|Posted on August 9, 2011 at 3:05 PM|
After you've decided to shoot a video, the next question should be, what format do I need it in?
SD refers to Standard Definition video platform versus HD (High Definition) video. In a nutshell, HD has higher resolution which records more detail but may get lost depending on how it's viewed. But we're not gonna discuss pixel counts and lines per inch, but do want to give you just enough information to help you make the right decision. Bottom line: A good producer should offer you the choice. And a great production company will talk you out of spending extra money on all unnecessary fees.
You need to know where your video will air. Will your project be aired on television? If so, cable or broadcast? Will your video be played on a standard definition channel or will it be on high definition channel? Is your project going straight to an optical disk? If so, DVD or Blu-Ray? What size tv will is be played on? How large will the file be? Will your project need to be available for cross platforms: TV, web and direct disk mail?
As technology is constantly changing, you may get confused thinking you must have your project shot on Hi-Def (HD) or whatever is hot and new this week. HD is really only good for real broadcast HD or direct-to-BluRay projects, as cable TV is still transmitting in standard definition. Yes, those local tv spots are aired in SD and your HD video will be downgraded to SD standards.
If your video goes straight to disk, then beware that although Blu-Ray can hold larger image files than DVD, DVD video looks best on monitor screens that are smaller than 36 inches. So what size monitor will your project be played on? Remember the Beta vs. BetaMax wars? How many people have Blu-Ray machines?
Not all web delivery can handle the bandwidth needed for HD due to heavy compression, image detail produced by these formats are far below that of broadcast HD, and often even inferior to DVD-Video when upscaled to the same size! So why not shoot SD?
If you plan on archiving footage for future editing then you may or may not air on blu-ray or high def channel, then choose HD. Yes image quality is great in HD but costs are higher due to the production company needing faster and larger computers to handle the editing of these videos.
In the end it's up to the client to decide, but don't be fooled that you MUST have the latest craze that may very well dig deep into your wallet. Remember, SD vs. HD really depends on where the project will end up. Standard definition has been around for decades, tried and true, HD and the future of Blu-Ray is still a question, because who knows what's coming out next!
Spend your budget on the creative process of telling the story - that is highest quality video you can have!