What resolution should you shoot your videos at? 4k vs Full HD

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One of the common questions I get from my students is – What resolution should I set on my camera when I shoot videos?

Before answering this question, let’s first understand what resolution means.

Resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up the images that when played together form the video.

So basically resolution is the number of pixels that you are seeing when you are seeing a video.

Currently, there are three main types of resolutions that are used:

HD (high definition) – Also referred to as 720p  (1,280 x 720 pixels – approximately 1 million total pixels)

Full HD – Also referred to as 1080p  (1920 x 1080 pixels – approximately 2 million total pixels)

4k – 3840 x 2160 pixels (Approximately 8 million total pixels)

The more the number of pixels, the better the details of whatever is being shown in the video. This is the reason why 4k videos are on fire these days.

The amount of detail and sharpness is much better than even Full HD since there are 4 times the number of pixels in 4k as compared to Full HD.

But does that mean you should always shoot in 4k?

Not really.

Whether you want to shoot in 4k will depend on the following factors:

1. Where will the video be watched? If your video is meant to be watched on big screens/tv sets, then 4k will definitely stand out. On smaller screens, the pixels are so crammed up that it won’t really make that much of a difference whether you are watching a 4k or a Full HD video.

2. Does your camera have 4k? Currently, only the very high end cameras are offering the capability to shoot in 4k.

3. Do you have a high end computer and editing software? Editing 4k videos takes a massive toll on your computer since it has to process very large files. To edit 4k videos smoothly, you need a high end PC.

4. Do you intend to crop your videos? Cropping videos is a common practice and if you find yourself doing that often, then 4k is better because you have more pixels so cropping won’t affect the video quality that much.

5. Do you have higher capacity memory cards? Shooting a 4k video eats up a lot of space on your memory card.

To conclude, it can be said that there is no doubt that 4k is the future. But when you are starting out, it’s better to stick to the Full HD resolution because it will make everything easier for you.

Once you understand the process of making videos from shooting to editing, that is the time you should start to go into shooting at 4k.

If you want to learn how to make videos using your DSLR or Mirrorless camera, then do check out our Videography for Beginners course that consists of 35 videos that teach you the art of making videos even if you have no prior knowledge.

I hope this tip helped you.

About the Author

portrait photographer for portfolio shoot in pune

Hi there, I'm Kush Sharma, the founder of Creative Pad Media, an organization dedicated to simplifying photography and videography education.

We have over 40 online courses that cover various genres in photography & videography, catering to both beginners as well as professionals. These courses are available via Udemy.com. Our courses have been downloaded in over 170 countries.

I hope to see you inside a course very soon!

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