Finding 4k Reference Content for the Planar UltraRes and Clarity Matrix LCD Video Walls
As people are using the Planar® UltraRes™ or building video walls using Clarity® Matrix™ for demonstration, art, or ambiance, we get questions from our reseller partners and their clients as to where they can find content to show off the incredible resolution and visual performance of these displays.
For instance, a 3x3 Clarity Matrix of our MX-46 is over 5,760 pixels wide and the ultra HD resolution of the Planar UltraRes measured 3840 x 2160 pixels on a single 84” display canvas. Although these displays can certainly show video content from traditional sources like BluRay or PC sources, and can upscale 1080p content beautifully, nothing beats native resolution art and video on these displays.
There are a variety of stock photography and video houses that provide high-resolution imagery and video that could be used to transform your UltraRes or Matrix wall from entertainment to art. Most have online collections numbering in the millions that you can browse, preview in “light box” mode, and license in multiple resolutions. Remember that most of this photography or illustrations were created for print, which requires very high resolution artwork (much greater than what is typical for even UHD video). On the video side, the growth of 4k (or higher) resolution video has been stunning, as more and more people utilize.
Here are a few of our favorites:
• Pond5: Their collection features photography, video, and illustrations. They offer week’s free downloads so that you can test content. Click on “Video” and type in “4k” to the search field to reveal thousands of video clips that might be perfect for your application. Prices can vary (most well under $100) and all are covered by a royalty-free license.
• ArtBeats: They specialize in video footage, up to 4K resolution, and offer a free research service to find the perfect piece for you. They have assembled a 4k demo reel that includes a variety of nature imagery in stunning resolution.
• CorbisIMAGES and CorbisMotion: Their collection includes world events and fine art, including celebrities and archival imagery of note. Their video footage is HD.
• Fotosearch: they are an aggregator of professional images and footage and are a favorite of corporate brands.
• iStockPhoto.com (owned by Getty Images): Their collection also features photography, video, illustrations, and Flash animations. They represent several video artists and agencies and can even broker custom commissions. Their video content goes up to 1080p resolution, but the still imagery library is extensive.
• gettyimages: One of the leading sources for journalists, their collection includes a variety of entertainment and sports imagery featuring celebrities and professional athletes. Their video collection is HD, but the stills are high quality and give your displays timely relevance.
Of course, there is a vibrant and growing community of video artists that are using a digital canvas to create incredible artwork by custom commission or for license. You can find their work featured in museums, galleries, and online. You’ll see their work in commercial projects in hotels, airports, and the like. They exhibit at art shows for private and institutional collectors like Art Basel, Art Expo, and in galleries for Art Week in New York, Los Angeles, and Milan. Others have roots in commercial motion graphics and do custom work for advertising or promotional purposes. We have developed some relationships of our own with these artists and agencies, and would be happy to make a recommendation if you are looking to commission a custom piece. Some of our favorite artists have experience not only with 4k content development, but also have created content for sculptural architectural video walls, like the Planar® Mosaic™.
If you are looking for produced 4k content, we would highly recommend the TimeScapes movie, which was the first to be available in 4k download. This amazing content was captured over a two year period, in 4k, by award-winning cinematographer and director, Tom Lowe and featured stunning slow-motion and timelapse cinematography of landscapes, people and wildlife of the American South West. A QHD version is also available that looks incredible on Planar’s PXL2790 27” monitor.
And let’s not forget that you don’t have to look past your own camera as a source of art. 9 megapixel or higher digital cameras are very common and produce native photography that is larger than native pixel of most video wall or UltraRes installations. In fact, even today’s cell phone cameras can produce 4k imagery suitable for display. Your own family photos, vacation pictures, and the like can become beautiful digital wallpaper on your video wall or display. For higher-than-HD resolution video, you might just want to splurge on a RED digital camera and turn yourself into a filmmaker in your own right. This is exactly what Planar customer, Elemental did to create some sample content for their own testing and for their customers.
As the adoption of these technologies grow, I expect more artists and agencies to develop content. As an example of this growing trend, cinematographer Jacob Schwartz has posted a lovely collection of 4k travel and motion graphic content on YouTube (where you select “original” in the resolution menu to view). This summer he traveled to Myanmar to capture the architecture and people in stunning 4k detail. And we expect more to come from artists like Jacob.
In the next blog post in this series, we will help you identify what to look for in content that is optimized for best performance on 4k (or higher) resolution displays from Planar.