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Shoot in 4k and downsample or shoot in 1080p direct, which gives best quality?

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by herkam, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. herkam

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    Has anyone tested to shoot in 4k and downsample or shoot in 1080p direct, which gives best quality?

    Downsampling from a 4k using bicubic interpolation in the post processing should give you much clearer picture instead of just taking the pixels you need for 1080p. I doubt that they have the processor power to read 4k, downsample it and save it as 1080p in the camera with 60p or?

    Shooting in 4k and to be able to edit it without spending days of rendering is quite expensive but if the quality is improved it might be worth the effort.

    /hakan
     
  2. GB Phantom

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    Shooting in 4k and down scaling to 1080p will give you a sharper and better dynamic range with more detail all depending on how you do it in post.
     
  3. TonG

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    The needed specialized computing power for high quality downsampling is much higher in a computer than in the Phantom.
    It is the same with pictures. Downsampling in post is much better and it will give the opportunity to choose the best and appropriate method for it.
    Ton
     
  4. JayB

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    I've decided to go with the Advanced as from the research I have done

    Firstly unless you are viewing 4K on a large enough screen the difference is negligible, I think it was anything under 50".
    Secondly 4K obviously takes up a lot more processing power and I feared unless I upgraded my PC it would probably grind to a halt.
    Thirdly from what I have seen frame rate can have a bigger impact on video quality particularly if you want to slow it down.

    Cheers
    Jay
     
  5. Ezookiel

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    I have Premiere Pro, how would you downsample in that?
    I shoot in 4K for the better stills I can extract, but also like the idea of downscaling the videos to 1080 as I have little to no need for 4K
     
  6. GB Phantom

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    In Premiere pro you first create a new project using the final export settings you have in mind, for example Youtube 1080p 30fps then import all your 4k footage then render export to what you desire. But as stated you need an above average pc or mac i7 quad core or above and a decent graphics card that can handle cuda or openCL and at least 16gb of memory, plus fast storage ideally using a fast ssd drive's as your final export drive to keep up with all the other bits in your computer or it will just grind to a halt.
     
    #6 GB Phantom, Apr 13, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  7. Ezookiel

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    My i7 Surface Pro 3 has never had a problem exporting to full 4k, so it should export to 1080 ok, but I'm just running a test on it now. I've always exported to the same as the original, but I'm doing a trial export to Youtube 1080 HD to see how it goes. Says 40 minutes. That's about normal.
    I thought I might have to do something fancier to scale it down. I didn't realise it was as simple as choosing a different ratio when doing the final export.
    Thanks heaps for the info. I'm still learning my way around Premiere Pro and got a long way to go.

    EDIT: And I wrote and posted this while it was doing do the conversion. But the keyboard was a little slow to respond LOL
     
  8. GB Phantom

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    No problem, but just remember the whole point of the exercise is to achieve a great looking film so try NOT to use a high compression ratio when exporting, anything above 30mbps ideally 50mbps will do for youtube because you have to remember youtube compressors it even further.
     
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  9. Fyod

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    It won't necessarily stop, unless you overheat or your hardware is set up wrong, you'll probably just experience prolonged export times. A 3 minute video in 1080 with downscaling from 2.7 or 4K and some effects may take hours instead of <10 minutes.
    Get some really good cooling ready.
     
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  10. erikgraham

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    Its always going to result in a better image if you capture AND edit in 4K (if your hardware can handle it), and then export to 1080P at the end.
     
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  11. J.J.B.

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    +1 on the above. Your biggest problem with quality is going to be the hardware codec the camera uses to compress that data it receives from the sensor. The better the quality of what is captured to begin with, the better the end result. It's why professionals prefer to bypass the hardware codec of even high end cameras altogether and use field recorders (AJA/Atomos) to record directly from the sensor with a less 'lossy' codec.
     
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  12. 2nd2non

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    What are some simple/inexpensive software packages "easiest" to edit 4k footage? What are min PC hardware specs? I assume enough people are using it given the number of people with GoPro4's, etc.
     
  13. GB Phantom

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    You need to consider your whole post-production workflow to determine the minimum requirements for the work you're doing.

    To start off, you need to ask yourself some questions about your projects. What type of footage will you be editing: Gopro, inspire 1, ProRes, ect? How complex are your projects: single camera, multi-camera, animation, VFX? What are your output formats? How long do you have to deliver your edits? Finally, are you editing online or offline?

    Offline Editing, Nothing to Do With the Web
    Offline editing refers to editing a proxy of the original source footage; online editing is cutting the original material. If you don't have to deliver right away then you can edit offline. Offline editing can also be a good option if you're only delivering in HD.

    Where offline editing takes more time and storage space, it allows you ease in editing your footage. It can help a less powerful system run more smoothly. If you’re working with minimal 4K footage and your final edit isn’t that long, like a short promo or a music video, offline editing may be a good option for you.

    Digital footage formats vary from camera to camera. Recording format makes a huge difference in meeting what your editing system requires. If you're editing footage from 4K cameras like a like that on the go pro of inspire 1, then the demands aren’t much more than that of low compression HD because the bitrates are similar. However, if you're working with footage from RED cameras or Sony NEX-FS700, the raw 4K files have much higher bitrates requiring more storage and processing power. Editing raw 4K footage takes more horsepower and storage than compressed formats. Additionally, multi-camera edits, VFX, and tight deadlines typically require a much more powerful system.

    The Speed You Need
    We’ll break things down into two categories: offline editing (and limited online work) and online editing (a good entry level for multiple 4K streams, VFX and color grading at or near real-time). These specs are good for both PC and Mac since there isn’t much difference in the hardware.

    CPU: Processor

    Offline Editing: Intel Core i7 2.3GHz four-core
    Online Editing: Dual Intel Xeon 2GHz six-core

    Now that most editing software supports GPU rendering, CPU power is less important than it was in the past. Note: AMD processors are not listed because of the lack of support for PCIe 3.0 in most AMD motherboards, which hinders the performance of the latest GPUs. AMD processors can still be used but should be paired with a more powerful GPU.

    GPU: Video Card

    Offline Editing: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
    Online Editing: Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M

    Always check the compatibility of your editing software with your video card to ensure that GPU rendering and multiple GPUs are supported. A comparable, compatible AMD or NVIDIA GPU can also be used. The GeForce cards listed above are a baseline. While many GPUs have greater video rendering power than system CPUs and RAM, remember GPUs need enough power to drive your system display monitors in addition to rendering video.

    When monitoring in 4K, you can improve system performance by taking some of the workload off your GPU by using a RED ROCKET card, Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink 4K Extreme or Matrox’s Mojito 4K. It's important to note that with the developments of REDCINE-X PRO, you can now use GPU rendering instead of needing a Red Rocket card for accelerated transcoding of R3D footage.

    RAM – Memory

    Offline Editing: 8GB RAM
    Online Editing: 32GB RAM

    RAM is relatively cheap so don't skimp here. Remember, when you're running RAM intensive programs like Adobe’s Photoshop or After Effects concurrently with your editing software, your RAM needs may increase.

    Storage

    Offline Editing: dedicated 7200rpm hard drive or SSD for media
    Online Editing: dedicated 7200rpm hard drive or SSD for project files and a striped RAID array

    Your storage needs depend on how much source footage you expect to be working with. Generally, your media storage should be three to four times the size of the source footage of a project. For example, if you're editing offline on a laptop, a 3TB USB 3.0 drive might be sufficient, but if you're doing an online edit of a four-camera shoot in 4K raw, you might need a 12TB RAID.

    You want to ensure that any hard drive you use spins at 7200rpm or faster for a smooth data throughput. Additionally, by storing your media and project files on separate drives from your programs and operating system, you’ll see a boost in performance. Despite the recent hype about SSDs, not all SSDs are as fast as they claim to be. SSDs are a good replacement for boot drives and project drives, but not for raid array drives unless you need greater speed. In the long run, the cost per GB of hard drives is a more affordable solution.

    For online editing of 4K, you need a striped RAID array of three disks or more to ensure data speed. You'll also need a hardware RAID controller as well. Beware of less expensive RAID controllers that are software based; these are slower and use your system CPU and RAM which hinders overall performance.

    Motherboard

    Whether you're doing offline or online editing, you'll want to look for a motherboard that supports all your current component needs while giving you space to expand. A good motherboard will have at least three to four PCIe x16 ports that can all be used at full speed for video cards, RAID cards and monitoring cards. ASUS, GIGABYTE and Supermicro make quality motherboards. Remember, most laptop motherboards don't support add-on cards.

    Audio

    Many on-board audio chipsets pick up noise from the motherboard, noise that can sometimes be heard when you move the mouse. Dedicated audio cards don’t always solve this problem; furthermore, they take up valuable space inside your computer. Instead, you can use an external sound card. For $100, you can get M-Audio's M-Track which combines an external sound card and a two channel mixer with two XLR inputs.

    So What’s All This Going to Cost

    You can purchase a properly equipped laptop to offline edit like the Dell Precision M6800, HP ZBook 17 or Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina Display for less than $3,500. Combine that with a 7200rpm USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt hard drive that costs around $150 and you're ready to edit offline. You could probably find a desktop solution for even less.

    For online editing, you’ll need a custom configured or custom built system that tends to range from about $8,000 and up. There are many companies offering custom Macs and PCs for editing. HP has partnered with RED on the HP Z820 RED Edition which has built in RED card readers. Of course, if you're a little hardware savvy, you can build your own system and save thousands.

    Your Software Can Make a Difference

    Most editing software packages do not support all the codecs and file types used by 4K cameras. Right now Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Apple Final Cut Pro X are the top editing solutions that have native support for CinemaDNG. Sony Vegas Pro has the only native support for XAVC-S. REDCODE RAW (R3D) is supported by all 4K editing software including Lightworks and EDIUS Pro 7 although it seems to run best in Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro. Editing software updates are frequent and native support for camera files are usually a priority. Before you buy, check websites for updates to see what formats are supported.

    If you’re planning to edit 4K with Avid Media Composer 7, it supports FrameFlex 4K, but note that you may not qualify for product support unless you work on an Avid certified system. This is something to keep in mind when considering system options.

    Don’t Forget the Monitoring
    If you're building a new 4K editing system, it’s easy to get consumed with GPUs and storage needs and forget about monitoring solutions. While you can continue to use HD computer monitors for your editing interface, it’s important to use a 4K external video monitor to watch the footage as you edit, particularly if you're mastering in 4K.

    4K monitors are gradually becoming less expensive and for most editors, there are now some affordable solutions. Seiki Digital released its SE39UY04 39-inch UHD TV (3840x2160 resolution) which has a retail price of $599 and can be connected via HDMI. The SE39UY04's color reproduction is subpar making it poor choice for color monitoring; however, you can pair it with a lower resolution monitor with good color reproduction for your color correction work.

    Dell announced three 4K monitors that reproduce 100 percent of the sRGB color space making them a good option for color grading. The Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD Monitor (UP3214Q) retails for a hefty $3,500, where the UltraSharp 24 Ultra HD Monitor (UP2414Q) is $1,400. The Dell UltraSharp 28 Ultra HD Monitor (P2815Q) released earlier this year and retails for $700.

    Protect Your Investment

    Even if you're editing on a laptop, you can benefit from using an uninterrupted power supply with voltage monitoring and filtering. While your standard UPS only turns on when the power goes out, more advanced models include power filtering and under- and over-voltage protection. Low voltage can damage electronics just as easily as over voltage and is a common and costly problem.

    Conclusion

    Determining your 4K editing needs, both now and in the near future may take some time, but it will ensure that you purchase an editing system than can handle all the projects you'll be working on, the type of footage you'll be editing, and the length and complexity of the edits. Remember that minimum specs get minimum performance. Go above the minimums for optimal performance.

    Here are your basic specs to look for when buying a computer for video editing in 4k.

    • 8-16 GB RAM memory or as much as you can afford
    • 3.0GHz Intel Core Quad Processor or better
    • At least 500 GB hard drive, 7200 RPM .. buy as much as you can afford, you can always add external hard drives, sad drives would be better.
    • Graphics card – 512-1GB nVidia Quatro or a Geforce 8 or 9 series graphics card – For Apple --- ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics with 256-512MB memory (you only really need 512 if gaming)
    • Sound card – ASUS motherboard z87 or z97
    • Nice size screen – 19-21 inch minimum
    • Windows 7, 64bit edition
    • 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    • Firewire or Thunderbolt Port not essential.
    • Or a newer Macbook pro or Mac Pro.

    Hope this helps.
     
    #13 GB Phantom, Apr 13, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
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  14. capodrone81

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    I shoot and edit in 4k. I use I7 15.4 macbook pro retina and final cut software. click my homepage in my signature youtube from limerock race park over winter.

    the only thing that sucks about youtube when it comes to 4k is the the video player defaults to your connection speed so users have to click 4k using the gear button when the video loads. o_O
     
  15. 2nd2non

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    Thanks GB phantom for thorough answer. Some things to definitely consider....
     
  16. monica66

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    I captured videos in 4K before, but found that the 4K raw videos were incompatible with NLEs. Finally, I need to downscale 4K to 1080p for editing.
     
  17. Mako79

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    IMO, In regards to downsampling...
    I would rather take lower res at higher FPS over downsampling 4K to 1080 at this point in time.
    The downsample from 4K to 1080p is nice but it only has 30FPS. Most wont notice the gains from the downsampled quality.
    However, if you take 1080p@60FPS, you get less jiggered pans and you get a chance to do slow motion.

    The only real advantage of 4K is the zooming ability after post. I wished DJI enabled a digital zoom mode for the P3P which allowed a 1080p window. They should make a rectangle 1080p box visible on the GO app. This would allow users to box what they are filming and yet still give them the ability to perceive depth awareness.
     
  18. John Deere

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    I'm just getting into editing 4k and also downscaling 4k to 1080p. From what I've read you can 'proxie' edit in either Premiere Pro or PowerDirector. Take your 4k clips, downgrade it to 1080 or even 720 to use for editing. Just ensure the name of the 4k file and downgraded file is the same. After easily editing all the clips in 1080/720, move the same named 4k files into the location of your proxie files after saving proxies to a new folder. When you open PP or PD, all the edits will be in place but using the 4K clips. You can now save as 4k/UHD or downscale to 1080p. The trick is to do the final downscale with a process that produces 1080p at 4:4:4 vice the normal 4:2:0 you'd get with 1080p native.