Learn Center: Video Modes

Understanding and Using Your Camera's Video Mode

Camera LCD display

Have you ever been in a situation when you wished you had a video camera with you? Well as long as you have your Olympus camera, you are all set! Shooting a video is pretty simple on most new cameras, press a direct movie button or make a menu selection to start capturing your video. But how do you know which resolution is best to record your movie?

First, consider what device you will be viewing your movie on, and if you plan on uploading or emailing your video. Larger files always take longer to load, so you may want to consider a smaller file size. Also, smaller file sizes allow you to record for a longer period of time on a smaller memory card. However, if you have plenty of memory and are hoping to preserve your memories in the highest quality, use the highest quality setting with which your camera is equipped.

  • SD simply means Standard Definition, this is the format used in the older NTSC or PAL television signals. This is good for playback on older deceives, or if you need a smaller file. It is lower resolution -- about 1/6 that of HD. Some cameras may refer to this as VGA movie mode. The resolution of VGA is 640 x 480 pixels. If you need to record in a smaller file format, try QVGA which is 320 x 240 pixels.

  • HD or High Definition has replaced SD for most uses, and has a larger more detailed image. The common formats for this are 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. Most television broadcasts are currently in 720p.

  • The “i” in 1080i stands for interlaced scan, which overlays two fields to create 1 frame of the video. SD movies and the HD 1080i use an interlaced scan. This is why many of the older videos looked soft and jagged when you freeze a frame for viewing.

  • The “p” in 720p stands for progressive scan, which delivers all the frame information in one scan. Progressive scan is used by computer monitors, tablets, and new HD Televisions.

Beyond the different video settings, some cameras can use an optional external microphone; if yours does it will eliminate lens noise when shooting. If you don’t have an external microphone set up your camera and zoom the lens before you begin videoing -- this will help reduce the camera sounds from zooming and focusing while you shoot.

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