First F1 video footage shot in 4K resolution in Korea

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The Korean Grand Prix was a feast for F1 technophiles – not only was Lewis Hamilton roaming the paddock wearing Google Glass but one fan got what appears to be the first footage of a Formula One race shot in 4K quality.

The ultra high definition videos were shot using a Galaxy Note 3 phone produced by South Korean company Samsung.

Mainstream UHD broadcasts are a long way off but next year a Japanese broadcaster is planning to show some World Cup football matches in 4K quality.

F1’s first high definition broadcasts began in 2011.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “First F1 video footage shot in 4K resolution in Korea”

  1. Well done sir, decent camera work too given it’s just a phone!

    1. What’s particularly impressive, to me at least, is the quality of the images when paused. Imagine UHD broadcasts available online, combined with the live timing and other gizmos. I for one would pay real money for that.

      1. Even the HD broadcasts these days are only in 720p. Sadly, we are a long way off 1080p let alone 4k.

        1. Even an inexpensive (yet energy-efficient) piece of hardware like the Raspberry Pi is capable of real-time decoding most 1080p content and it only uses about 2.5 to 3.5 watt in the process. Since most modern smartphones and tablets are at least twice as powerful, computing power isn’t an issue.

          With higher resolutions, the required amount of bandwidth grows very fast – that’s true for satellite, cable and any form of internet streaming. A good quality 720p stream can be done at >3,000kbps and I wouldn’t want to watch 1080p below 6,000kbps. 4k would require something to the order of 18,000kbps or higher (depending on the codec).

          Or to make a reasonable comparison: cable companies have the choice of offering about 100 HD programs at a 720p resolution, or they could offer 16 stations @ 4k. Without the use of advanced and completely different algorithms – which would require the very expensive replacement of all hardware at both ends of the line – the total bandwidth is severely limited and even today, companies have to limit the number of channels they can offer.

          1. Current 720p/1080i streams are encoded using H.264. The idea is that 4K (or 2160p to be precise) would be encoded using H.265 which uses much more efficient compression. True, equipment would need to be upgraded, but bandwidth demands would stay reasonable.

          2. @asingh1 the new HEVC (H265) codec would improve bandwidth efficiency by 35.4% over the current H264 at a comparable stream quality.

            Frankly, 11,000 to 12,000kbps for a 4k video is a good step forward, but it hasn’t solved the general bandwidth problem this would cause.

            Until there is sufficient infrastructure, to provide wide-spread 4k content to the everyday user, ultra HD will remain a gimmick which is used to sell the newest over-the-top hardware to tech enthusiasts.

            FOM wasn’t on the forefront of HD content and only provided the current streaming quality, after a large enough number of stations could actually use it.

            The same will happen with this next proposed step. We’ll see some early test streams in a few years, but since we don’t have the total bandwidth to receive more than a select few stations in that resolution and quality, people won’t be buying expensive 4k displays yet. I’d be HUGELY surprised, if I’d see the official FOM stream in 4k quality this side of 2020.

        2. Are there more frames per second in a 4k resolution video file? Higher FPS would surely be more responsible for pause image quality.

          When I tried to watch in “Original HD” (first time I’ve seen that option)… it crashed my display drivers on my laptop… haha.

          1. @nick-uk

            Actually, Nick, the resolution usually has no bearing on what fps the image is shot at. However, as far as I know the Galaxy Note 3 shoots 4K at 30fps, which is pretty good. To put that into perspective, HD movies in 1080p now days are shot at 24fps and in case you’ve happened to see the Hobbit that was the first one to be shot at 48fps.

            So, yeah, 30fps is still pretty good although when it comes to slow-motion replays it might not be that pretty.

  2. Amazing!

  3. This may be a dumb question but isn’t the resolution you see limited by the pixel resolution of your display? That is, if my monitor is 720×420, is there any noticeable difference between 4k ultra hd and blurry outdated 1080p?

    1. Yes it is.

      If that video above really is 4K resolution, you’d only get the true effect on a 4K screen or television. As nice as it looks in 1080p on YouTube, a full 4K image will look a lot sharper than that on a proper 4K screen.

      1. And when I say ‘Yes it is’, I don’t mean that you’re asking a dumb question. That wasn’t what I meant!

      2. I tried loading in 4k but my computer wouldn’t even buffer the darn thing. Must be some very seriously awesome quality…

    2. Correct. How can you view, say 1080p, if your display doesn’t have that many pixels(1080/1920)?

    3. This video is shot in 4K UDH, which means it has a 3,840 × 2,160 pixel resolution, or 2160p. This resolution is wasted on all but the highest end kit

    4. It’s normal on iPads, I know that much! I have a 2 and it makes absolutely no difference to me so I might try it on an HD TV.

      1. Nope – you will need a UHD TV. Apparently they are already widely available. Here is one at a true bargain of a price:

        1. Sweet. A practical way to see the 4k res is to play the video in an apple store – the retina display can play 4k I’m sure. Highest end MacBook Pro or newest iPad. First time I saw it, I knew that when it hits commercial tv it will be great. Another ten years though most likely.


    I agree that 4K resolution seems to be the future and that F1 should be looking into it, rather than the gimmickry that is 3D television.

    However, Formula 1 and FOM are laughably slow on the uptake when it comes to broadcasting technology – which is pathetic for a sport that is supposed to be a showcase of state-of-the-art technology – so I won’t hold my breath for it to happen in, oh, the next decade…

    1. I guess we should wait until 2020.

    2. Luckily I’ve seen a giant UHD screen and it was absolutely fantastic (no seriously, the store owner the guys who installed it and me watched the special purpose footage for ages) and I’d love to have F1 like that.
      I mean imagine the possibilities, you can have the race and two smaller windows both still in 720p showing other stuff happening as an overlay or have the original F1 live timing in a window next to the live footage and it won’t even have to take up much of the screen because the resolution is high enough to make the timing window rather small. Basically what I’m saying is, you can have everything that I do with my TV, tablet and laptop every weekend all in one screen without it being completely crowded. Or simply have the regular footage in the big screen and your favourite onboard in a high res window.
      Well, none of that will ever happen, FOM people will just keep pretending that there are some rights problems that prevent them from doing things even when in 5 years the cost will have come down to regular HD levels. Good thing I still do have my TV, tablet and laptop at hand whenever I like.

      1. I would be very surprised if FOM suddenly started broadcasting in 3D, after the Sky experiment (which FOM predated by doing their own in 2009 and 2010), 3D hasn’t been mentioned since, so I doubt that will ever take off. Ultra HD yes. Currently I can watch multiple streams in one window via Sky & the BBC’s live sports players. I suspect FOM will go to UHD around 2016 or 2015. There was a report on the BBC website a few days ago saying that there are no other UHD broadcasts planned regularly until around 2015 anyway, so why would they spend all that money setting things up if no-one is going to watch them? It’s a waste. Freeview only went HD for the entire UK in 2012…

        1. FOM won’t be going 3D or U-HD anytime soon unless the technology takes off massively & becomes widely available.

          People complain about how slow they were at moving to HD but them waiting was perfectly reasonable given how few of F1’s broadcast partners were capable of broadcasting in HD up until 2011.

          In 2009 for example less than 5 of F1’s worldwide broadcasters would have picked up a HD broadcast.
          Although the BBC had BBC-HD, They had heavy restrictions on when that test channel could run & how much sport content it could show so its doubtful the BBC would have picked up the HD feed (They didn’t take the MotoGP HD feed for example).

          With regards to Widescreen, The delay on that was down to the local host broadcasters we relied upon to produce the race broadcasts up until 2007. Some could not produce a widescreen broadcast & we didn’t want it changing from 4:3 to 16:9 every week depending on what the local host was able to do.
          In 2007 FOM took over the majority of race broadcast’s & the locals who held on (Monaco, Japan & Brazil) were able to produce in widescreen so we took the world feed widescreen.

          The thing to remember with the F1 broadcast is that were producing a world feed which every broadcaster picks up so we had to think about all the broadcast partners rather than just 1 or 2 who may be ahead in terms of what formats they can broadcast in.
          If you take Nascar, Indycar & similar they don’t produce a world feed, The race broadcast is produced by the broadcaster (Fox, ESPN, NBC) for the broadcaster. If Fox want Nascar in 3D then because Fox produce the broadcast they simply take there own 3D cameras & have there Fox-3D broadcast made specifically for Fox Sports.

          FOM can’t do that as they don’t produce the broadcast for any 1 broadcaster.

          With 3D as I understand it only 3 of F1’s broadcasters (Sky UK, Sky Germany & Sky Italy) could carry an F1 in 3D broadcast so its simply not worth spending a fortune upgrading all the equipment to produce a 3D broadcast that only 3 broadcasters could actually show.

          1. yes, that. I notice (going by the raw feeds that were shown at Biggin Hill during the Singapore GP Tata demonstration) that FOM still produce a live rolling highlights channel. Do any broadcasters worldwide actually take it? Sky & BBC don’t yet they broadcast the other FOM “additional content” channels.

          2. @fom-fan
            Sky Germany show the highlights feed for Qualifying & The race. Sky Italy take it for every session. There’s also an online service in Finland which carry it.

            The new rolling highlights feed was launched in 2010 along with the tracker. Its basically the same as what we used to do on the digital ppv service, constantly updated highlights with the F1 replay sting signalling the start/end of each loop.
            Not sure how it differs from the highlights that are shown at the end of each session, I’d expect it to be broadly similar although it may contain a few extra shots.

            Not sure why the BBC don’t carry it but knowing how Sky operate its likely that they want you to watch there coverage & see there highlights because they always tend to think they know what you want to watch & how you want to watch it.
            This is probably why they have the pit channel on for as little time as possible, Forcing you into there Pre & Post session coverage rather than watching what FOM are doing.

            Was the same with A1GP, We produced a good pre/post race broadcast yet Sky always went with there own studio based stuff.
            I say ‘we’ because when I left FOM at the end of 2007 I went over to work some races in 2008/2009 for A1GP Productions which was basically most of the EX-FOM staff who lost out at the end of 2002 when the digital service went under.

          3. Oh yes, Sky’s frankly inconsistent (sometimes they switch it on early pre-session, other times they don’t) timings for the extra channels **** me off, but the BBC is the same as well (although usually not as bad, they switched the pitlane channel on a full 40mins before Sky did at Brazil 2012). Sometimes we get lucky and they actually let it run on to the “Additional Content” slide at the very end, but other times they just cut it off randomly. It’s nice to know that finally the level of extra channels is approaching F1D+ levels, after 10 years xD. Now all we need is the “Track A & B” channels and we’d be sorted.

  5. Korea and Japan are kicking Western countries’ asses when it comes to UHD and stuffs.

  6. What I see, when I watch these clips, is proof that frame rate is far more important than resolution.

    Surely it’s better (particularly for sports) to have an image that doesn’t blur (or skip) as soon as it moves?

    Nice freeze-frames, though!

    1. I think that’s more to do with the shutter speed as opposed to frame rate. The FR should be a standard 24/25/30 fps, but with camera phones the shutter speed (along with ISO and aperture) are often restricted to ‘auto’ settings, resulting in a shutter speed too slow for the frame rate.

  7. What’s the point of watching it on YouTube? YouTube doesn’t support true 4k resolution. So even if you had a 4k display, you wouldn’t be watching a 4k video….

    1. It does. Just click on the resolution icon then select “Original” right at the top. The original resolution in this case would be 4k.

      HOWEVER, barely nobody has a 4K resolution monitor/TV, so there would be ZERO difference.

    2. YouTube has been supporting 4k for more than three years – your screen and graphics card are unlikely to support it though at the moment! See announcement at:


      1. In 2012 they cut their “4k” resolution right back, somewhere in the range of 2000/1500. So its not actually outputting real 4k video

        1. totally NOT true. it’s easy to verify the “original” res file is UHD:
          Video: MPEG4 Video (H264) 3840×2160 29.97fps 28426kbps (2160p)
          Audio: AAC 44100Hz stereo 191kbps
          there are plenty of genuine 2k and UHD files on youtube which u can check.

  8. I don’t understand the hype, this footage looks terrible. My screen is limited to 2K (as I assume most people’s are), and it looked as good as any amateur HD footage. As soon as anything moved on screen you could see the limitations of this tiny camera. The footage was blurry, jerky and the high compression destroyed what was left of the images afterwards.

    The camera’s FOM operate are superior in every way except for ‘resolution’… but if you capture that much light and detail through a lens only a few millimeters across on a camera, it’s never going to look good anyway. Expensive giant lenses, optical stabilizers and a physically large CCD purpose built for moving images will always look better than a tiny CCD behind a tiny lens that supposedly captures ‘4K’. Don’t get me wrong, 4K will be amazing, but right now that’s not to be the limiting factor in consumer equipment.

    This is like having F1 levels of downforce on a shopping cart. It’s only impressive in theory.

    1. @bs Shhhh.

      You’re not supposed to point that out. The appropriate response is “omg 4k waaaat amazing! Why does bernie hate us? ” inconvenient facts aren’t helpful.

      1. I don’t think anyone wanted FOM to film F1 on a mobile phone for people to watch it on a radio clock display. Sony and RED and other 4k cameras have been around for quite some time and will improve and get cheaper, UHDTVs are already at a 4k price tag (how fitting), if people wanted to we could have a nice selection of channels in UHD in 5 years but nobody feels addressed when people start talking about technical advancements and nobody wants to pay for it (and yes, that includes consumers).
        This is explicitly not directed at you, but: If there were the same attitude in the mobile phone sector we’d still be running around with small screen brick phones because “the touch screen technology isn’t ideal yet, you can’t use a pencil to doodle away on it and use 17 finger multi touch at the same time” and “what’s the use of 3g if there are no devices that an use it” and “who wants to view the internets on such a screen” and “HD screens in that format, nobodies eyes will ever see a difference to 160x160pixel screens”. If people can carry around new 800 whatever western currency you like phones with no visible benefit every year and throw around words like retina display without even knowing what it is I don’t understand how they can still endure watching low res television. But I’m sure once Apple releases a TV everyone will be impressed how that company invented higher resolution television. And I’m not against said company, I even own products they produce.
        I don’t even know where to buy SDTVs anymore these days but still in Germany 95% of channels are still broadcasting that way without even the option to have HD and even the HD isn’t real HD. Its not Bernies fault at all but his company could still do a lot better than they are now.
        Sorry for the rant, it is over now.

        1. This is not filmed by FOM. It’s filmed by a representative from Samsung, on a bloomin’ mobile phone. Samsung aren’t even affiliated with FOM anyway, that would be their competitor LG.

    2. @bs – I hope you have changed the quality from the default of 360p to Original HD (or at least to 1080p). Your description of “blurry, jerky and the high compression destroyed what was left” appears to indicate you left it on 360p.

      I agree that the footage is far from perfect, but it is great for a phone camera.

      1. On original. The still quality looked as good as any HD phone footage on my 1920×1200 monitor. As soon as anything moves I thought it looked terrible though. Extremely impressive for a device of less than a square centimeter, but incomparable to a good digital camera with a less than 4K chip.

  9. This is so funny!

    Actually YouTube now supports 1440p but the resolution you are watching is the standard is 360p. You have to go and select the 1440p option to enjoy any of this and to get the full treat of course you also need a 1440p monitor. I bet there are not many of those around since were all on laptops these days. I think only the serious gamers will be able to see how good the resolution is. (Resolution only – video quality is rather poor.)

    1. @poul – As I mentioned above, YouTube supports up to 4k – you need to chose “Original HD” to get the 4k footage. 1440p is already downsized.

      1. It may well support it, but very few people will be able to actually watch it. If your screen has 800 lines of resolution then thats what you’re going to watch.

  10. Further proof that ability is much more important than resolution.

    A lot of people still don’t have HD tv’s and a lot of broadcasts are still in “SD”.

    While I’m sure any true 4K displays do look fantastic when showing the appropriate media, there is roughly 25x the resolution and that’s going to take a hell of a long time to get into peoples homes.

    1. 25 times?? You don’t know what 4k is do you? :-)

      1080p is 2k resolution while 1440p is 4k, hence is 4k is simply two times the amount of pixels you find in 1080p.

      1. Nope, that’s not how i understand it.
        4K comes in various flavours, but they all more or less have 8 Megapixels.
        They correspond for example to the doubling of the FullHD resolution, hence 3840×2160

        So it’s actually 4 times more pixels than in 1080p.

        1. Yes, 4 times more. But, in terms of bandwith/storage, it will require 4^4 (16) more.

        2. True. Technically 2K and 4K are Digital Cinema standard and actually stick to the binary resolutions 2048 and 4096, although Quad HD is also sometimes confusingly referred to as 4K. I have no idea why they chose to introduce 1920 as a new standard over 2048…

          The step from SD to Quad HD in terms of the amount of pixels is indeed roughly 25 times.

          1. Travis Humphery (@)
            9th October 2013, 14:11

            Oh and why they chose 1920 as a new standard probably has the same reasoning as the whole gigabyte not actually being a true gigabyte ;)

        3. Thank, I didn’t know that, but it makes little difference, as I cannot view either resolution on any of my hardware.

          And here is the real problem:
          Even at just 3 meters with a 60″ TV the retina resolution is too small for viewing 3840 pixel horizontal resolution. The retina resolution is about 1/60 of a degree so in a 53 degree viewing angle (which I think most people will find too close) the highest resolution you can benefit from will be 3180 horizontal points. At 2.5 meters you are getting close (3720 points) but I think I would get dizzy at that distance.

  11. it doesnt matter how high the resolution is when youre filming using a tiny phone camera lense

  12. i doubt most people are watching this on a 4k monitor. in that case you are not looking at 4k. so not sure what everyone is impressed about.

  13. I would far rather have F1 3D than in ultra HD.

  14. Well, yes it looks impressive but 4k only really works on big 60″+ TVs.
    Also, Youtube should really consider supporting 50-60 frames per second videos, I’m sure a video like that would be even more impressive and we could all see it no matter the size of the monitor.

    1. Erhm no – the very first UHD TV’s that can actually support this resolution are 85″ and I somewhat doubt it will ever become a new standard – simply because at normal need to be too close to the screen to even enjoy the resolution.

      1. Nobody needs anything. Just go to the next shop that has one, look at it showing actual 4k footage and tell me you’re not impressed. I’ve seen them from 110″ to 50″, OLED versions and even a 20″ tablet and yes I’ve also seen one in a regular store here next to tons of other 1080p TVs and my simple, unqualified, inferior, unworthy eyes were blown away by most of them when shown actual UHD footage. Also I would gladly rearrange my living room in order to enjoy the experience on a 85″ TV :P. And in 2025 I’l go to a 110″ 8k version :D that is probably not useful for anything but I just love technology (one of the reasons I love F1).

        1. Well, in order to ever notice any difference between your 4k and your 8k you will have to be closer than 88″ from your 110″ screen. :-)

          A 20″ tablet is hardly a tablet anymore – but I don’t think I could stand having it 16″ from my eyes, lol.

  15. So at least with that film I can see why Van Der garde got done for putting Bianchi in the pit exit

  16. My pc is not even built for it :P

  17. I’m not exactly sure why people are comparing this small snippet which is surely just a proof of concept on a mobile phone vs the FOM feed. I think the point here is, wouldn’t it be great if FOM adopted 1080p at the very least, or even jump to 4K, so that consumers had the choice of how to watch their race, dependent on their TV sets?

  18. Funny. This footage is useless, and I weep for those who got “fooled” thinking they were watching at 4k resolution.

    Firstly, you NEED to have something more than 1080p (screen/TV/monitor) to see any difference. Secondly, you need to manually adjust the resolution to “Original” in the video to see it at that resolution.

  19. A 4K screen is scary in-person. Can you imagine the bandwidth/GBs needed for a 4K broadcast? Funny thing is that the F1 races are not even in HD in Korea. Ok, not so funny. Sometimes I can’t even read the small print on Star Sports.

  20. 4K can be fine at 10-13mb as matter streaming. I own a 4K 60p LG and Neflix 4K is totall great not passing the 13mbit with the image much better than 1080. Soon the HEVC (H265) will be start and the gain in bandwidth of 25-35% will make F1 at 4K a feasable scenario but im afraid F1 it follows all this pretty slowly so i dont count for something in 4K as matter F1 side earlier than 2016 at least.

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