Video resolution definitions
If you’re in the market for a new video camera, or even a new TV, we’ve put together the following guide to help explain the various video resolution definitions that are referred to in product marketing and review websites.
High-definition video (HD Video) refers to videos of higher quality and resolution than standard-definition video. This involves display resolutions of 1,920 x 1080 pixels for 1080p HD Video.
Full high-definition video (Full HD video) refers to videos of an even higher quality and resolution than HD video. This involves a display resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels for 1080p Full HD Video.
4K/4K ULTRA HD
4K resolution falls under Ultra High Definition (UHD), a term that encompasses better resolution, color, and frame rates than HD. 4K resolution describes display devices or content having horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels.
More specifically, 4K resolution can be broken down into True 4K and 4K UHD. True 4K (4K x 2K) has a resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels. 4K UHD must have a minimum resolution of 3,840 pixels wide and 2,160 pixels high, making a 4K UHD screen the equivalent of two 1080p screens in height and two in length.
Several 4K resolutions exist in the fields of digital television and digital cinematography. In the movie projection industry, Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) is the dominant 4K standard. 4K UHD is more commonly being used in a home context for TV screens and is also becoming the standard for many premium smartphones and cameras. On the other hand, True 4K is often used by some projectors and many professional cameras.
With the arrival of 4K, there are four main resolution standards for consumer use: standard definition (480p/540p), high definition (720p), full high definition (1080p) and ultra-high definition (2160p).
The simple answer
As a guide and to try and keep things simple, if you are looking to solely post your videos on YouTube and social media, then a camera or video camera that can shoot full high definition (1080p) will be fine for your requirements. Most footage shared on social media is consumed on mobile devices, so you need to keep your file sizes as small as possible. (The higher the resolution, the larger the file size). There is some merit in shooting at 4K to capture more detail and then downscaling to 1080p, but for most this is a technical step to far for achieving negligible gains.
If file size is not an issue and you intend broadcasting on a 4K screen at a show, event or you may just want to future proof your footage, then consider investing in a video camera that shoots 4K, not forgetting an very powerful computer to edit all that super high resolution 4K footage!
4K is undoubtedly the future of video and broadcast media, but until everyone has access to super-fast broadband and/or a reliable 5G mobile network, shooting and posting your footage online at 1080p is realistically where it’s at for some time to come.