Archive for the ‘Resolution’ Category

16×9 Pixel Dimension Calculator for Proper Aspect Ratio

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I just found this perfect little tool for calculating 16×9 pixel dimensions. The calculator is actually designed for HD screen sizes, but I use it for determining pixel ratios instead.

There are tons of video and social networking sites that have specific upload pixel dimension requirements.  And of course, we need to upload our file with those exact specs so that the video doesn’t look stretched or blocky.   So try this calculator for convenience.   A baby could use it.

16×9 Pixel Dimension Calculator

The 64-Bit Question – By Giles Baker

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The 64-Bit Question

64-bit computing is a hot topic in the video production industry—and a lot of people are talking about the benefits of a complete 64-bit system. You may think that moving to 64-bit is expensive, but not necessarily. It’s actually possible to take advantage of the benefits brought by 64-bit systems without much expense, and in today’s environment, anything that brings incremental improvements to productivity without a big cash outlay is worth investigating. This article explores the advantages that 64-bit can bring to various video production workflows, and discusses the easiest ways to upgrade systems to take advantage of these gains.

Are We There Yet?

You may be waiting for 64-bit computing to arrive, an eagerly anticipated explosion that delivers unprecedented new computing power. The reality is that 64-bit computing is not going to arrive as a massive sea change; it’s already here. In fact, you may at this moment be sitting in front of a 64-bit capable machine that can add dramatic productivity improvements to your business, and not even know it. All you may need is a memory or operating system upgrade to start working at blazingly fast, 64-bit speeds.

Whenever the industry moves to a new architecture like 64-bit, it does so in a transitional manner that takes a number of years to complete. Those that move first are the most demanding users who value the benefits of the technology highly enough to endure the teething problems that are a natural part of early adoption. Eventually, as the technology advances, all users will make the change. We are well past the early stage now, and it is fair to say that for all involved in professional video production, the benefits of 64-bit easily justify the cost and time to migrate. In fact, if you wait for the transition to be complete, you will undoubtedly find yourself behind the curve.

The Benefits of 64-Bit

The biggest difference with 64-bit is memory. With a 32-bit address space, the computer can identify 232 individual bits of data, corresponding to 4GB of memory. In practice, operating systems, particularly Microsoft Windows, reserve a portion of this memory for “personal use,” meaning that less is actually available for running applications. With a 64-bit address space, computers can talk to 264 individual bits of data, corresponding to 17.2 billion gigabytes—an effectively unlimited amount of memory that can be used for running multiple applications, often with increased performance.

With more memory, video workflows gain two important benefits, both of which can give you an edge in your business: efficient high-resolution production and more flexible workflows.

Hi-Res and RAW

With more and more productions shooting high-resolution RAW content, the capacity to handle any resolution your clients request might be the deciding factor in getting a particular job, so it pays to be ready. Equally important, the additional productivity from investing in more memory for 64-bit systems equates to less time and lower cost to complete a job, providing the freedom to price more competitively or to increase margins.

Smoothly playing multiple streams of video in real time requires that many frames must be loaded into memory simultaneously so that they can be processed quickly. With cameras like RED capturing very large frame sizes up to 4K and beyond, 32-bit systems run out of memory quickly, hindering performance. With 64-bit systems, memory can be specified according to the expected workflow—if large frame rates will be the norm, you can add up to 64GB to maximize performance.

All Apps, All the Time

Running all your applications at the same time equates to a more efficient production system, leading to lower production costs. More importantly, it opens the door to experimenting more during production because there is no longer a time penalty associated with moving content to and from other applications. For example, if you can use Adobe®After Effects® to add motion graphics to any element of an Adobe Premiere® Pro timeline without having to save and close work in some other application, you are far more likely to experiment because the tools are immediately available. This flexibility can bring a creative edge to your production that improves your reputation, and ultimately, your business success.

As the solutions from the major software providers become well-integrated desktop production systems, workflows become increasingly seamless and flexible. But the reality is the race to higher resolutions means that often there isn’t enough memory in the system to run all the applications you need at the same time, and you have to close/reopen the applications that are used less frequently. With 64-bit systems, the removal of memory limitations means this issue is eliminated—you can add as much memory as you need to run multiple applications.

Getting to 64-Bit

If you are a Mac user, odds are you probably already have a 64-bit machine. With the exception of the very first generation, all Intel-based Macs are 64-bit capable, and all versions of Mac OS X that run on those machines are 64-bit too. This means that a memory upgrade is all that is needed to realize the benefits of 64-bit.

For Windows users, the decision is a little more complex. The major question is whether the CPU in your system is 64-bit capable. If it is, then you will need to purchase a 64-bit version of Windows to take advantage. Microsoft sells the 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate upgrade for just over $200.
The majority of CPUs built in the last three years can run 64-bit systems. At Adobe, we survey our customers to understand the capabilities of their systems. Our latest information shows that the vast majority of our Production Premium CS4 customers have 64-bit capable machines.

For memory there are a number of considerations. The first is the simple question of whether the computer can physically accommodate more than 4GB of memory. This depends on the number of slots on the motherboard and type of memory expected. Most desktop machines will accommodate at least 8GB of RAM. Most laptops are limited to 4GB, although that is changing, with new machines allowing up to 16GB. There are a number of resources on the web that can help you through this process – try searching for “how to upgrade memory.”

At today’s prices, PC users should be able to upgrade a desktop system to 8GB RAM and Vista64 for less than $400. This may prove to be the most cost-effective upgrade you can make to your current system.

Up Close: Dv3 Productions and 64-Bit

One Adobe customer that has moved to 64-bit systems is Dv3 Productions, founded by brothers Obin and Amariah Olson. In Fall 2008, the Olsons became among the first to use the RED camera’s tapeless workflow built around the RED importer plug-in and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. Their project, Fatal Flaw, is a short film produced by Joseph Simpkins of Living Water Films.

The brothers used Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium software to drop 4K resolution native R3D files straight onto the Adobe Premiere Pro timeline, without transcoding or rewrapping, and 64-bit machines to work either online or offline with the same RAW master files.

The Olsons note that a major benefit of using Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium is that the applications are all optimized for 64-bit computer systems. The latest version of Adobe’s toolset offers increased performance and editing speed, rapid switching among tools, and improved stability—all of which free up time. The move to 64-bit has given the Olsons confidence to work in real-time in client-supervised sessions, editing video and creating effects on the fly using native RAW video. Dv3 Productions got all of these benefits at a low cost that has quickly paid off in improved creativity and better client service.

Video Resolutions and Pixel Dimensions

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

I came across this helpful image of video pixel dimensions. It””s kind of cool to see the resolutions in a simple contrasting image.

Video Resolutions

Video resolutions

Size Matters! How to create a small Quicktime for pushing across the web

Friday, March 14th, 2008

There are so many codecs for digital movies out there that is becomes really confusing when you are trying to make a small file to place on Youtube, an ftp site or to email to everyone in your address book.  By the way, a codec is the formula used to compress and decompress a digital movie.  For example, you can compress your video clip using H263, H264, Animation, Sorensen, Cinepak, Animated GIF, DV, DV  Stream, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, M4V, FLC, SWF, and on and on.


You could literally test and play with settings and parameters for days and you will eventually drive yourself crazy trying to get the perfect file that is small enough to email but vivid and snappy enough to get you the recognition and accolades you deserve.


Here’s a fool proof, easy way to do it…


Buy Apple’s Quicktime Pro application for  around $40 bucks. Then open your big, uncompressed monster of a movie file, then say “EXPORT” in Quicktime Pro and choose “FOR iPOD.”


That’s it. Your file will be tiny and look amazing. Even though you ended up with merely an .M4V file that you could have done that yourself, you would never be able to compete with the genius eggheads at Apple who have spent hundreds of hours in R&D to have the perfect codec settings!


This is also a great file to upload to YouTube. Their upload robot LOVES this file. However, if you want to make it absolutely perfect for YouTube, you should create your original big file at 400×300 pixels, because otherwise YouTube will scale your file and cause it to lose some resolution. I understand that 400×300 is a non-standard aspect ration in computer land, but that’s what YouTube is, so you might as well create your original file that size. Be sure to make the file with those dimensions PRIOR to crunching down with the “EXPORT TO iPOD.”




Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Okay, so you spend three months onlining and color correcting your film. It looks stunning and projects like a Technicolor masterpiece.  Excited to show your friends and reach a wider audience, you decide to stick the project or its trailer on Youtube. And of course, it instantly looks like dog meat: blocky, faded, desaturated and worst of all, it actually skips frames and looks out of sync. Dang it! 


So you in the Youtube film requirements. But when you upload it again, it still looks barfy.


And it will always look barfy because Youtube RECOMPRESSES every single film using very loose setting for Flash video. It needs to make it look cruddy because they need small files that take up small bandwidth since so many people upload shots of their cat looking out the window.


Bottom line: If your content ROCKS, then it will be giant on Youtube. If your content is dependent on pristine color correction and the ideal image, then I’m afraid your film is going to look like dog meat and nothing more.


Shoot for content and story and the world is your oyster.


– kirk

Striving for absolute perfect resolution means your project probably sucks.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

We often run into people with Resolutionitis. It’s a disease that makes filmmakers think they must have the absolute highest resolution and quality no matter what. But they forget that content is king. If you ain’t got a compelling story, you ain’t got a film worthy of resolution.

Just the other day, a client came to me asking if we should transfer his footage to HDV or HDCAM. Ummm, sorry, but you’re just wasting your money. You could transfer it to VHS from the 1980’s and it would still get just as limp of an emotional response from the audience.

When filmmakers are new to the process or overly in love with their project, Resolutionitis is almost blinding every bit of common sense they every had. The filmmaker will charge up credit cards, call in all of Daddy’s favors at once, and even mortgage a house in order to get the clearest, sharpest picture available! Nevermind that the acting really stinks… because the writing is pedestrian. Nevermind that the story is a jumbled mess and then the production was shotty (due to not paying for a professional crew).

Films on YouTube can have tens of millions of views and launch entire careers, even though the video quality looks like 1969 Moon Landing footage. Speaking of which, the moon landing was one of the most memorable television moments in all of television. Even almost 40 years later, it’s still holds up as about the most emotionally charged footage a camera has every produced. It looked like pure crap: fuzzy, contrasty, poorly lighted (fire the moon as gaffer). But it was the content that kicked all our emotional butts. Since Neil Armstrong took a giant step for television, the media has been repleat with gigantically successful, but terrible-looking, mega-hits.

Remember the “Blair Witch Project?” That film was shot on crappy Hi-8 video and it still grossed tens of millions! Content is king. The TV show COPS has become television juggernaut, using a dash-mounted consumer camera with a plastic lens and no image stabilization. But damn, is it compelling. The examples go on and on. Content is king. Don’t put your house on the auction block just because you need to see your film in its perfect state of flawless resolution.

And if you’re really in love with your film, send the rough cut to a distributor and see if they are completely blown away by your movie. If not, I wouldn’t spend a giant wad on post production. If the distributor’s socks are knocked off, then THEY will gladly pay for more resolution than the filmmaker could every afford on their own. Case in point is the film El Mariachi, which supposedly cost $8,000 until the studio went bonkers for it and threw a million dollars into the sound production in post. Good movies are good movies regardless of the resolution.