In American households, 80% of viewers watch TV in high definition, and 30% are now watching in 4K. If you produce video content, it’s never been more important to ensure the quality of your video is top-notch. When considering your video editing setup, you might be asking, does the graphics card affect video quality?
The graphics card does not affect video quality. However, there are many factors that will determine the video quality, such as the specification of camera and lenses used to record the video, the video codec, and the encoding or exporting speed.
But what exactly defines video quality? Is resolution the only factor? Read on for more tips on how to produce high-quality videos.
What Affects Video Quality?
The quality of the video output will begin with the camera. Whether you’re using your smartphone or a cinematic movie camera, the camera’s specifications will determine the quality of the raw footage. This includes the resolution of the camera and the recording settings such as frame rate. The video quality will also ultimately be impacted by the encoding or exporting settings.
The resolution of a video is the number of pixels used to display the video. A TV that has a display resolution of 720p means that the field measures 720 pixels high by 1280 pixels wide; the more pixels means a higher resolution and a sharper image.
The higher the resolution of the camera, the more detail can be displayed. This is especially important when zooming in, which can diminish the quality of the image in lower resolution cameras.
The frame rate or frames per second (fps) is the number of images displayed per second. The higher the fps, the smoother the video will look. Video for most movies and television is shot at 30 fps, whereas more often, sports and video games with fast action are displayed at 60 fps.
If you think about the example of an old-fashioned flip-book analogy of how video works, then fps is how fast the pages are being flipped per second.
When video footage is taken, the camera can’t possibly store every bit of detail and layer of depth that we see, as the resulting data file would be unrealistically massive. So choices have to be made in order to make the files smaller, which means less data, which can potentially mean less detail or lower quality.
Luckily, technology has given us video encoding techniques that largely preserve the original quality, although some data or detail will always be lost with any video compression. However, the settings you use to encode your video will largely determine the final output quality.
Large files have the downside of taking up a lot of space and taking longer to upload, but the resulting video quality will be better. Conversely, a smaller, lighter video file will upload quickly and saves storage space, but comes at the cost of a loss of quality.
The codec is the hardware or software that encodes the video. Many different codecs use different compression algorithms, but H.264 is by far the most common codec for video compression.
What Resolution Should You Shoot Your Footage?
The answer here depends on many factors. On one hand, shooting in a higher resolution like 2K or 4K gives you the most to work with in terms of raw footage and the quality and level of detail. You’re also able to reframe a shot, such as to zoom in, without any loss of quality.
As Linus from Linus Tech Tips puts it, “A higher resolution original source reduces certain types of visual artifacts, and results in a greater amount of detail when the video is eventually downscaled and compressed to be cheaply delivered over the internet.” You can watch the video below:
However, you may want to consider storage space for those videos, as higher resolutions take up considerably more room. For example, while a minute of video recording at 720p and 30 fps will take up 40 MB of space, 4K video at 60 fps takes up 400 MB.
The other factor to consider when shooting in high resolution is whether you’ll be able to edit realistically. While you can certainly edit video in 4K these days, it takes a relatively powerful computer to do so smoothly.
You might also consider your media format and audience. While YouTube can display 4K, not everybody watching is going to have a screen capable of showing all that detail. Or, if you anticipate your content being largely viewed on a tablet or smartphone, having very high-resolution source media may not be your highest priority.
Overall, shooting in higher resolution will give you more flexibility in terms of editing, as long as you have the storage space and computing setup to edit it. But if your final output will be lower resolution anyway, you might ask if it’s worth the cost.
What Is the Best Type of Camera for Shooting Video?
Video editing lives by the “garbage in, garbage out” law of computer science, in that you’ll never be able to get a higher quality product than what you started with. The converse is also true that a higher quality source will result in a higher quality product. That’s why if you want a quality video, you need to start with a camera with a high resolution and the right specs.
Luckily, you’ve probably already got one of these in your pocket. The iPhone is capable of shooting 4K video at 60 fps, which is the highest quality setting YouTube allows for video uploads. That’s great if you want casual video, but you might want something with better specs and more features for serious video projects.
According to Digital Camera World, these are some of their top picks for video cameras based on various categories:
- Best camera for YouTubers: the Canon Powershot G7X Mark III
- Best camera for vloggers: Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera
- Best on the go: GoPro Hero8 Black
- Best for serious filmmakers: Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera
- Best drone camera: DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
- Best entry-level drone: DJI Mavic Air 2
What Is the Best Video Editing Software?
If you want to edit a video, you will need the right computer software to get the job done. Which one you choose largely depends on the type of project you’re working on and how you’re going to use it.
- Adobe Premiere Pro. This is an industry-standard for video editing. It’s robust, and it’ll have all the bells and whistles you’re looking for, but it does come at the cost of a monthly subscription.
- Final Cut Pro X. This is essentially the Mac analog of Premiere Pro, so that Apple fans will be comfortable with this program. But again, you’re looking at a fairly steep price tag.
- Adobe Premiere Rush. Adobe apps are always top of the line, and this editing software for your phone is no exception.
- iMovie. If you’re looking for a great free video editing program, iMovie has you covered. It’s simple and elegant while being easy to use.
No matter what type of content you’re creating, you want it to look great on the screen. Although video editing can get spendy after one considers a camera, editing hardware, and software, and enough storage to save it all, there are plenty of options for budget videographers and content creators for producing great looking video.
Hopefully, these tips will help you make the most out of your net video project.
- Dacast: What is Video Encoding? How to Encode Video
- Digital Camera World: The Best Camera for Video in 2020
- Digital Camera World: The Best Camcorders in 2020
- Creative Bloq: The Best Video Editing Software in 2020
- Statista: 4K Ultra HDTV Household Penetration 2014 to 2018
- WinXDVD: 6 Factors Decide Video Quality?
- Primal Video: Best Video Resolution – What To Use When Shooting and Exporting Online Videos