As filmmakers, most of us consider ourselves to be creative people. Having a creative intuition and knowing how to use it is incredibly important in this field, but many of us -- especially folks like me who are scientifically and mathematically inept -- tend to overlook many of the technical and scientific aspects of modern digital filmmaking. As boring and convoluted as some of it might seem, having a working knowledge of the various engineering concepts that are used in the digital image creation process can make us better filmmakers, because that knowledge can inform the creative decisions that we make. Luckily, there's no need to go to engineering school for that knowledge, as most of it can be found on YouTube in some form or another. For instance, here's most everything you need to know about video compression.
This first video comes to us courtesy of the Techquickie, a YouTube channel that focuses on getting you up to date on modern technology in just a few minutes.
If there's nothing else you take away from this video, it should be that bitrates are the single most important factor when it comes to the visual quality of your compressed video. The higher the bitrate, the better the quality. Pretty easy to understand, right? With that said, there's far more to video compression than bitrate. Luckily, Larry Jordan has us covered with the rest of what filmmakers need to know about compression.
In the modern video technology landscape, we're fairly spoiled with the types of cameras and codecs that we have access to in that we can achieve extremely high image quality with relatively little compression compared to the cameras and codecs of years past. With that said, data storage is a massive issue, especially when you have to duplicate or triplicate your video files in order to safeguard a production from losing data. As inexpensive as storage has become over the past few years, it's not inexpensive enough to accommodate the massive amount of data that filmmakers can produce shooting RAW files and other high-quality capture formats. For that reason, video compression is still a vitally important concept for filmmakers to understand and utilize.