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Video Basics
The 7 most important facts about videofiles

René Alles

5 min read

Properly done, video holds a wealth of opportunities. However, there are many misunderstandings in connection with video. Nowadays, everyone films quickly with their mobile phone and quickly downloads a video somewhere. Rarely are the workflows well thought out and standards defined. You let the video jockey film an event and only years later you notice that the quality is so bad that the material is completely unsuitable for the anniversary film on the large monitor - and yet it looked quite good in Instagram on the smartphone... Even worse when real press inquiries come in and the boss would like to provide his own branded film material - but this is not accepted by the quality.

The 7 most important facts about videofiles

  • videofiles have a considerable file size

  • videofiles cannot be reduced in size by "zipping" - they are already compressed

  • there are a lot of file size adjustment screws that are always connected with quality

  • any subsequent compression has a considerable influence on the image quality

  • High-Definition ("HD") or even 4K alone is not a quality feature - the repetition and data rate of the material must always be checked additionally. This is expressed in "format" and "recording codec"

  • once "down-compressed", the output quality can never be recovered. It is possible to transcode into another codec (the technical term for converting video formats) - then the format is named as desired by suffix. But the lost picture details and resolution is irretrievably lost

  • which quality is recorded within the camera usually makes no financial difference!

An example:

1. let us say we film an interview of 10 minutes

2. we make the recording with a professional camera, because we assume that the material will be used several times and in different scenarios:

  • distribution to TV and press

  • extract from the corporate film

  • presentation to customers and employees on a large screen at a corporate event

  • use at the exhibition stand

  • own social media channels

  • foreign social media channels

  • archive

3. Because the material for these various applications is still being processed, we choose a higher quality standard in order to have the greatest possible freedom at the editing suite: It is shot in HD with a specification of "1080p24" (don't get confused). A few examples:

  • for YouTube and social media use a "h.264 / mp4" would be sufficient - for a 10 minutes interview this would be a file size of almost 4 GB

  • the material would hardly be suitable for professional use. On large monitors and screens block formations would be expected

  • in order to have more quality in the raw material/source material, the editor or video producer of confidence would like to have a "broadcast codec" - let´s say "ProRes 422" - that would be a file size of about 9 GB (0.92 GB/min) for a 10 minutes interview.

  • the head of the PR department has also informed himself and reads everywhere that "HD" is already outdated and that "4K" will be the standard for the future (at least for a few years). He doesn't order the interview in 1080p but in "4k" (that's four times the number of pixels compared to HD) - as codec we again take "ProRes 422" for comparability. That would be a file size of more than 70 GB (7 GB/min) for a 10 minutes interview.

Tip: Calculate your individual file size with our Video-Space Calculator

In this example, the same interview of 10 minutes has 4 GB, 9 GB and 70 GB. But also a very different technical quality level which comes into effect if you use the footage professional and not only in Social-Media.

Why to choose higher resolution? In the editing-suites they name often the following points:

  • possibility to "zoom-in"

  • Grading Reserve

We know that the new h.265 with the low bitrate comes with acceptable quality - but this codec is only for distributing to end-users and going public. It's not a codec suitable on the production side...

This example should show that working with videos is multifaceted. In any case, it brings existing infrastructures such as computers, servers, software and Internet connections very quickly to their limits. Because it makes sense to set very high quality standards in the acquisition. And still it could be easy to work with these amounts of data - if you adapt the learned workflows a little bit and mentally separate yourself from the physical data medium. In times of digitalization and automation there are existing out-of-the-box solutions and also workflows that save considerable costs and above all time. The internet bandwidths are increasing considerably and rapidly (finally!). The mobile phone standard "5G" is already reality in Asia and in test fields also in Berlin. Then not even a fixed Internet connection is necessary. Not to be sneezed at: flexibility! With the Cloud, the entire archive is available 24/7 and globally always ready for immediate use...

About the author

Rene Alles is an entrepreneur and runs the TV production company best boys tv-factory GmbH in Cologne/Germany. The company is the TV production partner of many national and global events in the field of sports and entertainment. Since 2006, it is more and more his task to face the challenges of his customers and to find solutions that increase the reach. was developed as an internal project for the extremely fast and easy technical distribution of the very large video files and was spin off as an own product and brand due to the great success in use.

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