Fotolia and Adobe Stock’s Oddly-Sized HD Resolutions September 1, 2016

I started submitting stock footage to Fotolia early in my career, but stopped when they didn’t prove to be much of a player for me. That changed when I heard that Adobe was buying them and incorporating stock footage into their Creative Cloud offerings under the name Adobe Stock. That decision to start submitting new material has been beneficial, and I continue to upload clips regularly. But lately, I’ve noticed something odd about my 4K resolution files.

More and more lately, I’ve been shooting new material at DCI 4K resolution, which is 4096×2160. This resolution is 256 pixels wider than a standard 3840×2160 Ultra-HD frame. I feel this larger, 17×9 aspect ratio is more beneficial as it appeals to those buyers who need 4096×2160 while at the same time still usable in Ultra-HD projects. If you only shoot 3840×2160, then you may be omitting yourself from buyers who specifically need 4096 pixel video.

All stock footage agencies these days thankfully down-convert 4K video to HD resolution for buyers who still only require HD. And with one exception, all agencies do this properly. Either they keep the original 17×9 aspect ration and provide a 2048×1080 video clip, or they “chop off” 128 pixels on either side of the video and offer a standard 1920×1080 file. Both options are acceptable since they maintain the all-important 1080 vertical resolution.

adobe-stock-1012But for some reason, Adobe–a multimedia company–decided to proportionally down-convert 4096-wide video to 1920 pixels. This is a problem since by favoring the horizontal resolution, they end up with a non-standard vertical resolution of 1012 pixels (see insert from Adobe Stock).

This is a tremendous oversight and a disservice to customers who need 1080 HD video. If a buyer downloads a 1920×1012 down-converted DCI 4K video clip from Fotolia or Adobe Stock, they now have to up-convert the video by 6.8% just to meet the standard 1080 vertical resolution. Sizing up is never a good idea, but Fotolia and Adobe Stock is requiring buyers to do so.

Of course, the alternative is to just license the full resolution 4K file and down-convert yourself properly. But are buyers–especially those on a budget–willing to pay more for 4K just to down-convert to a compliant HD resolution file? Probably not, and as a result, I’m sure contributors who shoot 4096×2160 are losing out on HD sales.

I asked Adobe Stock about this, and after awhile, I did get a response saying they were thankful for bringing this to their attention and that a solution will be worked out. But no timetable was given.

In the meantime, buyers will need to either up-convert their 1012 pixel files to 1080 or opt to license the original 4K resolution.

Or, find another clip or agency.

James Orlowski

James Orlowski is the owner of Orlowski Designs, LLC. He is an accomplished videographer and producer with nearly 20 years of video production.

A graduate from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Multimedia from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, he has years of experience shooting and selling stock footage on many of the major Internet-based microstock footage agencies.

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Orlowski Designs, LLC
4K Stock Footage and Media Production