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Video Content Resolution Guide

Source Content Other

Various HD resolutions with the standard definition TV (SD) in the middle.


Pixel resolutions for cameras & compared resolutions for DVD types

Starting resolution of the original video content from HD down to DV. The higher up on the chart below equals higher quality picture and pixel resolution.



Color space

  • The Black to Gray to White part of the image - The eye is much more sensitive to luminosity or the black, gray and white portion of the image. This is designated by Y and called Luma for short. Luma is always kept as high as possible with video cameras.
  • Color part of the image: The color part of the image is in the R-Y and B-Y for analog type cameras and called Cr and Cb for digital type video cameras.
  • Older terms often used for color part of the image: To make it more confusing, the color space is sometimes referred to as U Chrominance for R-Y and V Chrominance for B-Y. U and V are carry overs from the European PAL TV standard and older systems. R-Y and B-Y and Cr and Cb are the correct terms.
  • 4:4:4:, 4:2:2, etc.: Numbers are used as a shorthand to describe the relationship between Luma and the color part of the image. 4:4:4 is full bandwidth for all parts of the image.You can get this from film to digital transfers and with some very high end, expensive HD cameras. 4:2:0 is MPEG-2 which is DVD. There are other combinations and special image processing with some cameras. Just like horsepower is not the only way to describe how a car works, these numbers are not the complete story of how the image looks.


  • Film Resolution

    Film, on the other hand is not divided up into Luma and color part of the image. The sharpness and color quality is dependent on the type of film. Daylight shots with high-quality film needs 4K of resolution, which is 4096 x 3072 pixels and night shots need half of that.The actual top end of film can go beyond 4K, but it is ascertained that an average audience member, sitting an average distance from the film, cannot make out resolution greater than 4K in daylight scenes.


    When film is transfered into the digital domain, it is done with the highest resolution possible for both Luma and color. 4K resolution is usually only used when working with digital special effects.


    The present highest quality HD camera can only capture about 94% of a 2K film transfer. This capture rate was used in the filming of the last 3 episodes of Star Wars.


    i=interlaced frames, p=progressive and non-interlaced frames.




    Format



    Y Luma

    R-Y & Cr

    B-Y & Cb

    35 mm daylight (4k) (some films will be better resolution but telecine uses this resolution to transfer the film to digital in progressive frames.)

    4096 x 3072

    4096 x 3072

    4096 x 3072

    35 mm night (2k used for telecine) progressive frames.

    2048 x 1536

    2048 x 1536

    2048 x 1536

    Super 16 mm (2k used for telecine) progressive frames.

    2048 x 1536

    2048 x 1536

    2048 x 1536

    HD 4:4:4, 10 bit (Sony F950, Viper Film Stream & Digital data recorders or HDCAM SR tape, 440 MB / sec) suggested for any special effects, blue or green screen

    1920 x 1080

    1920 x 1080

    1920 x 1080

    HD 4:2:2 (Sony F900 to D5 Panasonic VTR 5:1 compression 8 and 10 bit- 220 MB/sec)

    1920 x 1080

    860 x 590

    860 x 590

    HD 4:2:2 (Sony F900 compression 8 and 10 bit, HDCAM SR tape- 220 MB/sec)

    1920 x 1080

    860 x 590

    860 x 590

    DVC-Pro HD - 4:2:2 - 100 MB/sec(video compression 6.7:1 with variable frame rates)

    1920 x 1080i

    or

    960 x 720p

    960 x 720i

    or

    480 x 360p

    960 x 720i

    or

    480 x 360p

    HD Panasonic Varicam (compression 6.5:1, 8-bit, variable frame rates.)

    1280 x 720

    640 x 360

    640 x 360

    HDCAM (For presentation, 1440 is expanded to 1920 by software. 3:1:1 - 135 MB/sec)

    1440 x1080

    480 x 1080

    -

    HDV (MPEG 2 - compressed 5:1)

    1440 x 1080

    720 x 590

    -

    Sony FX1 and Z1 4:2:0

    960 x 1080

    480 x 540

    -

    Digi Beta 4:2:2 (compression 2:1, 10 bit)

    720 x 525

    360 x 262

    360 x 262

    Beta SP (4:2:2 MPEG 2 - analog)

    720 x 525

    360 x 262

    360 x 262

    DVC-Pro 50 (NTSC)

    720 x 480

    170 x 120

    170 x 120

    DV-CAM

    720 x 480

    170 x 120

    170 x 120

    DV (NTSC)

    720 x 480

    170 x 120

    -

    For comparison the DVD specs, encoded in MPEG-2, are:

    HD-DVD (Windows Media Codec H.264 VC-9 at 1080p)

    1920 x 1080

    960 x 540

    HD-DVD (Windows Media Codec H.264 VC-9 at 720p)

    1280 x 720

    640 x 360

    HD-Blue ray DVD

    1920 x 1080

    960 x 540

    Current DVD format

    720 x 486

    360 x 243