Last updated on February 24th, 2023 at 11:03 pm
As you may already know, a video clip contains a series of frames. If the video is shot at 30 fps (frames per second), then there are 30 frames in that single second.
The details in the frames may change. However, the resolution will remain constant.
By resolution, we mean the number of pixels in a single frame of video.
Generally speaking, the higher the number of pixels in a frame, the higher the resolution.
More pixels mean more details in the frame.
Today, computer monitors and TV sets have adopted the 16:9 aspect ratio. So, video resolution, mostly, applies to the number of pixels contained within this aspect ratio.
Vertical Pixel Numbers
For HD and Full HD video, the resolution is based on the vertical pixel numbers. So, if a video has a resolution of 1280 x 720, we call it a video of 720p or HD resolution. That’s because it has 720 vertical lines.
Similarly, 1920 x1080 resolution is referred to as Full HD or 1080p as it has 1080 vertical lines.
Horizontal Pixel Numbers
Resolutions for 2K, 4K, and 8K videos are calculated differently though. They’re based on the number of horizontal lines in a single frame of video.
The native resolution of a 2K video is 2560 pixels horizontally and 1440 pixels vertically.
It is referred to as QHD (Quad High Definition) because it has 4 times the pixels as 720p (1280×720) when you multiply the horizontal and vertical resolutions.
The advantage of having more pixels is that you get more detail when you zoom in on a video.
So, when you zoom in on a 2K video, you’ll see more details compared to a Full HD 1080p video.
4K Video Resolution
The craze today is 4K TVs, also known as UHD or ultra-high-definition TVs.
4K or UHD has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
In fact, 4K has another resolution called DCI 4K resolution that is beyond the consumer’s realm.
Should You Always Aim for a High Resolution?
As you’ve seen, a high resolution means more details are added to a video frame. The picture quality is sharper.
But a higher resolution doesn’t always work to your advantage.
Videos with higher resolutions take up much more space. While space isn’t much of an issue these days with hard disks coming in terabytes of space and memory cards in gigabytes for affordable prices, there are other factors to consider.
Video resolution should be chosen based on a project, for the use it’s intended.
For example, if you’re shooting a video for YouTube that many will end up watching on their mobile devices, it doesn’t make sense to shoot in 4K resolution. Full HD, or 1080p, is good enough for Youtube.
If you’re doing a talking-head video where people see only your face and nothing else, you could settle for 720p. Nobody will complain.
It was mentioned earlier, that storage space isn’t much of an issue these days. That is if you’re shooting the occasional video. If you’re into full-swing video production, then it all adds up and you’ll find yourself scrambling for storage space. Buying external hard disks, or signing up for storage space with a cloud computing service is costly.
The general guide is to use high-resolution video when it’s really needed. We’ve seldom heard people complaining that a video isn’t in 4K or Full HD. As long, as you’re not putting out grainy videos which interfere with audience enjoyment, you’re fine.
Always, remember Content, and not resolution, is King. We’ve all emerged from the days of VHS watching poor copies of videos. Most of us have learned to focus on content rather than quality.
Here’s the thing. A 720p video that tells a good story is far better than a 4K video without engaging content.
Video Resolution and Computing Power
Video resolution should also be taken into account based on your video editing resources.
If you’re an older slower computer, it wouldn’t be wise to shoot in a high resolution.
For our YouTube cooking channel, we shot videos in 720p (sweet spot for YouTube) because our computer runs only on an i3 processor with only 4GB RAM.
We tried shooting in Full HD. Even during the process of importing clips into the video editing, program, the computer froze.
Then when it came to editing, we could hardly play the clips on the video editing timeline. Playback was choppy when playback was possible. Otherwise, the video editing program mostly showed a ‘not responding’ message.
So, we switched to shooting in 720p and the problem disappeared.
Another factor to take into consideration when choosing your video resolution is your Internet connection speed. This is especially true if you’re uploading video to streaming services like YouTube.
If you have a slow Internet speed (without High-Speed Broadband), you’ll find it time-consuming to upload a video with a high resolution. So, you should also take this into account when deciding on your video resolution.
Say, you shoot a video and upload it through your phone. If you’ve shot a video with a high resolution you’ll have a big video file size.
This will consume many mobile data when you upload it to YouTube, for instance. If your mobile data rate is high, then you would want to consider shooting a lower-resolution video.
How to Change Video Resolution
In the earlier section, we advised you to shoot a video at the resolution of your project needs and your resources.
What if you shot the video at the highest quality resolution and then realize you need to change it?
The good news is you can change the resolution. You can always change a high-resolution video to a lower resolution. However, you can’t change a low-resolution video to a high-resolution one.
Use a Video Editor to Change Video Resolution
If you often use a video editor, you’ll have no problem changing your video resolution. Just import your video into the editing timeline and export it at a lower resolution.
Video editing programs come with various export settings. These days you can find export settings for web video and even for mobile devices.
All you’ve to do is just choose one of the export presets which provide different video resolutions.
If you’ve imported a Full HD 1080p video into Camtasia Studio, you can change the video resolution in the export settings.
You can easily change your video resolution to popular resolutions like 720p and 480p in the production settings. Or you may even set other resolution presets if you commonly use them.
Use Video Resolution Converters
If you don’t have a video editing program, then you can use a video resolution converter program. There are many free video resolution converter programs out there.
Change Video Resolution with Handbrake
A good one you can choose is the reputed Handbrake. Changing video resolution in Handbrake is pretty straightforward.
After importing your clip into Handbrake, go to the Dimensions tab and adjust the width and height of the video. Refer to the video resolution chart below for guidance.
Once done setting the pixel width and height, hit the Start Encode button.
If you don’t feel like installing additional software on your computer or if you’ve only a small file or two to convert, then you can use the service of an online video converter.
Generally, you can use these services for free if you’ve got a small video file size. Some of the services would not allow you to convert a file size that’s larger than 100MB.lp
Most of these free online video converters allow you to set the output resolution.
Take for instance the video online convert service.
After uploading your video and before conversion, you’re allowed to choose your output resolution from the presets.
Before you use any video resolution converter, you may want to look at the video resolution chart below for guidance.
Video Resolution Chart
Here’s a video resolution chart for your quick reference. It is based on commonly- used video resolutions.
|Resolution||Pixel Size||Pixel Count|
|8K/Full UHD||7680 x 4320||33,177,600|
|4K /UHD||3840 x 2160||8,294,400|
|1080p/Full HD||1920 x 1080||2,073,600|
|720p/HD Ready||1280 x 720||921, 600|
|480p/SD||640 x 480||307,000|
YouTube Video Resolution
Most people who create videos these days would want to upload them to YouTube. Many may be wondering what resolution should they upload.
Here are the video resolutions accepted by YouTube for publishing over their platform.
YouTube emphasizes uploading your videos with the 16:9 aspect ratio in mind. As such, it recommends uploading videos in the following resolutions to allow for easier processing.
|Resolution||Horizontal Pixels||Vertical Pixels|
Instagram Video Resolution Chart
You may use the details in the following table as a guide to decide on your video output resolution before sharing it over Instagram.
|Post Type||Aspect ratio||Resolution||Alternative Resolution|
|4:5||1080 x 1350p||1080 x 608p, 1080 x 1080p|
|4:5||1080 x 1350p||1080 x 608p, 1080 x 1080p|
|9:16||1080 x 1920p||1920 x 1080p|
|9:16||1080 x 1920p||1920 x 1080p, 1080 x 1350p (Feed IGTV videos) |
1080 x 1080p (IGTV Profile Grid videos
|Reels||9:16||1080 x 1920p|
|9:16||1080 x 1920p|
Tik Tok Video Resolution
When uploading video to Tik Tok (under 60 seconds) stick to the 1080×1920 resolution.