Adobe Premiere Pro CC - Essentials Training

What is HD vs 4k in Premiere Pro

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi everyone, it is time to talk about the difference between HD and 4K. I apologize in advance, this is going to be nerdy and confusing until the end, and hopefully it will be a revelation. 

So when we are shooting things we shoot things on our cameras. More often than not, at the moment, we are shooting in something called HD, High Definition. Now the cool thing about all of these terms, is that there are different words for the same thing. Some people call it HD, technically it's still, it's meant to be called Full HD, FHD, but most people just call it HD. What they mean is, it's the height by the width. So it is a width of 1920 pixels by 1080 high. Just pixels wide. You've heard the term 1080p, maybe. They just mean the width, sorry, the height. Nobody-- often people don't refer to the width of it. They won't refer to it as 1920, they'd probably say, hey I'm shooting 'ten eighty'. If you want to impress people you got to call it 'ten eighty'. One thousand and eighty, people will know you're new, so say 'ten eighty.' 

So that's what's really common. Now the next jump up is a huge jump in terms of quality. The term that gets used is 4K. 4K gets used all the time, wrongly. Think of it more as a generic term at the moment. When somebody says I've got a 4K television, they probably mean they've got a UHD TV. I know, I know, but we need to know about these technical details, because if you're asked to make a video that's 4K, you need to be very clear, like does it need to be 4K, or do you mean UHD. The only difference is, one is slightly wider. 

So this one here, 3840 is the normal high resolution. 4K generally, with this extra wide bit, normally gets used for cinema, not always, but normally when somebody says 4K they mean this one called UHD. That's why you see lots of things, see this television here, this little ad, "I'm a 4K television," but really, underneath they whisper, "I'm actually Ultra HD." So you can go in looking at TVs now and go, "Oh yeah, it's 4K," and know that they probably mean Ultra HD, and they probably mean this size, not that size. 

ST, Standard Definition, that's what televisions were when I was growing up, and then we got HD, which was super fancy, and then that got left behind by UHD or 4K, and depending on where you're watching this, 8K is something that comes out, you can get 6K which is halfway between these two here, and the resolution just gets really big. So that's some of the terms. Pop quiz, UHD is slightly smaller than 4K, but when people talk about 4K they generally mean, Ultra High Definition, UHD. Let's talk about some of the other things you need to be concerned about. 

Next thing we're going to talk about is, should I be recording in 4K, and editing in 4K, and then sending out my files in 4K. Now I'm going to use the word 4K in its general terms, I mean UHD, because nobody calls it that, so I'm just going to call it 4K from now, is that okay? Just to confuse things, get you ready for the real world. So should I be shooting everything in 4k? Yes and no. I flip and flop at the moment, if you're watching this in the future, 4K might be the standard, and 8K might be the decision where they go up to, but at the moment 4K has pros and cons. If you are going out to cinema you're going to be asked to do proper 4K, and if you're going to do television or doing commercials, they're probably going to want 4K. 

So you're going to need to be able to shoot from cameras shooting 4K. Lots of cameras at the moment don't, just don't go up that high. It's becoming more and more common. My camera that I shoot from in my studio here, my Rebel7, does not shoot 4K, it's too old, not fancy enough, and it's not even really a video camera, it's more of a DSLR that I used to shoot video on, very common to do. So I could say, actually I can't shoot 4K because I physically can't. Cellphones though, most of them at the moment can shoot 4K. Great, so you're gathering in the data, that's your decision to make at the beginning. It is the end product, does it have to be 4K, because then there's no decision to be made. 

The decision you might have to make is, I'm doing this for say social media, maybe YouTube, Facebook, or for our website, should I be shooting in 4K and editing in 4K? Pros and cons; cons are that the size, can you see the size, that's HD, it is double, not even double the size, it's four times the size. Can you see, see this green box here, it fits not just twice the size, it's twice as wide, but actually is another high. So you can kind of see, I can fit how many of these, one, two, three, four. I could put four full HDs inside of my UHD, and that is super stressful on your computer. 

If you're finding this course hard, I've shot everything in this course, I've got all the video ready for you in full HD, because it's quite common now, and because the file size is quite small, and because Premiere Pro won't have a seizure and die. Full HD might make it. So you've got to decide whether you have the hardware capabilities, and if you're prepared to do it, and everything's going to run a bit slower, and everything's going to be a bit harder. At the end of that, is the end result worth it? 

So we've discussed, sometimes 4K or UHD have to be done, because it's the technical requirement for the project you're working on, but let's say we're going out to, say YouTube, you run a YouTube channel, and it's going out here. So I'm looking at-- you can follow this one, it's an 8K New Zealand Ascending. They've got some-- these guys here, Timestorm films got some really cool high quality 8K footage. Now when I started this up it defaulted to HD. You can kind of see this little cog down here, because it knows my internet connection has no business going up to these higher ones. So it said, because there's no generic terms, that's the general term for HD, is 1080p, that's the height, you can have a smaller, 720, or 1440. Now these are HD just because YouTube doesn't know what else to call them. 

So you go from this one, jumping up to 4K, which is the height, 2160, and then all the way up to 8K, 4320, is massive. Now me as a user, I'm only going to see this, because that's why my computer and my internet connection decided. If you're watching-- even if I-- so let's say I go up to at 4K, and have a watch, it's going to run a bit slower, burn through my data, but it's going to look slightly better. It's going to look pretty good on my screen. 

Now the cool thing about this is that I'd have-- it's beautiful work, with beautiful scenery that actually deserves a bit of 4K. Dan's how-to videos, with me talking, I'm not sure deserve 4K, and all the extra hassle that comes along with processing it. You have a watch of this video and have a little look through. The thing is, if I go up to 8K, it's not going to look any different from 4K, because I'm watching it on a screen that's in front of me right now, that's a 4K monitor. It can't show 8K, so even though this is awesome, my 4K monitor can't show it. So I would never work in 8K myself at the moment, ever, because the standard kind of monitors out there that are going out, you know, laptop screens, are no bigger than 4K, so great, that's my ceiling, and I've also decided, as a personal thing that it's not worth the hassle to go to 4K at the moment, for buying a new camera, for the editing to be four times as hard, the computer to be four times as slow, to get a slightly better, well, you know, I say slightly better picture of myself talking in front of you. So make that decision for yourself whether you want to be working 4K. 

The other thing to note is that if you're going out, and most of your stuff's going to be viewed through a cell phone, even the newest iPhone at the moment, at the moment is 2.7K, so it's somewhere between HD and here. Can't actually show 4K. So doesn't really matter if they want-- if they can click the button that says show me 4K, they're only getting half of that, because cellphone screens are just not complex enough. So that's the argument between HD and 4K. Let's look at some 4K footage just as an example. 

In your footage folder you should already have it, it's called Clouds UHD. We're looking for the one, it's called Anwaroptin, that one there. You kind of see there, look, there is HD versus UHD, and you can see there, the size. Remember, you can just hover above it, and it should tell you it's 2160, and it is four times the size as the one just above it here, the HD. So nothing changes, you can right click it, and say, 'Make Sequence from Clip', and it's going to match it. We're going to rename this one. So where is our sequence? There it is there. I'm going to call this one 'Mountains 4K UHD', just to get used to the two terms. Cool, we've got our footage in here. Now let's play it back. I'm going to go full screen-- full playback, and it's playing just fine on my screen. You might find yours is a little tough, so I'll lower it down. 

Now I talk about editing in-- you know, 4K is quite tough, you can use things like proxies to make things run a bit faster. It's out of the scope of the Essentials course, we'll cover it in the Advanced Course, but it's still going to make rendering, and importing, and creation of proxies a lot harder to work with, with 4K. I'm not sure why I'm ahead on 4K so much, because I want to show you, you'd probably be watching this video in 4k, and you're like, "Hey, his Essential course is in 4K," it's mainly so that I record on the screen at 4K, so that you can zoom in and out of all this kind of like, watch this. Jason, the editor will zoom to my mouse over here. Ah, look how nice it looks, so zoomed in, same way down here. You can see that it zooms in really nicely. 

The nice thing about what I do when I record 4K is that it's not live action, it's not my talking head stuff, is just the screen capture, which is actually quite low in terms of, it's just, there's not a lot of colors, not a lot of movement. So the file sizes are smaller, so that the computer runs reasonably fast when it's editing it. Now this is a bit of a waffly rant kind of video, because it is a bit of a waffly, my opinionated topic to talk about, because in the future, in a few years from now nobody's ever going to be talking about, should we be doing HD or 4K, it's just going to be super simple, but at the moment it is a bit of a, 'Should I, shouldn't I,' pros and cons kind of talk to have. 

All right, last little parting shot, is when you are downloading footage, say from free stock footage, or any stock footage, let's say, can you see this one here, it says HD. So I know what kind of size it is, it's going to be, the height of it is going to be 1080, and this 4K one is, we're not sure. I've told you that 4K sometimes means 4K and sometimes means UHD, let's have a little look. So in this one here we can go for free download. You can see, we've got standard definition. The smaller one, we've got this one here, which is 1080, which is our normal Full HD. There's an in-between size here, and then this one. 2160 is the height, and 3840 makes it UHD, not 4K, does that make sense? 

Let's have a little look back at this one. You can see, they're the same height, 2160, and this one here, UHD is, that's slightly smaller, 3840. So that's it, we're going to do some practical application of it now. So next time you walk into, like a department store, and they're selling TVs, you can get all nerdy in there with the guy trying to sell it to you, about 4K, UHD, and 1080, and FHD, and, or you're going to forget this straight after this video, because you're like, "I do not care about any of that, Dan," and I wouldn't blame. Let's get into the next video where I'll be a bit more concise, and we'll do some practical applications.