Gizmodo Photo Guide: Why You Need 4K Video, And How To Shoot It

Thinking of buying a new digital camera? If you get the right one, you'll be able to do more than just take photos -- you can open up a whole new world of incredibly high-resolution 4K video recording. Shooting 4K Ultra HD video can get you some incredibly detailed footage that'll look great whatever you're filming.

Gizmodo’s Guide to Better Photography is brought to you by the Sony Mirrorless Alpha Range. Photography has evolved, and Sony mirrorless cameras have made the DSLR obsolete. Find out which Mirrorless camera is right for you.

What Does 4K Video Mean, And Why Is It Good?

4K, also known as Ultra HD, is a video resolution standard that's four times more detailed than the Full HD or 1080p you might already have heard of. With 3840 pixels horizontally and 2160 pixels vertically in each frame of video, and at least 24 or 25 video frames per second that's a lot of detail. When you're viewing it on a 4K-capable television, you'll see every one of those pixels true to life, so your video will be perfectly displayed and will look exactly as you recorded it.

4K video is the next generation of television and computer monitor displays, and more and more are being sold every day. By the end of this year, it's likely that half of all TVs sold in Australia will have a native 4K screen resolution. If you're planning to record video and play it back on your TV, then, it makes sense to pick up a 4K camera to future-proof yourself for the next couple of years. 4K video also looks great on 1080p or lower resolution screens, too -- it's just the best available option that you can get today.

4K also supports higher frame rate playback than the 1080p standard. It's not uncommon to find a 4K Ultra HD TV that displays and 4K video cameras that record at 60 frames per second, which means motion looks incredibly smooth and there's none of the flickery video playback that cinematic movies show. You can, of course, set a good 4K-recording camera to that 24 frames per second cinematic standard if you like that kind of look to your homemade films.

Once You Have A 4K Camera, What Should You Do With It?

Picking the right camera is the most important part of your. Ideally, you want a new camera with 4K video recording, and as large an imaging sensor as possible -- and at the moment, full-frame sensors offer the best compromise between low-light capability and overall image detail. If you're going to be shooting a lot of video, a mirrorless camera is the smartest choice because there's no mechanical components in between the lens and the sensor to potentially fail at an inopportune time.

When you're filming video, it's a good idea to understand and use all of the features of the camera you've bought when they're available. An automatic fade-in and fade-out setting can be found on most cameras that makes even short clips look fancy, and be sure to experiment with different video modes and exposure settings. Of course, if you want to get properly into the tech then you can buy some video editing software and get more into the nitty-gritty of colour grading, editing and adding in different post-processing visual efects.

If you intend to shoot a lot of video, it might pay off to invest in some accessories, like a tripod or external microphone, that'll add a professional quality to your films that extends further than just their excellent image quality. You can buy gear that's the same brand as your camera if you want to keep it all in-house, or you can find some excellent third-party alternatives if you take a look around your local specialist camera store. And, of course, buying new lenses opens up a world of video possibilities.

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