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From OK to 4K

Posted by Frank Farnsworth on Tue, Jul, 12, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

You’re a visual media producer -  the master of the message, the purveyor of extraordinary experiences and the optical magician of the advertising world. Are you satisfied with just OK? Or is it time to move to 4K?

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You might have heard a whole lot about varying video platforms, but one thing is sure – OK is not good enough when it’s your mission to provide the best experience for your clients. While 5K, 6K, 8K and beyond seem to be coming down the pipeline, 4K is here to stay for a while… and for some very good reasons.

First, eye relief as it relates to viewer angle and distance have a huge impact on the perception of your content. You can read a great write-up on the implications here.

Current resolutions at 4K and above are now battling for ground in an arena that needs to be more focused on matching your content with a refresh rate that more closely matches a median brain-processing speed with relation to the content being viewed. This can create more realism than ever-greater resolutions ever can.

So, until the advent of totally immersive holographic realities, 4K and mad editing skillz are all you need to create a product that will really shine for your visual media clients. Anything less would be noticeable, but anything more would be lost dollars in an attempt to create realism where your design and production should do so.

Now that we’ve got the platform specifics down… how do you develop for 4K? What are the “Do’s and Don’ts”? Did you know that the “4K” you bought at the store may not be the 4k you want? The difference can be seen in the graphic below:

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(source: MacRumors.com - http://www.macrumors.com/guide/4k-5k-displays-buyers-guide-mac/ )

Resolution and framerate are the first determinations you should make with reference to the screens in use, and you should have the proper media player set up to perform reliably with your monitor array. After that, it’s a matter of three elements: the focus of your message, the production of your assets and the user-experience considerations that will result in maximum effectiveness of your message (that means environment, context and audience).

The “biggest and baddest” screen matters very little when the majority of content isn’t even developed for 4K yet, and when 4K content become more commonplace, the skills of the production industry need to cater to the limits-and-reaches of what 4K has to offer before it becomes necessary to exceed 4K capabilities in the advertising space. Resolution, production quality and most of all, using a system that is able to flawlessly run your true-4K and UHD content are the most important factors necessary to create the most immersive environments and experiences your customers have yet to see.

Probably one of the most telling signs of 4K’s staying-power is that the consumer industry is starting to demand it. Industrial standards follow consumer demand, and if consumer demand is really just catching up to the 4K world, what benefit is there in going bigger? It enters the realm of diminishing returns until the above-mentioned production, environmental, industrial and commercial limits catch up to the capabilities of 4K. So while the biggest camera companies might be pushing 8K and even 16K – most production has yet to even breach 4K standards.

Realism and user-experience is based on proper resolution, field of view, distance as compared to resolution and screen size, quality of production and flawlessness of media player performance. So slow down, sip some coffee and pull open your favorite video-editing suite. We need production artists to really give us a good reason to move past 4K – and in the meantime Seneca has just what you need to implement your public advertising strategies in stunning realism and resolution. Contact us today for assistance with developing the right specifications for your next visual media project.

Topics: media player, HD, Resolution, Digital Media, Visual Media, UHD, 1080, 4k

Posted by Frank Farnsworth

Frank Farnsworth is the Lead Development Engineer in Seneca’s Visual Media market. He is responsible for designing custom solutions and validating platforms for customers looking to deploy products in Digital Signage and Digital Broadcast.

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