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I delayed talking about resolution with video until now, because I wanted to introduce you first to some general things that make video different than photography. I didn't want you to get caught up in a lot of numbers and technology before you really started to get a feel for the video medium itself. In photography, you can change resolution at will. In fact, camera manufacturers are constantly changing resolution to try to get you to buy the newest and latest camera with higher resolution. There are cameras that shoot at 10 megapixels, 15 megapixels, 20 megapixels and more.
HD video is totally different. it has two resolutions and only two resolutions. It doesn't matter how expensive your camera is, how big the sensor is, even how many megapixels your camera has. HD video still has only two resolutions. They are simply called 1080 and 720 HD. This is a big deal. Photographers are used to cropping their photos, taking part of an image and getting rid of the rest, changing the shape and the format and so forth.
You cannot do that with video. 1080 HD video refers to a video image that is 1920x1080 pixels in size. 720 HD is 1280x720 pixels. If you look at the actual resolution of your camera's photo files, you'll probably discover something like 4000-6000 by 3000-4000 pixels, a huge difference compared to video. That is something very important to keep in mind.
The mega pixels of your camera have nothing to do with the resolution of the video coming from your camera. 1080 video gives you an image size approximately equal to two megapixels. 720 video gives you an image size that is approximately equal to one megapixel. So, if you had thoughts of simply shooting video and then taking still pictures from your video, you might want to think again. You're not going to have a resolution that will allow you to do that.
That might sound like your camera doesn't have to do a lot of work because it's working with such a small image file compared to the big megapixel still photos that we are used to with photography. Well, a single image from video would not be very big, but you're not dealing with single images here. With video, you are typically shooting at approximately 30 frames per second. That means your camera has to deal with thirty 1-2 mega pixel photographs per second and keep doing it for however long you continue to record the scene.
That's a lot of data for the camera to handle. Both resolutions actually do look very good on an HD television set. Both are true standards for high definition television. Now, is there an advantage to shooting 1080 over 720 video? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Both display well on an HD television set. The resolutions refer simply to how many pixels are in the image area, not to how large or small the image will display on screen.
But if you're going to do limited cropping to your image or if you want to do some effects with your video, then having the higher resolution with more pixels to work with can be an advantage.
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