What is Video Resolution and Why is it Important?

Understanding video resolution will help you with your video projects. A higher resolution doesn’t always mean a better resolution. This is all very dependant on the nature of your project. In this article, you will learn to identify the difference in the number of pixels in each resolution, file formats, as well as the different types of HD resolution (and what exactly HD is).

Are you creating a mobile video, a full-length movie feature, or creating a short clip to be shared across social media channels? If you are creating any of these projects for the very first time, read on to discover what resolution will work best for your project.

What is Video Resolution?

Video resolution relates specifically to the number of pixels displayed on a screen. This can refer to the number of horizontal lines stacked in a screen and the number of pixels per line. Let’s look a little closer at the typical video resolution numbers.

Common Resolutions

  • 360 px: A video of this resolution will appear blurry on larger screens making this the perfect resolution for a mobile or smartphone-based project.
  • 480 px: Considered “standard definition”, this resolution is best suited for laptop or desktop monitor screen sizes. 
  • 720 px: A sharp and crisp high definition video begins at 720 px. You will find this in most HD televisions and television channels.
  • 1080 px: Take your HD video quality up another notch with this high resolution, perfect for larger screens and for social media sharing. The crispest and professional looking of all video resolutions for the enjoyment of your viewers. 

What is HD Resolution?

HD resolution stands for high definition video resolution and its quality and capabilities of viewing on large screens are much greater than standard definition. Typically, anything over 720px is considered high definition. 

A resolution of 1920 x 1080 is typically considered full HD. Both full HD and HD are considerably greater resolutions than that of standard definition.

Understanding the Different File Formats

File formats will differ greatly depending on which platform you wish to share your content. This will also affect the loading and streaming/viewing speed. Here are the most common file types:

  • MP4: One of the most common and effective file formats because of its ability to retain video quality in spite of repeat editing. This file format also provides your viewers with the highest possible resolution at a small file size. Compatible with most browsers. 
  • MOV: A larger file size compared to the MP4, this file format was created by Apple and is popular for sharing amongst Mac computers.
  • .WEBM: A file format created by Google and typically used on YouTube, this file format is smaller than an MP4 and offers much lower quality than its counterpart. 
  • .OGG: This is a very versatile file format offering a higher quality and resolution than .WEBM. Because this file format can be uploaded and viewed on a variety of different applications, .OGG is a handy file for an array of video projects.

Video Aspect Ratio

The video aspect ratio specifically relates to the width versus the height of the video and will greatly differ from device to device. There are 3 typical aspect ratios and they are as follows:

  • 4×3: A standard and very common video aspect ratio in most traditional viewing devices such as a standard television.
  • 16×9: More commonly known as being the standard aspect ration for HD and widescreen televisions.
  • 21×9: The aspect ratio of cinema screens used for watching new release films at your local cinema.

While there are a variety of different aspect ratios in which we have not mentioned, the ratios listed above are the most common and will likely pertain to your standard video projects. 

Let’s Dive Into Video Compression

Video compression matters greatly. Compressing your video file will remove unwanted data, that is to say, data that is not necessary to the file and will not compromise the quality of the video. Instead, what it will do is compress the file size making it easier and quicker to upload. This will also affect your transfer speed.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to video resolutions including device type, screen size, and the rate in which you would like your audience to view and upload the video. We hope our article has helped you decide the file format and resolution number for your next project.


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