For the last few years, we have seen many discussions over 8k. Some say 8k is the future, while others think we really don’t need 8k. However, many smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S20 and 21, and digital cameras like Canon R5 and Sony a1, came with 8k video recording ability and paced up the 8k revolution. Though It is still not widely used in the industry, 8k surely has some advantages and big prospects in the future. Besides, 8k also involves some complications too. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and caveats of 8k videos and whether you really need to shoot in 8k.
Before discussing the benefits of 8k, let’s first discuss the industry standard for videos now. 4k has already revolutionized the industry. No matter whether you are doing commercials or content for your YouTube channel, 4k videos are everywhere. Furthermore, the client demands 4k videos even if they don’t need them. So whatever the reason for your shooting and whatever you want to do in post-production, your final video output should be high-quality 4k.
Now, if you shoot in 8k, there are certain benefits that you will get in post-production. For example, say you have shot your video in horizontal mode, and now you have to change it in vertical mode. You need a lot more pixels in post-production to do so. And if you have shot your videos in 4k, you might need to sacrifice the quality in doing so. However, if you shoot in 8k, you can maintain the final high-quality 4k output even if you apply significant cropping or zooming on your videos.
Another case is whip panning, which is a popular effect in today’s videos, particularly in filmmaking. 8k videos let you perform in-frame distortion-free whip panning while maintaining 4k resolution.
Apart from that, you might need to stabilize your footage. And if your footage is too shaky, you might need to do a vigorous crop. However, with 8k videos, your stabilized 4k footage just looks the same as if it were shot on a gimbal in the first place.
Large Screens and Future Trends
Another field where 8k has real demand is when you want to display your footage on a large screen. Larger screens need more megapixels to produce sharper-looking footage. If you shoot your videos in low resolution and watch them on a large multimedia display, they would look pixelated and low quality. So large screens are the most practical aspects where 8K technology is really needed. And if you have ever been to a place where larger screens display 8k videos, only then can you truly measure the high quality of 8k footage.
In addition to that, the video trends for content creation and filmmaking are changing over time. So cinematographers need to capture videos so that the video quality remains high for a long time. And if you are observing the trends, you might have noticed that the 8k is getting into the industry gradually. Canon already has R5 with 8k, and the R5c might also feature 8k without any heating issue. Atomos Recorder has released an external recorder for 8k too. Sony, with its a1, is also ahead in the 8k race. So many will also follow ultimately, sooner or later. Moreover, the oversampling from 8k to 4k also delivers you sharper and more detailed footage.
So it is always safer to shoot in the most up-to-date video resolution for content with big budgets that will stay in the market for a long time.
Downsides of 8k
Though there are many bright sides to shooting in 8k, it has some disadvantages too. First, it will increase the production cost. The file size of 8k videos is huge. So they will need more memory space. But then, cameras that can shoot 8k are expensive. Even if you manage to shoot and store the video on a suitable memory card, you will still need a high-end computer to edit the 8k footage. Additionally, it will take more time to render 8k footage after finishing editing.
And after all the efforts, you won’t find many places to play your 8k content because the concept of 8k is still relatively new. Manufacturers just started to make their monitors and TVs compatible with 8k videos. Even YouTube has just started to roll out support for 8k contention their platform. 8k might become a widely used video format in the future. For now, it has very few usability in practical life.
So all the discussion so far boils down to a single significant point. Do you really need it? Well, it really depends on what you are up to. If you are making casual videos of your friends and family, 8k might be overkilling in that case. 4k might be more than enough for all the casual shooters out there. It is because, in most cases, you might not be able to see the difference, just like you can barely notice the difference between 2k and 4k footage. So the extra hassle associated with the 8k footage simply doesn’t worth it. However, if you are a professional shooter and know beforehand that you have to go through heavy post-production work, it is always better to shoot in 8k.