Video Image Quality

A Word on Video Image Quality

I talked about the nebulous word 'quality' in video production in another blog, but it's worth a minute specifically on video image quality which may help your output look a little better (if you aren't hiring a pro to shoot for you). HD is a very familiar term but there is a sliding scale of High Definition depending on how the image is recorded. Terms like 4K, 1080i, 1080p and 720p may also be in your vocabulary but shooting 1080i on your camcorder is not going to yield a result that compares with the 1080i that the BBC broadcast (ignoring the proficiencies of the cameraman!). The difference is in the Bit Rate and image compression used. Squeezing a lot of video data onto those tiny SD cards means information gets lost, and that can show up in the finished product.

Uploading to the web

What can compound the problem is if the finished video is then compressed again for upload to the web. As broadband speeds have increased, viewing HD online has become commonplace, so don't feel the need to throw away the quality you have by creating tiny web files. Yes, a larger file will take longer to upload, but this can be left running overnight so it doesn't hog your bandwidth during office hours. Quality and speed for everyone will only increase as time goes on, so sub-optimal videos will look out of date very quickly. We all know that seeing a video that is not in widescreen seems very antiquated already. For webcams and lower resolution cameras (even the great GoPro suffers from this a little) a key thing to be wary of is low light. Low light is the enemy of sharp footage, so do whatever you can to get lots of light into the shooting environment. Avoid backlighting (standing with a window or light source behind you) as the camera will either fail to expose properly or, more likely, boost the signal and with it the graininess. HD is available to many, not the few. Make sure you're not sabotaging what it can offer.