The Basics of Audio and Video "Resolution"

Understanding resolutions can be a challenge. I clearly remember the days of questioning what all these mysterious statistics signify. The primary key to consider is that the increased the resolution, the better the product.

With music, you will generally see terms like 48kHz or 24bit. The first one, kilo-Hertz or also kHz, signifies the size of the sound spectrum. Humans can officially hear from 20hz to 20kHz, though individuals may be able to listen to a much higher frequency. For most online video, 44kHz will be the most popular of the resolutions.

To 90% of the people, that level is ideal, but 10% can listen to a clear variance between 44khz and 48khz. These tend to be the "audiophiles" among us. They really can hear the difference that most of us can not.

There is very little variance in music between 96kHz music and 48khz music, but the variance between 44kHz and 48kHz is quite noticeable. If you further lower from 44kHz to 22kHz, it would be the variance between CD music and a Telephone call.

Another popular phrase is in bits (IE: 16bit or 24bit). It is a little confusing to describe the variance, but simply put pieces are units of the music array. The more pieces, the better resolution the music will be.

More bits amounts to less frequency being crammed into the bit, which allows the processing via computer to be much clearer by offering more defined audio.

In video, the same thoughts are of use. 1920 x 1080 (The solution known as 1080p) provides a clear picture, while 320 x 240 makes blocky video that can be almost un-viewable if the camera darts or zooms.

When you see a "a X b" it is in reference to the amount of pixels width x height. Some common resolutions are:

  • 1920×1080 – 1080p is the highest resolution of the HD format
  • 1280×720 – 720p is the lowest of the HD format
  • 720×480 – 480p is a standard television signal

As well, you have the bit rate for video. The higher the bit rate, the more color information and definition will be packed into the frame. More is better!

In closing, always produce in the finest resolution possible. It's much easier to lower resolution, than trying to range up to an increased resolution. Plus the clearer the productions audio and video, the happier the viewers will be when viewing the content.

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