Using 4K video for live event capture
4K video isn’t just the latest fad, it’s becoming the new standard. In the near future, any live video production is going to need to use 4K video (or UHD Video, as the 3840×2160 resolution is often referred to) in order to remain competitive. This isn’t just because it’s a new novelty, either – there are genuine benefits that come from the format, ranging from greater display range, to better behind-the-scenes editing.
The benefits are huge, but computers are having trouble keeping up, since the amount of information captured by a 4K camera can sometimes tax even the best processors. These technical barriers have made a lot of live production operations that might benefit from 4K out it off until later, waiting for improvements to processors and USB host controllers. The hesitation is understandable – it can be difficult to be on the cutting edge of technology. Here’s why overcoming the tech barrier and making the leap into the 4K generation immediately is worth it.
Using 4K video technology right
The best argument for working to overcome the technical impediments is that it is not as difficult to do as it first appears. Certainly, you’ll need a powerful processor, such as an Intel i7, and a recent USB 3.0 controller. You’ll also need to find a hardware or software that will actually accept a 4K input. The best hardware to use is an HDMI to USB video grabber like AV.io 4K, a 4K capture card that uses HDMITM and USB 3.0 cables to accept a 4K video source. Accompanied by a 4K-capable encoding software, such as OBS, the video grabber allows you to process the signal and capture or stream the 4K video. Keep a lookout on our blog for an upcoming post that describes the best software to use for capturing 4K!
Still, even using the right hardware and software, to get the best results you might need to change how you capture the video. You’ll need to make changes to your software’s settings such as:
- setting custom resolution to 3840×2160,
- using the YUY2 color space,
- encoding in x264,
- allowing max bitrate of 20,000 kb/s (for lots of headroom!),
- limit frame rate to maximum 20 fps.
These sort of adjustments allow our computer to keep pace with 4K, and use 4K correctly to its full effect. With this setup, the technological problems aren’t as much of a barrier, so you can concentrate on what 4K video will help you accomplish.
The current state of 4K video
With the increasing popularity of 4K video cameras there’s now lots of video producers, from large corporations to single-person setups, who are finding it helpful. Certainly television is using it, both for shows and journalism, but it’s also very common among live video producers online or at conferences and business presentations. The reason for this is that the biggest advantage UHD has over HD is how great 4K looks on a big screen. At large conferences or public demos, having the ability to use an attention-grabbing 100-inch TV and still have it look good is a huge benefit. It dominates the area with the sheer size and quality of the video, and always draws people to the booth. Likewise, there’s lots of 4K videos online that draw attention and acclaim for their beautiful 4K quality, and creating them is easy using a video grabber like the AV.io 4K. But currently, despite the advantages of UHD and the increasing number of videos using it, there’s still a huge amount of untapped potential consumption. The audience hoping to see UHD is much greater than the number of videos produced by current 4K content creators. It’s a perfect time for a streamed or recorded video to stand out purely by producing a video that fills that void and draws people to it with its impressive quality! But there’s even better reasons for using UHD beyond the improvement in resolution.