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Why does SD look better when shot in HD and down-scaled to SD?

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Edwin Street
Why does SD look better when shot in HD and down-scaled to SD?
on Feb 19, 2015 at 12:44:56 am

I heard this a few years ago that shooting HD and down-scaling it so SD will always provide better quality than just shooting in SD in the first place.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Why does SD look better when shot in HD and down-scaled to SD?
on Feb 19, 2015 at 1:53:40 am

First, that's an oversimplification - more accurately stated, it CAN look better, but only in certain circumstances.

There are, or were, many different DV cameras marketed during the industry's DV stage of development: consumer, prosumer, and professional models, some were superb, some just decent. The good ones were actually very good, and down-scaled HD would most likely not get any better.

However, there are a couple of reasons why some of the lesser DV cameras may produce inferior quality to downscaled HD. 1) the color space of HD cameras is typically 4:2:2, while DV cameras are 4:2:0, and thus the footage starts with much greater resolution and much more color information than material acquired on DV. And, when downscaling, the HD material samples all HD pixels, known as super-sampling, which gives the down-converted SD a bit of an advantage.

Make sense?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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