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Y4K? Because it’s the Next Big Thing!*

*Not guaranteed to be the Next Big Thing

How 4K aims to be the new High-Definition standard

High-Definition has changed both the consumer and video production landscapes over the last decade. What was once an experimental format shown on prototype monitors is now the norm. HD film and video production are the standard — and the content they produce is viewed on millions of consumers’ HD sets. HD is the audio and visual law of the land, if you will.

But for how long?

In the digital spectrum, a challenger named 4K has recently emerged. 4K is a generic term for display devices or content with a horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels (4096×2160). 4K UHD (Ultra HD) measures 3840×2160 pixels, and is targeted toward consumer televisions. 4K has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the 1080p HDTV format, with four times as many pixels.

The video and film production industries have already started to embrace the new resolution. Many of today’s feature films are recorded in 4K, along with a growing number of video productions. YouTube and Vimeo now allow for 4K uploads. Companies are manufacturing new 4K cameras — competitively priced — that are making it easier for small and independent producers to jump on the 4K bandwagon. A recent article on the trade website Red Shark News stated that “up to 20 new 4K cameras” would be introduced at this year’s NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) annual convention next month. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of prognosticators claiming 2014 as “The Year of 4K.”

So what could possibly slow down the revolution? Well, for starters, although it’s becoming cheaper, production costs for 4K, both in cameras, external recorders and increased storage, haven’t come down far enough for it be widespread. And even if you could produce in 4K, there are very few places to display it. 4K sets are still few and far between and are still cost-prohibitive — and certainly no one is broadcasting in it yet. More telling is the fact that after some subjective analysis, researchers are reporting that unless you’re a few feet in front of a 4K monitor, it’s hard to see any improvement over an HD signal. There’s even some industry chatter suggesting that it isn’t 4K but 8K that will be the next frontier.

So you probably won’t have to rush out and get a 4K set this year — but you might want to plan for it.  Certainly, manufacturers of cameras and production equipment are betting on 4K, and of course for TV manufacturers, 4K means new sets and bigger profits. And researchers are testing the feasibility of broadcasting 4K, with promising results so far.

But many questions abound:  Can all the main characters — manufacturers, marketers, producers, engineers — come up with a solution that will work? How long will it take? Are we even ready for a new format?

Stay tuned.

The Key to an Effective Online Presence? Click Play

Online video is becoming the preferred—and profitable—way to communicate

No doubt, you probably have a favorite video you’ve seen online.

It might involve a talking cat or a guy amazed at the site of a double-rainbow or even a sweet lady describing an apartment fire.

Or maybe it involves a better technique for painting a room or a review of the latest high-definition television or even a new pair of shoes you’re thinking of buying.

Fact is, you can find video content just about everywhere online. And you can bet that someone is watching these videos at any given time. For advertisers, video is a way to reach millions of Internet users—and potential customers.

The demand—and opportunity—for online video is staggering. It’s estimated that 100 million Internet users watch online video every day1—and while many may be watching yet another Harlem Shake video, many more are looking for information on products and services. When they come across a website with video content, they stay longer, are more likely to purchase a product, have more confidence in that purchase and are less likely to return items.2 Websites with video content have a higher conversion rate—the proportion of visitors to a website who take action (product purchases, site subscriptions) beyond a casual content view or website visit. In addition, video can be a major boost in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts, as sites and pages with video rank higher.3

Mobile video is in even greater demand. Mobile and tablet shoppers are three times as likely to view a video as laptop and desktop users.4 The design and screen resolution of tablets make them ideal for viewing video content—and 40% of mobile action codes, such as QR and bar codes, link to video content, including product demos.5 And views for social video ads—videos targeted specifically for social networking sites—have reached over 1.3 billion views.6

And it’s not just consumers that use video. 95% of B2B tech buyers watch online video, and 82% post, forward and share content.7 Analysts expect to see greater interest and investment in video for products geared toward other business shoppers in 2013.

In short, people respond to video. It’s much more engaging than plain text or still images. And the numbers prove it.

Experts say that within the next five years, online video production will account for more than one-third of all online advertising spending.8 These types of projections make the case that online video content makes an impact. It gets to the point. It entertains. It informs.

But most importantly, it produces results. Soon companies will not be debating the cost of producing online video, but the cost of not producing online video.

The Revolution WILL Be Televised: How DSLRs are changing video production.

If you’re a media consumer, you’ve no doubt seen the stunning output of DSLR cameras. The dynamic, high-resolution images these cameras produce are a staple of film, broadcast and Internet content. And their presence in the realm of modern media is nothing short of revolutionary.

Without getting too technical, the DSLR (or Digital Single-Lens Reflex for the uninitiated) camera is a digital still camera that uses an internal system of small mirrors that allows the photographer to see in the viewfinder the exact image that will be captured. The large sensors in these cameras can reproduce images with a stunning degree of resolution, and the more recent DSLRs have the ability to record HD video (this is the revolutionary part).

In a nutshell, the video capabilities of DSLRs bring much of the creative aesthetic and workflow of high-end film production to a still camera. Moreover, their price point has made that power more readily available to the film and video-producing masses.

DSLRs have been used in the Fox series “House,” HBO’s “True Blood” and video segments for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Feature films such as Lucasfilm’s “Red Tails,” as well as countless independent films and broadcast commercials feature DSLRs as either primary or second-unit cameras.

After a long bit of research, we here at GO2 took the DSLR plunge this past fall, purchasing a Canon 7D, an industry favorite. And it’s a move that’s already paid off. Our first project with it was a video for our redesigned website. Located on the home page of our website, it’s an exciting mix of animation, design work and field footage. Since then, we’ve also shot videos for Sherwin-Williams, the American Heart Association and Time Warner Cable, to name a few. Quite simply, the image quality blows away anything we’ve shot before.

But as a professional with over 20 years of experience behind a video camera, it was a different beast for me to tame. Because the DSLR is essentially a still camera, there are many more things I had to think about and prepare for before a shoot. I’m still learning the nuances of this technology, but I believe it’s made me a better videographer. Its small size and big image quality have allowed our video professionals to bring an idea to life more quickly, enhancing our overall creativity. It’s really been a game-changer — not only for us, but for millions of media producers worldwide.

And there’s no turning back. We are all media consumers on some level and this technology has really upped the quality ante — so much so that we can quickly detect when we see media that’s not quite up to snuff. The high-resolution, crystal-clear images these cameras produce have become the new normal — and to use older technology just doesn’t make much sense.

It’s exciting to be a player in the DSLR revolution, and it’s great that GO2 can deliver this burgeoning technology to our clients. When science, experience and passion come together, the results come into perfect focus.