New 8K Videos Introduced By YouTube Are So HD They Crash Computers
YouTube has recently launched new support for 8K video which allows people to watch new content in super high resolutions. The problem with this is almost no one can watch the videos without their computers running slow or crashing.
In 2010, YouTube announced that it would be allowing 8K videos on the site but it only added the label for them earlier this year. Now, the first videos to use the support for super high resolution has made it onto the site and it was edited on high power computers after being filmed with expensive camera equipment.
The first 8K video, Ghost Towns, is a two minute long film of someone walking through an abandoned town. The video has smooth panning shots and shows empty houses and their contents. Ghost Towns was created by using a RED Epic Dragon 6K camera which captures over nine times more pixels than an HD camera. The footage was then stitched together in order to create the full 8K video, which gives super sharp detail.
The filmmakers Marika and Luke Neumann had to film the video in portrait orientation and stitch the scenes together in Adobe After Effects as the camera only shoots in 6K rather than 8K. Other shots were upscaled from 6.1K to 7.1K in order to create higher resolution.
Ghost Towns runs on Safari and Chrome but the amount of processing power needed to watch the film means that many computers crash while users are trying to watch it. People have reported their fans running at full blast, the computer stopping and starting, as well temporarily stalling completely. The majority of people won’t be able to see the full effect of the film as the use of 4K monitors is limited.
YouTube checks the internet connection and computer specifications of each user when they try to play the video, as it does with all content. This means that the video can be watched in full 8K which is 4320p with options down to 1080p HD and the quality even goes lower to 144p which produces a very pixelated film. While a lot of internet bandwidth is needed to play the video, processing power is the real problem for most computers. 8K is sixteen times the resolution of 1080p HD and every frame features 7680×4320 pixels, much more than home computers are designed to deal with. Smartphones and tablets will have even more trouble with the high resolution video and may not even try to play it at higher settings at all.
While the majority of computers will have trouble with 8K, some users should be able to enjoy the video in smooth 4K if it is allowed to load, but stopping and starting has been a common problem. At higher resolutions the video will show a very sharp and detailed image.
4K has been touted as the future for television and ‘4K ready’ televisions are available to buy, but 4K broadcasts are not yet available to watch. 8K content looks to be even more elusive for the coming years. A new coding standard called High Efficiency Video Coding will halve the bandwidth requirements of 8K videos compared to the current standard. HEVC is already being used, but it is unlikely to make big changes in the very near future. The main focus of HEVC is to increase the efficiency of watching 4K and 1080p videos rather than 8K and further to this native 8K televisions are not currently available.
As native 8K monitors don’t currently exist, the purpose of making 8K videos may seem a little redundant. However, when the monitors do start to become available, people will want to have content that they can watch on them and, not least, manufacturers will want content that they can use to test their devices.
While 8K videos have been supported by YouTube since 2010, it has only been since this year that users have been given access to the settings that allow them to process, upload and publish the high resolution videos. One of the barriers to 8K video may also be the lack of equipment that is able to record them, as noted by Neumann Films who stitched the 6K videos of Ghost Towns together. But following this, we should expect to see more 4K and 8K videos appearing on YouTube, even if we’re not all able to watch them.