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What is the difference between 4k, HD & SD video

The evolution of the TV screen

When producing videos, consideration must be made for the screen size and ratio on which it will be viewed.  Older cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions evolved from the standards set in North America in the 1950s by the National Television Systems Committee (NTSC). These old TVs, with a screen aspect ratio of 4:3, produced a video image by alternately scanning 525 horizontal lines on the CRT.  Since the early 1990s there has been a gradual transition to digital video and an upgraded resolution to improve picture quality on larger screens. The broadcast and streaming standard is now HD (High Definition) in the 16:9 aspect ratio with some providers offering Ultra-HD, 4k or even 8k.

What standards will KAV use for your video project?

At KAV, our preferred format is HD since it provides excellent quality on larger screens at full resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels.  If the footage is for broadcast use, the acceptable standard is also 1080 x 1920 shot at 60 frames per second.  When shooting for film or network productions some editors and post-production facilities will request raw footage be shot in 4k, at either 3840 x 2160 pixels or 4096 x 2160 pixels.  Also known as UHD, shooting at this very high resolution is particularly useful if parts of the image are to be cropped or stabilized in post-production.

Lower resolutions are not as commonly used anymore but if file size is an issue, HD at 720 x 1080 pixels will still have decent quality on smaller screens.  The NTSC standard for DVD videos is 720 x 480 pixels and they can be authored as either widescreen 16:9 or 4:3 screen aspect ratios.  This option is normally dictated by the original source media. Legacy analog video tape equipment, such as VHS or Beta VCRs and camcorders, recorded using the 4:3 ratio.

We shoot primarily in 1080p/60fps at 50 Mbps 422 HD and usually export edited video to 1080p mp4 digital file or Blu-ray.  HD Videos can also be down converted to play on standard DVD-video in widescreen format at 480p. If you are providing us footage to edit or digitize, we will generally match the source resolution. SD footage is not up-converted to HD. For slideshows or film transfers, please specify your preferred video format when ordering.

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