What’s Important in a Recording Format? (Camera Lesson 10)

Summary: Ryan covers the key specs you should pay attention to when considering a recording format: codec, color sampling, bit rate, and bit depth.

Length: 9:07 minutes

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Depth of Field, Part 1: How Aperture and ISO Affect Focus
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 6: Five Tips For A Successful Shoot
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 5: Lighting Six High Speed Sets
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 4: Common Lighting Problems
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 3: Camera Operation & Workflow
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 2: Frame Rate
Your Guide To High Speed, Part 1: Introduction
12 Crucial Questions Before Lighting Your Set (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 15)
Negative Fill: The Best Kept Secret (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 08)
10 replies
    • Tim
      Tim says:

      These are different ways to break an image down into the luminance and color components.

      With graphic design and video monitors, you’ll see RGB (red, green, blue). Since changing brightness in RGB is tricky, some instead use YCbCr (luminance, blue, red) since it designates the luminance channel separately. At times people use YUV interchangeably with YCbCr (possibly since it’s easier to say), however YUV is really only for analog PAL and analog NTSC, while YCbCr is for digital.

      When dealing with component video cables you might have seen the letters YPbPr (luminance, blue minus luminance, red minus luminance). Well YPbPr is the analog signal from a YCbCr digital media, such as your Blu-ray player.

      Here are two great articles about these topics:
      Adobe: What Is YUV?
      Color Formats

    • Tim
      Tim says:

      Shooting green screen and blue screen so that you can composite an image is generally called “chroma key compositing.” This is often (sometimes confusingly) shortened to simply “keying.” In the lesson, when we refer to “pulling a clean key,” it means that the green or blue screen is cleanly removed from the image. Specific to the example in the lesson, color sampling at 4:2:0 results in colors that aren’t as specific as 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 since 4:2:0 has less information. As a result the green screen or blue screen chroma key will blend with the subject and be harder to remove.

  1. recurringdream
    recurringdream says:

    Good overview but I think the section on bit depth is misleading – there’s a difference between an 8-bit image (256 colors total) and an image with 8 bits per RGB channel (which equates to 24 bits per pixel). In the videography world, when people talk about an 8-bit image, they mean 8 bits per channel, or 24 bits per pixel. Or 10 or 12 bits per channel for higher end cameras, equating to a 30 or 36-bit-per-pixel image.

    • Tim
      Tim says:

      Interesting question, one which required me to do a bit of digging. Ends up that the idea of 24-bit — often used in still photography — is using a different way of measuring bit-depth than with digital video. Check out this article about bit-depth from Creative Cloud User for more on the topic.

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