Is HD Video Really Necessary for the Web?

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High definition has been around for a while now, and it’s changed the way we see images and video. Now we can tell how much makeup an actress is wearing and the last time someone onscreen had a zit. Who wouldn’t want in on this? As high definition becomes more prevalent every day, people will come to expect it on every media platform. What does that mean for you if you’re uploading to YouTube or Vimeo?

It may come as a surprise, but people are most often still watching YouTube videos in standard definition. The videos automatically begin in 360p or 480p, even if they were recorded and uploaded at 720p and 1080p. Often when someone tries to watch a video in high definition, it takes longer to load and then plays choppy. With all those issues, people just do the simpler thing and watch in standard definition. So why take the effort to upload a high definition video no one will fully experience?

Better Video in, Better Video out

Even if some browsers or web connections don’t load HD as well as we would like, filming in HD will crisp up the standard definition version people will eventually watch. Everyone will still be able to enjoy every skin cell on someone’s face, even if some of the detail is lost when converting down from HD.

Widening the Horizons

Outdated standard definition cameras still shoot everything in a square. Some of us still cling to the giant black bars that surround SD video content, but HD cameras widen that ratio and give us more video to see. We’re talking 16:9 ratios, which is what YouTube displays, anyway. Not only that, but these days, most monitors, smart phones, and TVs come in 16:9 ratio. What a crazy coincidence.

Preparing for the Future

As more people buy larger screens, standard definition videos will continue to look less impressive. And soon, everything will be HD, so if you want your present videos to continue making a splash in the future, you might as well record them in HD now. One day, in a bright and positive future, we will all have moved beyond old systems and slow browsers that can’t handle HD video. Might as well start living in that future today.

Sometimes it seems pointless to go to that extra effort of recording in HD, but I promise, it’s worth it for the future, and for right now. If you need help jumping on the HD bandwagon, subscribe (top right of this page) for future posts and more tips for leveraging video technology effectively.

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  • mcarneymedia

    I still prefer 2.35:1, but I guess 16×9 will do ;)

  • jeremyawilliams

    Great post zacharydowns . Unless you’re still using an old point and shoot camera or and old camcorder, everything you buy today will have HD capabilities – including the iPad, iPod Touch and just about every new smartphone. I’ve always used my iPod Touch to record videos and it turns out great in 720p HD

  • http://new.12starsmedia.com zachdowns

     @jeremyawilliams Thanks for the comment. HD used to be so expensive to record with and display, but like you’re saying, it’s available everywhere now and there’s no reason to not use it.