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Video Formats For Broadcast

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Jack Bielan
Video Formats For Broadcast
on Jan 13, 2010 at 7:13:09 pm

I am a composer/performer. Recently I shot video of performances of two of my songs. We shot three camera HD. It looks like I may be getting some on-air shots where I'll be interviewed and then one of the videos will be shown. I want to be thoroughly prepared for whatever format any show might need. I assume I walk in with a hard drive with the various formats on it, yes? Any advice you could give me on what formats I should be prepared with would be much appreciated.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Video Formats For Broadcast
on Jan 13, 2010 at 9:31:31 pm

I would shoot and produce this video at ONE frame rate: 23.976 frames/sec. This frame rate is also called 23.98 or 24p. I would NOT shoot at 1080, but at 720. Many cameras can shoot true progressive scan at that particular HD resolution, which is a very good thing indeed. It's called 24pn, and you should insist on shooting at that frame rate. Rent cameras that can do it, if necessary.

I would make only one size, too: HD, 1280x720.


From this one video file, any competent production house can create the necessary video for just about any circumstance. It's a good starting point.

The frame rate easily can be changed to 25fps for PAL countries (Europe). For NTSC (North America), they can add 3:2 pulldown and letterboxing (bars at top & bottom) for a 4x3, standard-definition, 29.97 fps video. For HD video, they can make either a 720p video or a 1080i video, the two HD resolutions, and easily create the proper frame rate for 25 fps PAL and 59.94fps /29.97fps NTSC.

The type of file is important too. I'm a Mac guy, so I favor quicktime movies using the Photo JPEG codec at best quality. If you're working in Windows, I guess I'd go with a Lossless AVI file. Either one would be a Lingua Franca of video compression, and neither uses much compression at all, preserving picture quality.

But understand what you're undertaking: this isn't Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in a move where they say, "Hey, kids, let's put on a show!". You will want experienced hands planning how to shoot this, doing the lighting, recording any incidental sound, running the cameras, and editing the pictures.

If you choose otherwise, you do so at your peril. This stuff is darned near impossible to pull off for the well-intentioned amateur.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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