We’ve already covered the whole plethora of 4k content sources that give you and your household access to a fairly wide selection of 4K movies, TV shows, documentaries and other professional film studio entertainment content, but what about 4K video clips in general?
Well, there are plenty of those out there too and today we’re going to cover the best sources you can use to get your hands on them, in addition to the content you can find right on this page of 4K.com.
Afterwards, we’ll cover some useful tips for making your own 4K spectacles without spending a fortune to do it.
The World Outside My Window-Time Lapse of Earth from the ISS
The 4K Content Revolution
First of all however, we should give a rundown of where 4K video content is going.
Currently, the amount of amateur 4K video being created and made public on the web (where it’s exclusively found) is growing at a very rapid pace. This is because the number of devices that let anybody with a minor budget film at least a moderately decent ultra HD video are proliferating left and right in all sorts of varieties. And because people by nature tend to look for the best thing available for their media devices if they can afford it, consumers are buying all these 4K cameras more often than ever.
Thus, if you visit the following sources, you’ll find a remarkable and constantly growing collection of shorter or longer film clips made by not only some very talented amateurs and professionals. Furthermore, a lot of free web-based movies are also being released by various scientific institutions of the exotic places and situations they film. Notable examples of this include videos of volcanic research expeditions filmed with 4K GOPRO Hero cameras and absolutely stunning NASA satellite footage of our planet from orbit, shot with a resolution that lets you appreciate the Earth from space as has never before been possible.
The content landscape for free online 4K movies is getting exciting and from here onwards, it will only improve further until ultra HD saturates the broadband networks with videos that almost completely replace HD and SD resolution shooting.
GoPro HERO4: The Adventure of Life in 4K
Some Basic Viewing Requirements
Now, while you obviously do need a 4K screen of some kind to view 4K content, that’s not the only requirement in the deal. However, the good news is that viewing the streaming free content we’re about to describe is also a lot easier than watching professional 4K streams from sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. With these latter entertainment platforms, you not only need a 4K TV but also a 4K TV that’s fully equipped with features like HDCP 2.2 content protection, HEVC video decoding ability and HDMI 2.0 ports in addition to the requirement of a very strong internet connection of at least 18 to 25 Mbps..
Watching awesome 4K content on the following sources, on the other hand, requires that you only have a 4K monitor, a modern PC capable of supporting 4K video –which is a default if you’ve got the monitor– and an internet connection that can handle at least 15 Mbps. And even this last ultra-high speed connectivity feature isn’t needed for some of the content below, as you’ll see.
Also, if you’re watching YouTube clips, your PC has to support the VP9 codec that Google uses to encode its 4K video streams. Luckily, most newer model brand name PCs already support this but be sure to check before buying one if you’re unsure.
Now, without further ado, let’s get down to content before we move on to making your own movies.
Tomorrowland in 4K
“Eylenda”: Iceland Shot in 4K Ultra HD
More Ultra-High Definition video from above the Earth
A Journey to Mexico’s Volcanos in 4K, from National Geographic
The Extraordinary Eruption of the Calbuco Volcano in Chile in 4K UHD
Our first powerhouse source of content is the oldest and biggest player of the bunch. YouTube, owned by Google, has been offering ultra HD video content since before just about anybody else at all did anything with it or even knew what 4K was all about. Their first 4K UHD clips went online all the way back in 2010, when there were no 4K TVs or monitors to be found pretty much anywhere.
Nonetheless, partly thanks to this early start and partly thanks to the factors we mentioned above, YouTube is currently the Internet’s biggest repository of 4K movies.
This doesn’t mean that its selection is huge yet but it’s definitely the best out there and it’s growing on a daily basis as new users keep posting their clips. Furthermore, some excellent professional content from scientific institutions, professional explorers and extreme sports enthusiasts is being posted to YouTube, so you can really enjoy the detail on some superb exotic shoots.
Notable Channels and videos
The following links will take you to some excellent videos of different scenes made in 4K resolution or to channels that feature the same from both amateurs and professionals.
Before viewing on your ultra HD monitor, be sure to activate each video’s 4K resolution through the button in the lower right corner of the clip.
- A compilation of several different scenes in 4K ultra HD in a single video, ranging from starry desert landscapes at night to the shining futuristic towers of Dubai in the desert sunlight.
- A YouTube collection of short 4K movies featuring places such as Redwood Nstional Park, the coast of the U.S Virgin Islands, New Zealand’s insane wilderness and scenes of puppies, horses and honey bees doing their cute or fascinating thing… These are short clips but each is quite beautiful to behold in this resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
- An awesomely spectacular clip of a skydiver dropping to the earth near Dubai in full 4K ultra HD. This is a perfect example of the kind of extreme sports footage that can now be watched in a way that feels far more real thanks to UHD resolution
- Pro movie clips from a partnership between 4K camera maker RED and YouTube have also been uploaded to the website for the sake of promoting Ultra HD and some of these are truly spectacular for having been captured with a professional video production model of a 4K UHD camera.
Vimeo is a much newer arrival to the online video streaming scene in general and as such it has only very, very recently begun to offer 4K video viewing from its site. The website has allowed users to upload 4K videos for a long time but up until December of 2014, all clips were automatically downgraded to Full HD for users who wanted to stream or even download them.
Then, in December, 2014, seeing which way the winds of 4K were blowing, Vimeo suddenly allowed for 4K clips to be left in their native resolution and for users to download them in 4K as well. Shortly after that, in January of 2015, streaming also became a feature of Vimeo’s small 4K movie collection.
While Vimeo doesn’t have as much ultra HD content posted as YouTube, there are some interesting clips to be found. Furthermore, because you can also download the site’s videos, your internet connection doesn’t need the kind of speed that a YouTube or Netflix 4K video stream would require (between 18 and 25Mbps).
Some Notable Channels
- This is the 4K tag page of movie clips on Vimeo, not all are excellent but there is a fair bit of content to search through if you’re interested in finding some unique stuff. The collection is growing and so far, at least 9500 videos are tagged “4K”, though not all of them actually might have been literally shot in the resolution
- The following are a number of individual professionally shot videos that offer some truly breathtaking visuals for your large UHD monitor. These can also be downloaded if your internet connection isn’t up to the burden of streaming them.
So far, YouTube and Vimeo are pretty much it for streaming free sources of amateur 4K ultra HD Video, but there are also the documentary content options available with the services we’ve listed in our “Movies” page. These will require a 4K TV to view in most cases and will likely cost money (though not all of them) but they are much more robust than the majority of current 4K content in either YouTube or Vimeo.
As new content emerges on either of these two sites or others, we will be uploading this page and adding it in, so be sure to check back regularly.
Making your own 4K movies
Finally, you can also freely produce your own 4K ultra HD movies and you no longer even have to spend a fortune to do it. There are several options for this, ranging from the most affordable to the most professional and expensive. And to film video in full UHD you will need either a lot of accessories or just a couple, depending on how seriously you want to invest in professional grade footage.
Low budget 4K shooting for anyone: Smartphones and Action Cameras
At the very lowest range of the spectrum for shooting 4K video are the smartphones that have built-in 4K cameras. These are becoming more common than ever and now include pretty much all the flagship models from every major brand.
These phones can’t exactly shoot and store hours (or even a single complete hour of 4K footage) but they’ll definitely let you play around with some potentially lovely 1 to 30 minute clips of whatever you’d like to shoot under normal lighting conditions. The only requisites for shooting UHD video on your phone are that you have enough SD memory to store them and a way of getting the content from SD card to PC (not an easy thing to do with most WiFi connection speeds).
Some phone models that offer 4K video shooting include the following (and new models are coming out all the time, including pretty much every high end phone for 2015 and onwards)
Acer Liquid S2Asus Padfone X / Padfone S
Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
LG G Pro 2
LG G3 Motorola
Google Nexus 6
Motorola Moto X (2014)
OnePlus OneOppo Find 7 / Find 7a
Panasonic Lumix CM1
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Round
Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
Samsung Galaxy Note 4Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z3
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Next up are 4K UHD action cameras. These devices offer not only prolonged shooting at ultra HD resolution but also give you the ability to do this shooting hands-free due to their mountability on all sorts of different objects like surf boards, helmets, bikes and cars.
Of the 4K shooting models, the very best two are the GoPro Hero 3 and the GoPro Hero 4. Of these two, the Hero 4K definitely offers the superior 4K shooting experience and also allows you to capture longer, 30 minute sequences of video at a higher frame rate of 30 fps instead of the Hero 3’s 15 fps.
In addition to the GoPro 4K action cameras, there are also less rugged but still highly versatile models available from Panasonic and Sony.
The Panasonic model is called the HX-A500 and it can capture up to 32 minutes of 4K footage at 25 frames per second.
As for the Sony camera, it’s called the X1000V and it does ultra HD video at 30 fps and can create up to 30 minutes of video.
None of these are cheap by the standards of a normal Full HD action camera but none of them cost more than $500 either.
Again, they also require only a decent SD memory and the ability to transfer the video from the memory to your PC.
DSLRs, Camcorders and Professional 4K production Cameras
Finally, to finish this off, we come to the range of full,, proper video cameras that can shoot ultra HD videos.
Even among these, there is an enormous range of prices and specs that you can choose from depending on how much video you plan on shooting and to what end.
At the lower end, you have your consumer grade 4K camcorders like the Sony FDR-AX100, the Panasonic HC-WX970 and HC-VX870 camcorders and the JVC line of camcorders which consist of the GY-LS300, GY-HM200 and the GY-HM170. All of these cost between $1500 and $4,000.
Then you have your 4K UHD DSLR cameras such as the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4K, Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 4K QFHD/HD 16X Long Zoom Digital Camera.
These are some popular brands with excellent 4K video recording ability and prices that range between less than $1000 and $2,500.
Finally. At the higher end, if you want to seriously invest in 4K video recording at a professional level, some of the best cameras on the market with prices that are considered affordable for their class include models like the RED Scarlet and Dragon series of pro video production cameras and the BlackMagic models such as the Blackmagic URSA camera and it’s lighter cousin the BlackMagic Design Production Camera.
These cost more than their DSLR counterparts and with accessories can run to well over $10,000 on their final price tag.
Here are some of our Favorite 4k Videos on YouTube:
Go Beyond” 4K Ultra HD Time Lapse