The Very Basics of Digital Video

Welcome to The Very Basics Series where we give a high-level overview of complex topics — just to get your started. If you’ve ever wondered about FPS, resolution, and the difference between an .mp4 and an .avi., this video is for you.


We all live video.

But, what does all this stuff mean?

Digital video is made up of a series of digital images, displayed in rapid succession at a constant rate.

These images are referred to as frames.

We measure the rate at which frames are displayed, in frames per second, FPS.

Every frame has a width of “W” pixels and a  height of “H” pixels.

We say that the frame size is “W” by “H”.

The “H” measurement determines whether the video is SD, HD, or Full HD.

Encoding is the process that video undergoes from its original format, to a format that allows it to be viewed on devices, shared and downloaded.

Encoding decreases the size of the video by using math, to find opportunity to simplify the images.

Different kinds of match processes result in different file formats.

Quality of video is determined by the bitrate.

Bitrate is the amount of pixel information in each frame of video.

In general, the more bitrate you add, the more detailed and lively each frame of video will be.

The bitrate value is a function of the variables FPS, W, H, and encoding.

Bitrate expresses the size in bit – one eighths byte – per second of video.

MP4 and MOV are the two most common video file types.

They can contain other relevant information related to the video, such as audio, subtitles and still images.

Happy watching!

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