Having 4K and even 8K resolutions at our disposal has been amazing. Using bigger resolutions has always been seen as a huge benefit and making sure your camera is shooting at least 4K has become the current standard. Now there is a push to get even greater frame rates and even more resolution options. But do you actually need it?
Henry Media Group wants to make the argument that there are plenty of reasons to still shoot in Full HD, even with a modern mirrorless like the Sony a7 IV. It sounds like it goes against all conventional wisdom of best practices, but it actually makes sense.
1. Image Quality
Sounds contradictory to pick 1080p for image quality when 4K is an option, but it actually makes sense. The image quality concern here is actually getting a more natural softening of the image.
4K is nice with all the detail, however you sometimes don’t want too much detail. Many shooters use filters to soften up the image. Shooting in Full HD achieves a similar effect. This slightly soft, but natural-looking picture is more film-like.
You still might want to add a Black Mist Filter too.
2. Space Savings
One obvious benefit is that the file sizes are much, much smaller. You can record for at least twice as long on the same media. And since you are likely coming home with a lot less space used in general you will be saving on the hard drive front.
The smaller sizes will benefit in terms of recording media as well since you won’t need to get the most expensive cards to make sure you can record in all the different modes. Full HD is easier on all storage.
3. Editing Speed
The smaller file sizes and resolutions do help when you get into post. Processing requirements are much lower since the resolution is one quarter that of 4K.
If your computer is struggling with the 4K footage then shooting in Full HD might make more sense. Plus, if you are doing a lot of special effects work then lower resolution will definitely help speed up everything.
4. No Crop in High Frame Rates
A quirk of many modern cameras is that when you start pushing the frame rates higher and higher they end up needing to crop in on the sensor. 4K on the a7 IV does a slight crop. In Full HD there is no crop for faster frame rates.
This is still a personal preference. I would still keep shooting in 4K, personally, and use filters or editing to get a softer look if I needed it.
Making sure your profile settings are tuned is another way to go about this since often you can turn down things like sharpness and detail. It still does look great if you are just going to YouTube, so maybe the extra resolution of 4K is unneeded for most projects and we are just wasting space.
[source: Henry Media Group]
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