How to reduce the size of 4K files

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Marie-Ange Demory
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The new televisions are 4k (or more), computer monitors are capable of presenting images in 4k (or more), iPhones and iPads already reproduce and allow viewing of videos in 4K format. YouTube and Vimeo allow you to upload videos in 4K resolution… 

The world of video is climbing in quality until 4K is the usual standard, even if you don't plan on stopping there. 

Resolution, detail, contrast, movement… everything takes on a hyper-realistic hue when a video is shot and played in 4k. 

And when it comes to seeing it, everything is wonderful. 4k has only one big problem when it comes to storage - your files take up a huge amount of space.

What is 4K

4K is short for a minimum resolution. It is used when talking about digital television or cinema, technology, equipment or broadcasting of content that offer high image quality, which means that they have a horizontal screen resolution of approximately 4.000 pixels (for the corresponding proportion of height) .

What is the difference between 4k and 1080P?

As the name suggests, 4K UHD (Ultra Hight Definition) has a significantly higher resolution than 1080P high definition video. 

The 4K resolution is exactly 3.840 x 2.160 pixels, while the 1080P resolution is 1.920 x 1.080 pixels. In comparison, 4K has a whopping 2.160 pixels on the vertical axis, while 1080 has, well, 1080 pixels, less than half.

Interestingly, the audiovisual industry has adopted the name 1080 for the resolution height dimension, while it has adopted 4K for the resolution width dimension. If you want consistency, you should be talking about 2160p instead of 1080p.

Is 4K the same as UHD?

They are not the same, although all manufacturers in the world use them together to simplify communication. The main difference is that 4K is a professional production standard, standardized by the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a consortium of film production companies. Officially, 4K is 4.096 by 2.160, which is exactly four times the previous digital editing and projection standard (2K or 2.048 by 1.080 pixels). 4K refers to rounding off about four thousand pixels, but that's not all: also, like all standards, the specification includes how 4K content is encoded. A DCI 4K-compliant stream is compressed using JPEG2000, can have a bit rate of up to 250 Mbps, and uses a 4-bit 4: 4: 12 color depth.

Ultra High Definition, or UHD for short, is the next step up from what has been called "Full HD", the official name for the screen resolution of 1.920 by 1.080. The UHD quadruples that resolution to 3.840 by 2.160 pixels. 

As you can see, it's not the same resolution as 4K, as we mentioned above, although every TV or monitor you see on the market as 4K is actually UHD. 

Of course there are a few that are actually 4.096 by 2.160, which makes for an aspect ratio of 1,9: 1. But the vast majority are 3.840 by 2.160, with an aspect ratio of 1,78: 1.

How much does a 4K file take up?

All iPhones starting with the iPhone SE and the iPhone 6s range offer the ability to record video in 4K, at 30 frames per second. It's great for those who want to make high-quality movies, but the files take up a lot of space.

If you plan to record in 4K at 30 FPS with the iPhone, this is the space it will take up on your device, depending on the duration:

Here we put the space they take up with the iPhone 11 - older phones the files will take up more.

  • 30 seconds of 4K at 30FPS will take 100MB (85MB using HEVC on iOS 11 and above)
  • 60 seconds takes approximately 200MB (170MB)
  • 5 minutes take up 1 GB
  • 10 minutes take up 2 GB
  • 30 minutes takes up to 6GB

If you take into consideration that the latest iPhone allows you to increase the frame rate per second, you can get the amount of space you will need if you want to carry 4K movies on your device, or even if you want to keep them on a hard drive.

For this reason, Apple doesn't enable 4K shooting by default. If you want to record in 4K you have to go to Settings> Camera> Record Video to change it.

How can I reduce the size of 4K files?

If you have movies or record yours in 4K format, you will end up discovering the storage limits that your device has, be it an iPhone or an iPad, or even the hard drive where you want to save the files as a backup.

At the end of the day, if you're planning on watching movies on your iPhone or iPad screen, they don't need to be the size to see them at perfect resolution on a 50+ inch TV.

You can reduce the size of these movies by using specialized 4K video compression and conversion applications such as VideoProc.

What is VideoProc?

VideoProc is an easy to use video compressor and converter. It has a free trial version so you can check how it works and the compression capacity it has.

Furthermore, VideoProc uses both the CPU and GPU (with level 3 acceleration) of your computer to perform the conversions, speeding up the compression process with little loss of quality. With VideoProc you can get a file that occupies 90% less than the original.

In addition, VideoProc can be used on older computers (with 1 GHz Intel processor) and is compatible with operating systems: Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, macOS Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina (10.15am), Big Sur

It is also compatible with the following graphics cards: NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 or later, Intel HD Graphics 2000 or later, AMD Radeon HD 7700 series (VCE 1.0) or later.

VideoProc supports more than 370 codecs and more than 420 format conversions without third-party codec packages, which means you can convert the video you need to the medium you need: social networking, storage, messaging, etc.

And if the video you want to share needs some post-production, don't worry, VideoProc includes tools that allow you to crop, merge, etc. 

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