loss of detail. Sometimes this is an advantage. However the downside to this, is that photos and videos take up much more storage space and are slower to upload and download. So sometimes it can be undesirable especially in an online world. This is why YouTube is only now starting to support 4K videos.
The following graphic illustrates the relative size of each format. As you can imagine, stretching a 720p video to fill a large screen is going to result in lower quality compared to a 4K video on the same screen, although both are considered high definition (HD) in comparison to DVD quality. On smaller screens like those used by mobile devices, 720p can be quite adequate and the difference in resolution hardly noticeable.
We hope this brief introduction to video formats allows you to understand why we choose the formats we do when producing our videos.