4k Video: The Ultimate Guide to What It is and How to Edit It

Are you a photographer, videographer, or have an interest in a photo or video shooting career? If yes, understanding different types of resolutions is one of the basic bits of knowledge you must possess. Screen resolutions differ by the number of pixels that creates the image. Notable screen resolutions in the industry include the 4k video and the 1080p. Both types have their pros and cons, which identify which occasion to use 4k or 1080p.

What is 4k?

The term 4k refers to a lens resolution specification which simply means 4000. It is coined from the approximately 4 000 pixels of width camera footage. In videography and photography, pixels refer to the smallest points of light that create an image on the screen.

The Dalsa Origin is considered the first 4k camera designed for cinematographic purposes in 2003. However, it wasn't until the second decade of the 21st century that the 4k resolution came into more evident use. By design, several 4k resolutions exist and are used in digital cinematography and digital television. The most dominant size is the 3840 X 2160 (4k UDH) in TV and consumer media.

In movie projections, the 4096 X 2160 (DCI 4k) is the most typical 4k resolution. An image is said to be clearer if the number of pixels is high. That means the resolutions will be high. Thus, since its development, the 4k video is more commonly used than 1080p. Resolution calculations are done by considering the pixels by width and height. Photographers and videographers are expected to benefit more as the 4k video technology grows.

Among the popular 4k-Video resolutions in industry and consumer, media include 3840 x 2160p. These cameras have 3840 pixels across and 2160 pixels running vertically. The resolution's aspect ratio is 16.9, and a total of 8 294 400 pixels. By comparison, it is double the vertical and horizontal resolution of the 1080p. The 1080 HD has a 1920p horizontally and 1080p vertically. Another 4k resolution is the 4096 x 2160p which is commonly used in digital cinema production. It also has an aspect ratio of 19:10.

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4k video pros

  1. Clarity: If you have interests in photography and videography, clarity is one of the principal factors in determining which lens to buy. The 4k technology is one of the best ways to achieve clarity and quality in your images. While only a few cameras offer 4k imaging, the resolution results in incredibly sharp images. The 4k screens have four times as many details as the 1080p screen. The 4k screen keeps the lines defined and its colors stay bright. Thus, the images appear bold and more detailed. That means, the difference between the 4k and 1080p screens is visible.
  2. Better Display than HD models: The 4TVs are also considered better to display HD content than the HD models. It is a characteristic attached to 4k's inclusion of new technological advancements such as HDR. In this, the 4k increases the pixels while the HDR technology improves the overall image quality. Such images will possess a greater color contrast which boosts the clarity of the images.

4k video cons

Some of the disadvantages attached to 4k videos include:

  • For photographers and videographers, the use of the 4k resolution may need a partial or whole upgrade of the production system. Such changes will include upgrading memory cards, hard drives, lenses, displays, and computers to make the system compatible with the 4k videos. Not only the producers, but even consumers will also need an upgrade of their home TV and screen systems. These changes will cost finances which might be challenging.
  • In addition, many people have no know-how about the 4k video development. It is for this reason that the 4k technology is slowly adopted in movie and photograph shooting. Many potential users prefer to maintain their less developed systems instead of incurring costs making changes.
  • In addition, it is worth noting the high cost of memory cards and hard drives.
  • It is also notable that sharing these files can be challenging due to their size. For this reason, many consider changing the files to relatively smaller HD files. However, despite the conversion to HD, you still need to save the 4k resolutions for future use.

HDR vs. 4k

HDR screens are different from 4k screens. HDR is the initial for High Dynamic Range. It is the color and contrast range between the darkest and lightest tones in a picture. Some of the differences are as follows;

  • Compared to the 4k images, HDR produces images with higher contrast, that is, a larger color and brightness. That makes the HDR more impactful visually. For this reason, broadcasters prefer the use of HDR to 4k videos.
  • The use of the HDR also needs end-to-end compatibility while 4k videos call for 4k-compatible gadgets from the source to the display.
  • The available content for HDR is also limited compared to 4k.

When to use 4k video vs. 1080p

Photographers and videographers need to produce still and clear images. While the 1080p resolution gives quality images, quality enhancement can be achieved through the 4k technology. The challenge with current cameras is that they let you use the playback mode or the shutter button to extract frames from videos. The inclusion of the 4k photo mode makes it simple to extract frames from videos. A photographer manages to extract still images from a 4k video with added setting techniques. It is for this reason TV producers and movie makers will prefer 4k videos to 1080p.

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What to look for when choosing a 4k camera

When excited about a product, the chances of making a misinformed decision are also high. One needs to consider several factors related to the cost, sustenance, and effectiveness of the product of interest. Thus, if you are persuaded to install the 4k video technology, you need to consider the following factors:


One interesting fact about the 4k video is that it comes with added pixels. It is a change that calls for added space. Compared to 1080p, 4k is four times bigger. One gigabyte can only hold a one-minute video. Thus, the storage issue must be first attended to. In addition, a chance to keep up with all data needs a fast memory card that can work at a speed of 30mbs per second. High-speed memory cards are among the most recommendable investment. The hard drive must also be high-speed at least 7200rpm. The storage should be as abundant as possible. Among the most recommendable are the Solid State Drivers as they are significantly faster, unlike the spinning disk drives.

Choosing best cameras

Selecting a camera with a 4k resolution is one of the challenging tasks you will tackle. These cameras exist in a variety of brands which makes selecting the best a challenge. Customer testimonials are among the best practices for identifying the best.

When to upscale a 1080p video to 4k

Installing a 4k display does not guarantee quality imaging as most TV shows and movies are in the 1080p format. That means the 4k display will not change anything other than the image size. For quality view, one needs to convert 1080p to 4k videos in a process called upconverting or upscaling. The process converts incoming sources so that they may fit the 4k screens. The practice will allow an image meant for a small screen to fit a display with more pixels.

When to downscale a 4k video to 1080p

Content with higher resolution will not fit in displays with a fewer number of pixels. For this reason, the screen users with a lower resolution must consider downsizing the videos of high resolution to fit them on their screens. In comparison, video converting is said to give better results when it is downscaling rather than upscaling. However, movies and TV shows produced in 4k and later downscaled to 1080p have better visibility than ones natively shot using the 1080p.

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Tips for uploading a 4k video to YouTube

You might be asking, is it possible to upload 4k videos on YouTube? The answer is yes. YouTube allows users to upload videos in all standard resolutions. While all frame rates are acceptable, among the most typical include the 24, 25, 30, and 60fps frame rates. The larger the frame rate, the longer it will take to upload a 4k video to YouTube. To upload a 4k video, all you need is to upload a video file to YouTube. No extra requirements are needed. If your 4k cannot upload to YouTube, you need to check on the strength of your computer configuration. One way to address the issue is to update your computer graphic cards.

Tips for uploading a 4k video to Vimeo

Vimeo is easy to use and an excellent platform to upload your 4k videos. Some of the platform's unique characteristics include:

  • Vimeo has plenty of storage choices which means you do not have to worry about running out of space.
  • It also allows you to upload your 4k videos from anywhere including computers, mobile devices, or any preferred cloud storage,
  • Unlike YouTube, your videos on Vimeo will not be integrated with ads. Thus, the audience is not interrupted while watching.

Thus, it is an excellent platform for uploading your 4k videos. Similar to YouTube, if you experience delays in uploading the videos, consider boosting your computer configuration.

What you need to edit 4k videos

Among the basic requirements to edit 4k videos include high processing power. Unlike the 1080p, the 4k also needs a lot of processing power to facilitate fast editing of the footage. Users must consider computers' high processor speed. The processing power is dependent on the installed RAM, graphic cards, and the capacity and type of the hard drive. This is one area in which one can tell the difference between the 1080p and the 4k. For example, the computer chosen for the 4k must have a high-end quad-core, a 16GB+ RAM, and the NVIDIA 600-Series or AMD R5-series or higher. On the other hand, the 1080p needs a Quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, and a dedicated GPU. The minimum requirement for the hard drive is 1 TB+ 7200rpm or more for the 4k resolution. On the other hand, the 1080p needs a 260GB+ hard drive. The goal is to minimize delays that result from an overwhelmed processor. The best way to increase processor speed is through increased storage.

Video editing also needs specialized video editing software. Several software exists that help with editing 4k images and videos. Experts recommend full-featured for editing purposes. A special consideration when choosing an editing software is that videos and images will be different as the cameras are different. That means the interaction between software and an image or video will be different. Thus, research is necessary for the selection of software that works best.

For easy-to-use 4k video editing software, consider VideoStudio. On the website are a variety of options to consider which boost your editing capacity.


The 4k-Video technology is one of the most advanced methods of enhancing video and image clarity. The 4k video has much more pixels than the 1080p which is a close rival. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution. The 4k technology gives viewers a real-life experience, creating a connection between the viewer and the content created.

When preparing for the 4k, you need to consider the size of the storage, the computer's processing power, and the video editing requirements. With these factors checked, you can consider going the 4k video way. Thus, if you're yet to shift to 4k video standards from 1080p and lesser technologies, it is time to make the grand move.

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