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HD vs 4K - The difference is subtile (video)

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by Lobbamobba, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. Lobbamobba

    Lobbamobba Mu-43 Veteran

    May 15, 2013
    Is there a big difference between HD and 4K on YouTube?
    After my experiment "proving" that 1080p upscaled to 4K looks better than regular HD on YouTube and that no one noticed I wanted to see it side by side and make more tests.

    What my tests show is that at least with my camera (BMPC) the method of "Acquiring in 4K for 1080p Delivery" isn't the way to go if YOUTUBE is your platform.

    Again, Im talking Youtube here, not cinema or playing from the computer on a huge UHD TV, just Youtube.

    From the beginning I shoot a video in 1080p and upscaled to 4K to see if the end result would be better on YouTube.
    It was and no one noticed.
    I then did a comparison to see if there was a big difference between Upscaled HD and regular 4K on YouTube.
    There wasn’t, even people with 4K monitors couldn’t really tell them apart.
    Lastly I tested if regular 4K downscaled to 1080p looks much better on YouTube than regular HD.
    To my eyes it doesn’t.

    So what does that mean IMO.
    Upscaled HD and 4K = Same
    HD and Downscaled 4K = Same

    Then the best way to use 4K for youtube is to record in 4K, edit in 4K even if you do the 100% crop to 1080p since that 1080p clip will when blown up again look pretty much like the 4K surrounding it.
    The only times when its been obvious to me is when I have compared HD blown up 200% next to 4K.
    Its like both the 4K and the upscaled HD from the Production Camera exceeds YouTubes quality and therefor looks the same.

    So in other words the widely popular method of acquiring in 4K for a 1080p upload doesn’t look as good on youtube as acquire in 4K, Edit in 1080p and still upload in 4K.

    Here I compare HD to Downscaled 4K
    I only see a real difference when I zoom the HD to 150% and leave the 4K at 75%.


    Here is Upscaled HD vs 4K.
    I only see the difference when I crop 200% or use the Pocket Cameras smaller sensor.


    Here is the video that started it all when I just upscaled HD to 4K to get a cleaner stream from YouTube.

    • Like Like x 1
  2. QualityBuiltIn

    QualityBuiltIn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    What are you thinking? 4K is only an advantage on a 4K monitor, 1080 up scaled uses 4 pixels on a 4K screen but just 1, like usual, on a 1080 screen. Other screen sizes shrink or stretch to fit. Up scaling is like digital zoom; a load of bull.
    Put an HD movie on a 4k TV an you still have an HD movie. Put a 4K movie on a 1080 TV and you have an expensive HD movie.
  3. I have never once watched a video on YouTube and been impresses with the quality. They use such heavy compression that even 1080p is wasted, let alone 4K. In my experience Vimeo offers a much nicer compression.
  4. Lobbamobba

    Lobbamobba Mu-43 Veteran

    May 15, 2013
    Point 1. It is proven that if you upscale your 1080p to YOUTUBE it will get a higher bitrate but the same resolution = better quality with less banding. This is a Fact and used by many pros who uses youtube as delivery plattform.
    I have another thread showing it.

    Point 2. What this test showed is that for YOUTUBE the upscaled 1080p reaches the same quality level as the 4K because of youtubes limitations and therefor renders 4K totally unnecessary for people using their cameras to publish to youtube.

    Point 3. The talk about downsampling 4K from for example the GH4 to 1080p with a much better IQ is true but not because its 4K is awesome, its because its HD is bad.
    The HD from my BMPC4K is true HD and it looks so freaking good that the downsampling doesnt give me a big difference on a 1080p timeline.

    Like I said, 4K is great for reframing and such but other than that its total overkill, one can get the same quality on YOUTUBE with upscaling.

    If we are talking for 4K projectors, TV, Broadcast and such its of course a totally different story.
  5. Lobbamobba

    Lobbamobba Mu-43 Veteran

    May 15, 2013
    What makes Vimeo better is the download option. This video would have looked pretty much the same in their stream. I used to love Vimeo but ever since their search engine stopped working like two years ago I almost never post there.
  6. Lobbamobba

    Lobbamobba Mu-43 Veteran

    May 15, 2013
    I just did a major edit to the first post with lots of new info.
    Short story is that upscaling is better than downscaling for youtube.
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