The Perils of 4K Video Editing
We have uploaded hundreds of videos to YouTube so we had high hopes for 4K Video Editing. Mostly we used our GoPro Session 4 to shoot the videos and were pretty pleased with the results. The newer Session 5 was reasonably priced so we decided to take the plunge with 4K videos.
Software & Hardware
Initially we used GoPro video software and a standard Windows 10 PC for 1080p (1K) video editing but had to upgrade the PC when videos became longer.
Look for an upcoming post on upgrading PCs for video editing.
GoPro Studio became problematic freezing up on long 1K (1080p) videos so we reluctantly migrated to Premiere CC. Premiere CC is an awesome program but very complex with a steep learning curve.
We did have issues with panning 1K videos. There was significant lag between the pan and the edit window.
Our upgraded PC was geared towards 1K video editing (1080p) but we figured we would give it a try before upgrading to faster PC that could handle 4K.
Here’s our benchmark tests from October 2017.
Research revealed that editing 4K videos in Premiere was not that much different than the 1K videos we were currently creating so we were hopeful.
GoPro Session 5
The GoPro Session 5 works as expected and does a few things better than its predecessor including seeing video while shooting. Switching the GoPro Session to 4K mode at 30 fps was straight forward.
We now have 2 Session cameras so we can fire up our secondary camera when the battery runs down.
For those that are not familiar with GoPro Session cameras, they are sealed units so changing the battery is not an option. The Session 5 will shoot videos while attached to a battery pack so that’s another option.
Our First Surprise
We tried editing the videos in Premiere & it didn’t seem that different from 1K editing.
Our 1st attempt to open a raw file (mp4) from the Session 5 only in something other a video editor. We could hear audio in Windows standard software but no video. VLC would show the video but it looked awful. Our problem was that our monitor didn’t support 4K so we upgraded once again. Truthfully, it was well past time for a new monitor.
We set up dual monitors using our old 1080p monitor as our secondary monitor. Interestingly it now will open 4K videos now that is tied to a primary video. It doesn’t look nearly as clear as our 4K monitor but it suffices for mundane tasks like email & web browsing.
Premiere CC 4K & Proxies
Editing 4K videos didn’t seem to be much worse than 1K but we figured we would make it as easy possible for our hardware with proxies. With proxies, we are effectively editing at 1K and publishing at 4K.
Proxies require an additional encoding step so it makes our work flow a bit slower but editing is much easier.
It still doesn’t fix our original problem with panning 1K video but that’s to be expected.
YouTube & Our Second Surprise
We were anxious to see our 4K videos on YouTube and checked as soon as processing was done. The available quality was a mere 360 p so we feared something was amiss in our Premiere setup so started reviewing the mp4s we were uploading. Everything seemed in order and a little research showed that 4K could take a bit longer to show up as YouTube has to generate videos for every resolution.
Eventually our videos did show up as 4K but you still need a 4K monitor to see them.
4K worth the extra trouble?
Our main goal with 4K was to have extra resolution, hoping zoom and panning would be clearer. The jury is still out on that since we haven’t processed enough videos to make a definitive decision.
We still have our Session 4 so we could shoot the same scenes with 1K & 4K for a one to one comparison. However the Session 5 only shoots 30 fps (frames per second) at 4K while the Session 4 shoots 60 fps at 1K so maybe it’s not a foregone conclusion that Session 5 video will be better. I could always slow down the Session 4 to 30 fps but our goal was to have better videos than the Session 4 provided.
Perhaps the fps only applies to changing the motion of the video. If
that’s the case, we won’t see many changes since we rarely adjust video speed.
Without a doubt the files are much larger so we have to make accommodations in cloud storage.
The proxy files are also large but we don’t store those permanently since they can be regenerated. We did the same with huge GoPro Studio AVIs.