Although I spend most of my days designing software for our products, I get to take a few days each year creating video content for our trade show booths. InfoComm2013 is just a few weeks away, so this is an ideal time to talk about producing 4K videos. The most important thing I have learned over the past few days developing the content for our booth is:
It is surprisingly easy to create and display 4K video!
The four things you need are:
- playback device
- editing / encoding software
- a display device
There are already lots of choices out there to cover these requirements, so I’ll just talk about what I used.
I used a combination of 4K stock footage from ArtBeats and still photographs of our products. I knew the final video would be QFHD resolution of 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels so I was careful to get product photos of at least that size. An 8 megapixel camera was just enough to meet this requirement.
2. Playback device
We will be demonstrating the capabilities of the new A/V Binloop HD at our InfoComm booth, so I will be using this device to playback the 4K video. This is important to know ahead of time because it affects the encoding software necessary to generate the final video files.
3. Editing / encoding software
I decided to do the entire project in After Effects CS6. It was an easy choice because it is free to try an then just a low month-to-month payment after that. After Effects is great for making videos at any resolution you can think of. I setup a composition for each product and went to work adding shapes, text, and photos. I then created a final composition using the ArtBeats video as a background and the product compositions in the foreground so that I could have them move on and off the screen.
When the final composition was complete, I added it to the Render Queue and used the following settings:
- Render Settings: Best Settings
- Output Module: Lossless
These settings create a massive QFHD uncompressed video file so make sure you have lots of hard drive space. My video was 1 minute 47 seconds long and the resulting file was just over 78GB. Believe it or not, there are systems that can playback this 4K uncompressed video. The problem with those systems is that it takes an enormous amount of storage space and the workflow can become tedious when transferring the content between systems.
I could have used After Effects to compress this video using h.264 but I would have had to create intermediary compositions for each quadrant and I prefer to use MediaFlow to ensure I have all of the correct encoder settings.
MediaFlow makes it easy to produce the four 1080p videos I need for the A/V Binloop HD to synchronize playback of the entire 4K video. The A/V Binloop HD can playback high bitrate h.264 or MPEG2 video so the result is an image that looks just as good as the original, but small enough to play from a CompactFlash card.
4. A display device
The A/V Binloop HD provides one HD-SDI and one HDMI output per channel. This is perfect for projectors that accept Quad Link HD-SDI for 4K video playback or multiple displays using HDMI for 1080p videos. We will be using the latter for InfoComm; specifically 24 Christie MicroTiles to generate one massive display.
I was surprised at how easy it is to produce 4K videos. I used stock footage from ArtBeats, Adobe After Effects CS6, an A/V Binloop HD with 4 ( out of 8 ) reproducer cards, and 24 Christie MicroTiles to create a beautiful presentation about our products and integrated demonstration of the new A/V Binloop HD. It was a lot of fun!
I hope this information has been helpful for those of you looking to produce your own 4K content. I better get back to rendering now. Have a great week and I hope to see you all at InfoComm!