4K Ultra HD and general viewing notes

To provide you an ad-free viewing experience with over 560 videos that you can share with however many, Google Drive is used to serve 4K 10 bit video previews. No need for logging in!

There are steep hardware and display requirements for 4K HEVC video playback. 1080p and lower previews are still h.264 and widely compatible. Here are PC specifications needed for playing 10 bit 4K:

Windows Desktop PC
CPU7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, AMD Ryzen equivalent or newer
Graphics cardNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 equivalent or better
RAM4 GB or more
OS
Display
Software
Windows 7 or later
3820×2160 resolution, Rec. 2020 color primaries capable
Editor or player that supports HEVC 10 bit

For Macs, a ‘Pro’ model from 2016 on with a 4K monitor may suffice to handle 4K.

Some phones, but not most, will be able to play the files as they are not all equipped with 4K screens or specs.

With the advent of 10 bit HEVC in 2013 (the evolution of h.264, aka h.265, High Efficiency Video Codec- HEVC) banding gradients on shareable videos can be gone. Banding gradients on smooth areas (like skies) has always been the achilles heal of h.264- but HEVC eliminates it with the Main 10 profile. Now efficiency and quality can go hand in hand, but the hardware is not everywhere for everyone yet. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to provide high quality previews for all time-lapses on this site.

This site is in the process of providing high quality 4K previews to you- that work continues now. If you run into any color banding it means you are watching either an h.264 HD file or the file has not yet been updated.

Tip for best experience: the gear icon near the bottom right of the video player controls your video playback quality, but to view 4K the previews must be downloaded- see below. For HD and SD viewers, your streaming choices should also reflect your internet speed and computer specs. Collection files have all clips of a kind in one and are available soon (4/21).

10 bit video is being incorporated into available clip previews that will eventually eliminate color banding in all preview videos. All future clips will also be ‘natively’ 10 bit. Even so, these previews benefit massively from 10 bit*, and 4K HEVC files are at least half the size of a comparable h.264 file.

To easily download a 4K, 10 bit video file and watch it on your system:

Option 1: You will see a zip file in the sub-collections if that collection has 10 bit files. Expect all collections to have 10 bit files by 4.17.21. The zip file contains all 10 bit files from that category, simply unzip the file and play the files contained therein locally (VLC is not compatible on Windows with 10 bit files).

Or

1: With the file open in your browser, select the download icon on the top right of a video (see image for an example of where to click when viewing a video).

An example image from clip to do 4K downloads
A screenshot with arrow to indicate where the download button is in many browsers.

2: On Windows, the file is often saved in your ‘Downloads’ folder. AFTER the video has completely downloaded, play the files, (I recommend placing them in your video editor). Because of the dramatic quality increase thanks to 10 bit, I no longer only serve 8 bit files. Updated Windows Media Player should work without issue if it is up to date and your machine has the stats.

If you can’t play the files with the above specs and are fully updated, your device may not be HEVC compatible- you can still view and stream h.264 HD from this site!

Resolution guide for choosing the best for you:

3840×2160 (or greater): 4K Ultra HD (download only)

1920×1080 or above (but less than 4k): 1080p HD

1280×720 or above (but less than 1920×1080): 720p

Less than 1280×720: Standard definition 360p

Why streaming video dips in quality: When you open a video you may see video quality on this site start low; adjust your video resolution. ProRes previews are not currently available for all clips but create a proof request if you need to have some prior to purchase and license.

4K requirements are so steep because of the sheer amount of data moving in time-lapse clips. Specs that can barely run 1080p may run not as smooth because of the demands time-lapse puts on codecs to decompress.

*10 bit HEVC video player/editor required. See specs above.