How 4K Video Can Increase Learner Engagement

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In recent years, the rise of 4K video production has made it easier than ever to create and consume 4K video. Many consumer grade cameras and even smartphones can now shoot this ultra high resolution natively. While this is undoubtably an exciting time for most tech lovers, it's even more exciting to think about how we can use 4K production to positively impact how we create content.

Why we made the leap to 4K

After upgrading our camera equipment at the beginning of 2016, we haven't looked back. From our experience shooting in 4K for the past year, it's clear that the freedom it gives to our on-camera talent is massively beneficial to the resulting videos (and ultimately to the learner). This is all down the added control having so many extra pixels has opened up to us in post production, the most impactful being a technique called "Pan and Scan".

So here's where we get a little technical: Although we shoot all of our video content in 4K, our final edits of any video are still only exported in full HD. The main reasons for this are down to how learners consume these videos. As we've found, most learners are watching on smartphones and are often struggling with low bandwidth. In this situation 4K video would not only be problematic but just plain overkill. Shooting in 4K and scaling down the image to HD is really where all of the benefits lie, here's a handy graph show the difference in image size between the two:

This difference in resolution gives us a whole range of new opportunities to crop and pan around the footage in post production, giving the editor much more control over both the look and the pace of the video. Essentially, it makes it easy to create several different kind of shots from one camera, mimicking how the video might look if it was shot on several cameras.

How does this effect learning content?

The most important effect of the this technique is the impact it can have on the delivery of content. Whether completely scripted or ad-libbed, it gives on-camera talent the freedom to deliver content at a pace that suits them, and the ability to try several different takes without having to do it in one go.

The end result is a happy teacher, calmly sharing knowledge in a succinct manner. What could be more engaging than that?