I’ve mentioned before how I think you need to constantly step up your production value as a streamer or content creator. You’re more or less a one-person production team. It helps if you learn enough to be at least decent at many different sets of skills. Like videography, editing, audio recording, motion, and graphic design, to name a few. Sure the content itself and your message are the most critical, but I also think that quality is right up there. I have learned to look outside of streaming for experts in those other fields and learn from them. Here is a trick I pulled right out of a Gerald Undone video.
Gerald has a YouTube channel and covers many topics related to cameras, lighting, and sound equipment used in videography and photography. In a video about the Sony a7S III and a1, he talked about setting the camera’s internal video resolution higher than the output. So for the a1, setting it to 8K while setting the HDMI output to 4K. He found that it produced a sharper image than straight 4K. It seemed to be the full 8K video but downscaled.
While I was messing with my Panasonic Lumix G7, the camera I have set up for streaming, I noticed similar settings in the menu. So I decided to try this for myself. I set the Rec Quality setting to 4K, but the TV Connection > HDMI Mode to output 1080p. While I am no expert, I also found the image to be a little bit sharper. Sure it isn’t a world of difference, but it’s nice to get a little extra quality out of the gear you already own without having to buy anything new. All I did was output from the camera to my regular old Elgato Cam Link, not even the newer Cam Link 4K. Then I focused on the back of a DualSense Controller box from a few feet away and took these screen captures in OBS to compare.
Internet image compression may make it harder to see, but the edges of the letters are more well defined. The G7 makes it clear that it is downsampling by showing an on-screen warning. “AF performance may be temporarily degraded while down-converting HDMI Rec output (4K to 1080).” I did notice slightly slower autofocus speed, but nothing too drastic. Also, keep in mind that the G7 tops out at 30fps when set to record video at 4K. So if you’re not cool with having a 30fps camera on stream, go ahead and use the 1080p60 option. But know, you won’t be taking advantage of the extra sharpness. If you have a different camera that allows 4K60, you should try this trick and see what results you get.
Are there any creators outside of the gaming and streaming world that you enjoy and learn from a lot? Another of my favorites in the photo/video space is Peter McKinnon. And Podcastage is excellent for learning a little more about audio. Let me know yours in the comments.