You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand, and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realise it is also the most irrelevant. (The Architect, Matrix Reloaded).
Video Production Jargon Explained
Do the phrases SD, HD and 4K mean anything to you? Good. How about bitrate, H.264 or 60FPS. If this sounds unfamiliar, don’t worry. That’s what we here at Film Division are here for. Video Production has its own set of standards and guidelines much like most industries. So if we are going to work together, we want you to understand what we’re talking about and discussing ideas. So here are some of the most used words in our industry that you need to know about. Now get ready for some video production jargon.
One of the most common video production jargon that comes up is the resolution of the video footage. Digital video is made up of hundreds or in many cases thousands of pixels. The more pixels an image contains, the higher the quality of video. This is the fundamental difference between Standard Definition Video (SD), which has hundreds of pixels, and High Definition Video (HD), which has thousands. While in the UK the PAL standard for SD video is 720 pixels across the width of the video and 576 pixels in height. In the US the NTSC standard for SD video is 720 pixels across the width of the video and 480 pixels in height. High definition video has two general international standards. 720p is 1080 pixels across the width of the video and 720 pixels in height. 1080p is 1920 pixels across the width of the video and 1080 pixel in height and is currently the highest consumer and online quality available.
4K or Ultra High Definition is the standard used in most digital cinemas. 4K TV’s are available to buy now and if you have a good enough internet connection, you can stream 4K content. Providing you have a 4K monitor to see the difference it brings. To put it simply, 4K just means more detail and sharper images. For this reason, the size of the video files are much larger than that of HD. You need the storage space and the editing workflow to work in this format. This blog from a few weeks ago explains the 4K workflow in more detail.
Video or film is quite simply a series of single images being displayed in quick succession which creates movement. This is called the frame rate (FPS). Different countries have varying standards at which the speed of these images should be displayed for broadcast. In the UK for example the PAL standard requires that 25 of these images or frames be displayed every second that the video plays whilst in the US, the NTSC standard is 30 frames (images) a second. This is known as the frame rate.
White Balance / Colour Temperature
Our eyes are the best for dealing with light. They automatically adjust how much light they let in and can also determine the colour of that light. Cameras however, can’t do this.They can guess but they cannot truly tell what colour light or colour temperature they are filming in. So we have to tell them. This is called white balancing and involves calibrating the camera so that it adjusts to shooting in the current colour temperature.
Compression / Video File Types
Once the editing stage is complete, the video edit is exported out of the editing software and made into a video file. The video file created is different from the one created by the camera as it has been compressed down into a smaller video format suitable for a specific task. For example, an MPEG-2 file is ideal for a DVD as it is small enough to fit onto the disc.
- MPEG-2: Highly compressed file generally used for DVD.
- MPEG-4: Highly compressed for 1080p HD for web video such as Youtube.
- FLV/F4V: Highly compressed for Flash video players on the web.
- MOV: Slightly compressed, ideal for editing.
Colour Correction / Grading
This piece of video production jargon easily get mixed up with each other. Colour correction is matching shots together so that they look like they were shot in the same lighting environment. You would do this if you had to match footage from two different models of cameras, or video shot on a different day. Colour grading is adding a visual and creative grade to the shots. (i.e orange and red for a warm look for positivity or homeliness, white or blue for a clean or scientific “cold” look).
A lot of video production companies state that they shoot in broadcast quality. But what does that actually mean? Well broadcasters like the BBC have a standard to which programmes being shown on their channel should be created to. You have to use a certain technical level of camera to collect the right amount of colour information in your shots. The final video also needs to be delivered at a certain exposure, colour and audio level to pass quality control. While this is a good standard to adhere to, if your video isn’t going on television, shooting in broadcast quality doesn’t matter that much.
The Sony PMW-FS7
Now that you’re up to scratch with video production jargon, do you think its time make your first video?