The basics of digital video on Smartphone you need to know!

When you start filming with a smartphone, you may come across video techniques that confuse you. If you want to learn the basics of cinematography with your smartphone, it is important to understand these terms. This saves you a lot of hassle and helps you set up the camcorder app on your smartphone correctly. This will also help you when you want to edit your video.

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HD Video

You will often hear the term HD video, but it can mean many different things. HD means High Definition and refers to all videos with a higher resolution than Standard Definition or SD. SD is the format in which older camcorders were used. HD can be misleading because there are many HD video formats. It does not refer to a specific form of digital video, but to a group of digital video formats.

There are three different groups of HD video: 720 HD, 1080 HD and Digital Cinema HD, including 2K, 4K, 6K, 8K and 12K. All these formats can record at different frame rates.

The 720 HD has a resolution of 1280 x 720 and scans gradually. When HD first appeared in consumer cameras, it was the most widely used HD format. Supports frame rates of 23,976p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 59.94p and 60p. It has a native aspect ratio of 16:9.

1080 HD has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and is the most popular HD format. It has a progressive or nested framework. Interlaced video consists of two interconnected fields that form a single video frame. Each image has two fields, so a frame rate of 25 frames per second would give a field order of 50. This is commonly known as the 50i. Most television stations broadcast their programmes using interlaced scanning.

Digital films shown in cinemas have progressive images. Most filmmakers now shoot in progressive format because this is the best format for the internet. Television, too, is changing to progressive images. The supported frame rates for television are 23,976p, 24p, 29.97p, 30p, 50i, 59.94i and 60i. You can certainly go higher. The 1080 HD has the same 16×9 format as the 720 HD.

Digital cinema has a higher resolution than HD 1080 and is comparable to the quality of 35mm film. The most common resolution is 4,000 horizontal pixels or 4K, but it can be up to 6K, 8K and 12K. It has a progressive format and can support different frame rates, but usually 24 frames per second.

All these formats have a high video quality. The choice depends on where you want to show your finished video. If you’re just making videos for the web, the 720 HD is a perfect choice. If you plan to broadcast your video on television, you must use HD 1080. If you want to project your video in a cinema, 4K is the best solution.

Your final choice depends on where you want to show your latest video. Personally, I think 1080 HD is a good all-round format for watching videos in movies, on TV and online.

digital video components

So you have chosen a video format, but it is also important to know what elements each video file contains. The video file itself is nothing more than a recording stored on your smartphone’s hard drive. It usually consists of video and audio tracks, images, scan lines, pixels and audio samples. This data collection forms the final video file and becomes important when you want to edit your final video.

Video and audio tracks

When you record video with your smartphone’s camera, the audio and video information is recorded and converted to data files stored on the smartphone’s hard drive. This data is collected by means of individual tracks. This is usually a video track and a stereo audio track. Metadata is also recorded, which can add the date, time and location where you recorded the video. The file also contains some kind of time code, i.e. a set of counting digits that are important for the output.

Video images

Video tracks have video frames that create a moving image when played back one after the other. These images have different resolutions depending on the recorded video format. The 1080 HD has a higher image resolution than the 720 HD, and the 4K is almost four times the resolution of the 1080 HD. The higher the resolution, the more information the video file contains about the image.

One second of a video has a certain number of frames. These images are still images that create the illusion of movement. The number of frames per second determines the frame rate. HD video has many different frame rates based on different transmission standards or traditional movies. Film, American broadcast video (NTSC) and European broadcast video (PAL) have different frame rates.

  • The film has a frame rate of 24p or 23,976p.
  • NTSC video has frame rates of 29.97p, 30p, 59.94i, 60i, 59.94p and 60p.
  • PAL video has a frame rate of 25p or 50i.

The frame rate you choose depends on where you want to show your final video. But he’s getting less and less important! Smartphones, computers and modern televisions translate the different frequencies of video images well. It is recommended to maintain the same frame rate during recording as this makes video editing more stable. You can also get a higher frame rate to use it in slow motion.

Aspect Ratio

The height and width of the image is the aspect ratio. 720 HD and 1080 HD movies have a 16×9 format. Older standard definition video formats have an aspect ratio of 4×3. With adapters such as Moondog’s anamorphic lens, you can get different aspect ratios to create the widescreen images you see in movies.

Audio tracks

Each video file recorded with a smartphone usually contains a mixed stereo file. That means two audio tracks. One of these tracks leans to the left and the other to the right. Mixing these two audio tracks results in a single stereo audio file. Unlike video cameras, these audio tracks are not independent of each other. If you connect an audio mixer to your smartphone, connect two microphones of different levels and mix them left and right, the two will be mixed in the same stereo file. The left and right channels will end up in the same place.

This looks like a stereo file that is in mono (only one audio track). On the camcorder, these left and right tracks will reach a height in different places. This situation is annoying and can only be corrected by recording on a separate audio recorder. Then synchronize the audio with your video while editing. Newer smartphones like iPhone 7 and later now record with independent left and right sound, but for older smartphones you need to use an external recorder if you want a real two-channel stereo file. For most video works, this barrier will not be a problem. Stereo is only used for music tracks and split stereo files. Professional filmmakers record most dialogue in mono.

Audio sampling

Digital audio is a sound wave formed in samples. These samples have a number of kHz that determines the quality of the sound. The higher the number, the better the sound quality. This number may vary, but most audio recordings for video are recorded at 48 kHz. Compact discs have a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz, while digital cinema discs can record up to 96 kHz. You should always try to record sound at 48 kHz. This is the standard for digital video on most camcorders. You also need to install all external audio recorders at 48 kHz. If you don’t, you may have problems synchronizing audio and video while editing. If the video audio file and the external audio file do not match the kHz frequency, they will not synchronize.

Codes and bit rate

Most smartphones record videos in MP4 format. This is a compressed video file that can contain several video codecs. H264 is the standard codec for an MP4 video file. Your smartphone compresses videos in H264 and ignores the pixels repeated in the image. So it can create small video files and give you more time to record from your smartphone’s hard drive. Video files are compressed according to the size of the bit rate. The higher the bit rate, the better the quality of the video.

The video broadcast usually has a bitrate of 50mbs. If you want more recording time on your smartphone, you can set it under 32 mb. If you want high quality, you can go up to 100 mb. Note that you can only adjust the bit rate for certain camera applications. With Filmic Pro you can adjust the bit rate and control the final quality of your video files. The bit rate you choose depends on where you want to show your final video. If you only produce video for the Internet, a lower speed will do. If you are planning to use your video for a broadcast or movie screening, consider a higher bit rate.

Engineering activities

Try not to get carried away by the jargon. It’s good to know a little more, but it’s not the end of the world to be wrong. For the most part, I would say that you can record HD 1080 video at 25 or 30 frames, depending on the country of origin, and set the sound to 48 kHz. For most video tasks, these settings should work for you.

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