What is Video Resolution?
Basics of Video Resolution
The video resolution is the number of pixels that could be displayed in a given area that is usually calculated by the width and the height. For example when the resolution of a video is 1024 X 768 that means that there are 1024 pixels in the width of the video and 768 pixels in the height of the video.
It is the video resolution that helps us clearly see the video image. The higher the video resolution’s value, the clearer and sharper the video is going to be.
Many monitors, including those on smartphones, are racking up 4k and even 8k offerings. Regardless if it is for professional reasons or personal purchases, having a basic understanding of video resolution is well worth the effort today. Those who create videos regularly also need a basic set of knowledge of resolution concepts.
Video resolution is an option that must be chosen from a menu at the time of the shooting. When processing or developing the video, other pieces or clips could be added. The result is that all video segments must be in the same resolution not to have any distorted areas in your film. Even
uploading the video online, a user is tasked with which resolution option they would like to have the video uploaded. It isn’t as easy as point and click, for all the video clips that form your film should all have the same resolution throughout. It impacts the quality and view-ability of the content, and we all want great content!
You have noticed for some time that movies and television shows are offered in standard definition and high definition – but what exactly does that mean? The standard definition is typically a video resolution of 640 x 360 or 640 x 480 for videos. On DVDs, it can be 720 x 480 or 720 x 576. These values are good for viewing, but sometimes people want to have clearly defined film, sharper images, brighter color, and more. Some movies are much better viewed in high definition or HD, like Star Wars. The values typically used for HD video can be 1280 x 720 (720p) or 1920 x 1080 (1080p). 1080p is also known as ‘full HD.’
Is Video Resolution the Same as Video Compression?
Not exactly. Video resolution is referring to the size or number of pixels in the frame. Due to large file sizes, there may be times that the file size may need to be reduced. Like any file you work with, large sets of files you need to send to someone, so you zip them and make them smaller to send over the internet more compactly.
Video compression is similar. It is changing the size of the video. If you have a 1080p video, it may be too large to work with effectively, so there may be a need to shrink it (compress) to 720p or even down to SD.
There may be a need when uploading a film to your computer or phone that you may need to change the size of the file to get it to transfer. Be forewarned. Only increasing video resolution does not improve video quality. The video file size will grow, but the quality or clarity of the film will not. Increasing video size changes the file size but is not compression, but is similar.
When you reduce the amount of data or the video’s file size, this is video compression. So, yes, it is far different from the term video resolution and its meaning. The usual process for data compression is to decrease or remove unwanted data from the video. This in no way means that you lose any data, except any parts that are specifically removed. Reducing the size of the data compresses it into a smaller file size.
There are benefits to using video compression. It becomes essential in day-to-day tasks like storing or sharing video files. It can be frustrating to try to send a video to someone, and you receive an error message ‘file size exceeds limitations.’ Large video files can be burdensome or even a heavy load to transfer across the internet or email. On some devices, compressing video files clears up available free space.
Industry standards vary, but the latest standard used for video compression is High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). HVEC doubles the amount of information compressed without compromising the quality of the video. The resolutions extend up to 8K UHD or 8192 x 4320.
While video resolution and compression are often discussed simultaneously, both are uniquely essential in understanding how video files work, are compressed, or are displayed. The difference that breaks down to that video resolution is the numerical value of the output display in pixels, and compression refers to reducing the file’s size.
Which Resolution Works Best with Video?
While this is a great question, there is no single answer. The resolution that works best when recording video depends significantly on how the video will be displayed. How do you want to watch the finished film or video file? Will this video be displayed on a mobile device, a desktop monitor, a big screen TV, or a movie theater? Here are some different resolutions that work best with their corresponding output device.
- 360p – This is a low resolution that works well on smaller screens such as mobile devices.
- 480p – This is an industry-standard resolution for burning video onto a CD.
- 720p – This resolution is when you hit high definition (HD) video playback and is standard for television viewing.
- 1080p – This value is considered “Full HD.” It is also used for television viewing.
- Ultra HD 4K – This is a 16:9 resolution on televisions used for 4K broadcast.
- Cinema 4K – The resolution here is noted as 1.9:1 and is used in cinema projection with larger screens.
So, which is best? The one that plays back the best during viewing. If the recording is meant to be played on television, such as a new company commercial, then it should minimally be recorded in 720p. However, you may get a better picture at a higher level like the Ultra HD 4k.
What Determines Video Quality?
Now that you have a basic understanding of video resolution and video compression and that there are other important factors determining video quality? Yes. However, the main things that determine video quality can be slightly different between uncompressed video files and compressed video files.
Factors That Impact Uncompressed Video Quality
- Video Resolution – Video resolution is primary since the resolution is expressed as the number of pixels.
- Video Frame Rate – This is the FPS or frames per second shown in the video’s playback. This can vary and impact video quality.
- Macroblock – This describes the function level of the processing unit used with image and video compression.
Additional Factors That Impact Compressed Video Quality
- Bit Rate – This number describes the number of bits processed per second.
- Color Depth – Displayed as the number of bits that demonstrate the color of the specified pixel.
- Bit Control Mode – A macroblock regulates the number of bits for a given frame.
Where Do I Start?
Many factors play into video quality. If you are shooting videos to share with your family and friends, your cell phone is likely your best option. If you are serious about creating great video shots for various uses, the best advice is this, practice, practice, practice. While shooting video for fun, try out a variety of resolutions and compression settings. You can learn the best methods for creating a video for slow motion, high-energy action, or corporate video presentations.
Take your time learning the variety of ways to shoot video. Then you should try different methods to upload your new video data. Which method works best for your projects? Learn all that you can about the factors that impact your video quality, and soon you will be a video expert.