The Photopia Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

October 31, By Photopia

Should I Publish in HD or 4K?

When you think about 4K video, you probably think about brilliant, incredibly sharp images that stop you in your tracks, almost as if you could reach out and touch them. 4K resolution displays images with higher quality and clarity than HD, but that doesn’t mean that every production should be rendered in 4K.

What is the difference between HD and 4K?

Monitors and TV screens display images in pixels, similar to individual dots of ink on a printed image. The more pixels that are packed into a screen, the clearer the image will appear. Screen resolution is represented in the number of horizontal pixels by the number of vertical pixels.

HD video includes both 1280×720p and 1920×1080p. (The “p” stands for progressive  vs. interlaced video)

4K video has a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, significantly higher than 1080p HD.


For most home televisions, 4K resolution is 3840×2160 pixels. Some 4K projectors are 4096×2160 pixels.


When should you publish in HD resolution?

Certain types of videos can look absolutely breathtaking in 4K. For other videos, 4K might be unnecessarily excessive.


The saying that more isn’t always better also applies to video resolution. Some projects are best suited for 4K vs HD video, but you have to weigh the benefits against the possible disadvantages. First, you’ll need a computer powerful enough to process footage in such a high resolution. 4K video files are huge. Manipulating files of that size can be a difficult task. If your computer is slow or out of date, it may not be able to handle such large file sizes, at least not efficiently.

If the images or videos that you are using in your show were originally captured at a lower resolution, increasing the final resolution to 4K won’t make them look any better.


Another thing to consider is how your audience will view your final show. If you plan to upload your show to social media or to a video platform such as YouTube or Vimeo, your audience may watch your video on their mobile device. Even the best mobile screens can’t display the full beauty of a 4K video. Additionally, the human eye usually can’t discern the difference between HD video and 4K on screen sizes so small.

Finally, if your show will be displayed on a standard 1920×1080 HD screen, publishing in 4K won’t matter, as it will be reduced to 1080p for playback on a 1080p screen.


In these cases HD will be perfectly fine for your needs.


When should you publish in 4K resolution?

There are situations when publishing in 4K is the best choice. If the images and video that go into your show were captured in high resolution, and you know that the final video will be displayed on a 4K screen, it’s best to produce your video at the same resolution as the display.


Publishing your show in 4K, when the original images were captured in high resolution and the show will be displayed on a 4K screen, will deliver an eye-popping, crystal clear image that your audience will rave about!


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