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4K, High Definition, Standard Def

As a content provider (aka, film maker) I'm asked to deliver content in many different formats whether it be strictly for the web or for home viewing. Some clients want their content only on the cloud and some prefer thumb drives while others want content on a disk they can play at home. It can get confusing even for those of us in the industry.

How many of us can remember watching movies on VHS cassettes. Well, amazingly, it was only 7 or 8 years ago now yet it seems like a technology from the dark ages. It became so obsolete so quickly that even our own studio here on Cape Cod stopped offering any VHS type services in 2011.

VHS was quickly followed by DVD's and a whole industry grew up around the disk based technology and soon most Americans had a DVD player attached to their TV's. The video and audio quality improvement from VHS was significant. These standard DVD's displayed a resolution of 720X480.

Three years ago we started hearing about HD (or high definition). The resolution of high definition is 1920X1080 and requires an entirely new method to display such high resolution so BluRay and high def TV's were born. The improvement in video quality was remarkable. Soon the networks began broadcasting all their programming in this new high definition. Of course this required consumers to purchase high definition TV's and BluRay players to take advantage of the new improved picture that was available.

And now we come to 4K (or Ultra HD) which films in an unheard of 4096X2160 and anyone who has had the opportunity to see a 4K TV display a 4K signal quickly ends up opening their check books to see if they can purchase one of these new 4K TV's that very moment.

From our standpoint here at Digital Imaging of Cape Cod,we simply want to provide our clients the very best viewing experience possible. Some of our cameras shoot in 4K (4096X2160) and some shoot in HD (1920X1080). The above sample has aerial footage shot in 4K and ground footage shot in HD so it is a side by side comparison.

When some clients ask us for their DVD's in standard definition we cringe a bit because we know they are going to be seeing our fine work not the way it was shot for today's world but in a format two generations removed from today. And we also know that two years from now, these same clients will be asking us to provide them with the better quality video they didn't want today. Because today's formats generate files of enormous size we may or may not be able to keep their footage that long.

Bottom line for our clients. We strongly encourage you to accept delivery of your videos in the very highest

quality available today. Watch your videos the way they were intended to be seen. You will not be disappointed.

Robert Lassiter

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