Video production jargon and terms for marketers part 1. What do all these numbers mean?

In this blog entry we will explain some of the many wonderful and colourful video production terms and what they mean to marketing people who are not in the video production business but engage with video production companies and would like to understand the terms used by them.

A lot of the terms used in video production relate directly to the days of film production and have carried through to our digital world we now live in.

If we have overlooked any or some of these terms are unclear leave us a comment below and we will be sure to follow up and answer any questions you may have for us.

What do all these numbers mean in relation to video?

720P - This is the size of the frame which is actually 1280 x 720 pixels at 72dpi.

1080P - This is the size of the frame which is actually 1920 x 1080 pixels at 72dpi.

Note that the P on the end of 720 & 1080 stands for progressive which means that each frame of video is grabbed by the camera as a single frame. This is in the same nature that a film camera grabs each frame as a separate frame.

Sometimes the numbers will be followed by an 50 or 60i. The refers to the signal or video stream being captured as an interlaced signal. Without going into too much detail this was used as a means to deliver TV signals to TV's efficiently with the bandwidth available at the time.

Generally a progressive signal is the standard that production teams shoot and is considered to have a cinematic look and feel closer to the old movie film cameras.

72DPI - Dots per inch. Typically an image printing term. Usually photos are printed at 300 dpi and TV's or computer screens are 72 dpi (except for retina display devices).

24, 25 or 30fps - These are frame rates and some cameras have the ability to go way over 30fps (fps = frames per second)which means you will have slow motion video. Some cameras will also shoot way less that the standard 24, 25 or 30fps and that effect will give a fast motion or time lapse look depending on how many fps are captured.

24fps is typically the frame rate that feature movies in the cinema are displayed at. 25fps is used in PAL countries and 30fps in NTSC countries.

16:9 - This is the aspect ratio of a widescreen frame i.e. 1920 x 1080 with square pixels.

4:3 - This is the aspect ratio of the old standard TV screen which has now been phased out.

Below is an image that shows the difference between 4:3 and 16:9 in its two common flavours 720 and 1080. These are the most common aspect ratios seen by the masses on TV and on the web but there are many different frame sizes and aspect ratios.

aspect ratios

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