Today’s in the world of mixed formats, there are various different sizes and frame rates to choose from to output. These can be anything from 4K, 2K 1080P, 1080i, 720p 480i and 480p, not to mention there is also NTSC and PAL. This does not even include the resolutions of PC screens which can contribute to all of this madness. This can be very confusing what all these different sizes and frame rates mean. Below is a chart that basically explains the different sizes.
Image courtesy of wikipedia
Now that looks very confusing, so let’s eliminate everything except the 3 most common frame sizes 4:3 480p ( Standard Definition) , 1280x720p (HD, EDTV) and 1920x1080p (Full HD).
If you are only ever going to see your film in Standard Definition DVD then 480p at 29.97 frames is fine. Just remember that if your original footage is 16×9 widescreen you may have to add letter-boxing which adds bars to the top and bottom to make it fit the screen.
If you are outputting to the web, we are all obsessed with just using 1080P full HD. This may seem like a good idea but in reality it is not. Many users on the web do not have the fastest connection, thus you are already loosing hits before you even get started. That is why using 720p is a much better idea. Below is a video that shows you how to get the best picture and audio out of HD footage for he web.
Lastly 1080p this is really only used for delivery to either HDCAM tape for broadcast or theatrical relese. You could also use this to create large QuickTimes to watch on either your directly on your PC or connected to a larger display. If you have the ability to do so, you can also output to a BluRay disc. This will give you optimal picture and sound.
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