PCmag.com defines composite video as, “An analog video color format that combines all three YUV video signals into one channel. The first video signal to include color, composite video transmits brightness/luma (Y) and colors/chroma (U and V) over one cable.” In the vernacular it is the yellow cable that goes from your DVD player to your TV. This yellow cable carries the signal for the image; the red and white cables carry the signal for the audio.
Again, pcmag.com defines component video as “A color video format that maintains the three traditional YUV video signals in separate channels. Component video provides a sharper image than composite video and S-video.” For the average consumer, this means that it is a higher quality signal than the composite video and is passed through three cables instead of one. Three cables allow the signal to be split up into one brightness signal and two separate color signals for a better image as opposed to the composite video which has all three signals in one cable. They are labeled Y (Green), Pb (Blue), and Pr (Red).
This is a feature found on most prosumer and professional cameras to aid in setting one’s exposure (exposure is basically how bright the image is). The camera screen will show black stripes on areas of the picture that are too bright (near or over 100% white) Depending on which camera you are using the zebra stripes will face different directions depending upon what percentage of white that part of the image is. When you reach 100% white you no longer have any detail in that part of the image. If you want to be able to do any color correction you need detail to edit and therefore don’t want it to reach 100%.
White balance is simple. It is making sure that what is supposed to be white is in fact white. Sometimes depending on your lighting there will be a yellow cast or blue or red or whatever the case may be. Most cameras above consumer grade are going to have the option to set it manually or automatically.
Google defines “codec” as “a device or program that compresses data to enable faster transmission and decompresses received data.” What does that mean? Well, video files come in different codecs in order to be playable in different formats and with different programs. There are hundreds of video codecs not to mention audio and digital photography codecs. Video codecs include H.264, MPEG-2, Apple Animation, Apple ProRes, Cinepak, Photo – JPEG, and many more.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines analog as, “of, relating to, or being a mechanism in which data is represented by continuously variable physical quantities.” An analog signal is physical voltage passing through a wire and is subject to various elements such as air pressure, which cause fluctuation in the quality of the signal. Analog is a continuous signal. The biggest disadvantage of an analog signal is that when it is copied you lose data and gain noise (unwanted junk).
Digital describes data that is represented through binary code (0s and 1s). A digital signal is not subject to the different variables that an analog signal might and can therefore be copied without the loss of data. It breaks up the information into pieces and is not continuous like an analog signal. For example, in video we have frames. I’m sure you have heard the term “24 frames per second,” or if you are a fan of The Hobbit, “48 frames per second.” Digital is great, but don’t think that your hard-drive won’t fail on you eventually and lose all of your data. ALWAYS have a backup.
On a simple level, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 and the like describe the color space or how much color information is present. The numbers range from 1 to 4 with 1 being the least amount of information and 4 being the most. The first number represents luminance. The next two numbers represent the colors red and blue. There is no number for green because you can get green using the other three elements. Even though 4:4:4 sounds great, the human eye can tell a difference in luminance easier than color so you can lose some color information and your audience won’t know. Don’t be afraid to use 4:2:2 or lower. This also saves you storage space because the files will be smaller since they are recording less information. One more thing, converting from 4:2:2 to 4:4:4 doesn’t work. You can’t add color information that was not there to begin with; you can only play with what is already there.
Many of you have probably seen the choice on many DVDs to select fullscreen or widescreen. What you are really choosing is the aspect ratio. There are many different aspect ratios out there. Most people know of standard definition and high definition. Standard definition has an aspect ratio of 4:3. This means that the width and height of your screen can be boiled down to a ratio of 4 wide by 3 high. High definition is 16:9. Most movies are 21:9 or what is called Cinemawide. Just a little tip, when you are selecting fullscreen because you don’t like the black bars on top and bottom of your screen, you are actually cutting out part of the image. If you want to see the entire image, choose widescreen.
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