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NASA Are Posting Stunning 4k 60fps YouTube Videos

Much has been made of YouTube's recent edition of 60fps capability to its 4k videos. All of a sudden gamers are able to post lets plays at a resolution equal or closer to the output of their monstrous PCs and studios can upload films (either for free or via subscription) in gloriously high definition for everyone who uses the YouTube app on their television.

For the unaware, 4k is essentially 'ultra HD'. Full HD has a 1920 x 1080 pixel output, but 4k doles out 3840 x 2160, or 8 million pixels. It's not the highest resolution available, you can technically upload YouTube videos at a whopping 8k resolution, but the processing power you need to load videos that size is beyond the capability of all but the most powerful PCs. There are only a handful of cinematic cameras that can even shoot in 8k. 

It's going to be a fair old while before technology levels out in such a way that 8k resolution footage will be readily watchable (and easy to upload) for the proletariat, but in the mean time, NASA are making the most of the highest, most accessible resolution YouTube has to offer. 4k videos have been available on YouTube for a while, but now they can run at 60fps. Fps is 'Frames Per Second' and most standard videos run at 25 or 30fps, some TV shows and films run at 48fps (such as certain versions of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy). Most standard displays have a 24hz refresh rate (rounded up to 30) so with a standard 30fps video each frame is being refreshed twice every 30th of a second. Crank it up to 60 and the frame only refreshes once in that time. In layman's terms, it makes everything look much smoother and altogether more real.

It's typically favoured for video games, since those availed of a gaming PC are far more likely to have the capacity to run it, as well as the smoother frame rate making for a more responsive gaming experience, but the way it improves the fidelity of video feeds can make for some amazing space footage, as NASA have now demonstrated. 

The videos, taken directly from the International Space Station, will feature footage of space as well as of the astronauts hard at work keeping everything ticking along. Previously NASA have uploaded a few 4k videos but they were mostly time-lapses compiled from thousands of still images. Stunning, for sure, but not true videos (and likely painstaking to compile).

Now that NASA have clearly figured out a way to record and process ultra HD footage at high speed, the possibilities for amazing video documents and live feeds are endless. I can't think of a better use for the function, now it's just a matter of getting a computer that can actually run the videos without having an anxiety attack.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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NASA Are Posting Stunning 4k 60fps YouTube Videos Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, June 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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