720p - Worthwhile?

So I’m in the market for a DSLR, and have been for a while. I’ve done tons of research, and I probably won’t get one with video capabilities.

However, let’s just say I’m thinking of getting into doing the occasional artistic short film. The lenses would be a huge advantage, but is 720p considered high-res enough for serious work? The Canon T1i, for example, although I’m not liking the unnecessary megapixels, shoots 720p at 30fps, and 1080p at 20fps. 20 is a bit slow for anything I’m going to put time into, so is 720p good enough in terms of resolution? I don’t know too much about video resolutions – I just don’t have sense of what they’re used for. What are most short films shot in (if digital)? What is TV resolution, in general, if it’s HD? Etc.

1080p is considered the ‘real’ HD format, although technically 720p is as well.

As for what is commonly used in TV’s, the most common resolutions are 1920x1080, followed by 1366x756. As far as TV’s go, 1280x720 is pretty uncommon, but that’s not a huge issue, because it’s the same aspect ratio, and it would easily upscale. And as far as what’s common in filming shorts - I don’t really know, but I’m sure a very large portion of them are only 720. Camera’s that can film 1080 with a clear picture and a good framerate are pricey. Very. And short film projects don’t usually have a
massive budget, to say the least.

You shouldn’t have any problems filming in 720p. Definitely avoid filming in 20FPS, you’ll regret it later if you do.

Full HD is 1080p at 24FPS.
720p is also HD, but it’s obviously a lower resolution. The specs allow for playback rates of 24fps AND 48fps. Standard framerates for NTSC and PAL are also supported for both types, I believe, and 720p allows for double the playback rate as well (IE, NTSC @60fps, FILM @ 48fps and PAL @ 50fps). The resolutions for all of them are the same, so many TVs support all the available playback rates. If you can shoot 720p at 24FPS, tho, I’d stick with that, since all the TV’s can play it.

Many LCD and Plasma TV’s max out at 720p. If you ever plan to have anything screened in a theater, 1080p is pretty much a minimum, but 720 might be passable. For reference, Micheal Mann’s last three films were all shot on digital HD cameras at 1080p, and they look pretty good, though it’s very noticeable that he’s not using film. It’s not a bad look, but it can be tricky to light it properly - especially in lower light conditions - and a lot of the traditional techniques for film lighting will look like ass when shot digitally. But then, I dunno if the same lighting rules would apply on an SLR camera’s video…

I think another concern would be storage… how much video can you store on an SD Card? at 720p, I’d guess a lot could fit onto a 1 or 2 GB card… I’d say if you buy the camera you’d probably have fun shooting some 720p stuff for the web or for people to download. In a theater it just might not go over as well, but I can’t recall ever having seen 720p resolution video displayed in a theater, so I can’t say for sure what the quality would be.

Thanks for the info. Yeah, apparently 1080p 24 would be nice – considered acceptable for a feature film. Funny that they really could not squeeze 4 more frames per second into the T1i. Deliberate crippling? I think so.

Well, I’m not expecting anything to be shown in a theatre anytime soon, ha ha. So you think 720p is fine even for a serious short film, for example. I guess I agree. The way I look at it, a few years down the road, we will probably have really good resampling technology, and it can be scaled up :stuck_out_tongue:
But what about framerate? The Canon T1i shoots 720p at 30 fps. Better to go higher, right? But there seems to be this huge debate about 24fps being more “cinematic”.

As for what is commonly used in TV’s, the most common resolutions are 1920x1080, followed by 1366x756. As far as TV’s go, 1280x720 is pretty uncommon, but that’s not a huge issue, because it’s the same aspect ratio, and it would easily upscale.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. 1366x768? Every HD television set I’ve seen has either been 1920x1080 or 1280x720. What you’re describing is the WXGA format. 1280x720 is MUCH more common; in fact it’s practically ubiquitous aside from it’s larger cousin.

A lot of TV’s around ~32’’ are 1366x768. Mine is, and I know of lots of others that are. I rarely see TV’s that are 720p, actually. It’s nearly always 768 or 1080. But that’s just from my experience.

This doesn’t really help you much in any way but I just wanted to correct this statement, movies don’t actually use 1080p because threatre movies for some reason don’t use the 16:9 ratio of HDTV, I can’t exactly remember what ratio and resolutions are for

I wouldn’t bother shooting video in HD unless it was 1080p. you’re unlikely to be able to see much difference between 720p and SD NTSC footage anyway, especially if you’re going to be watching it on a screen any larger than 28 inches.

get a second hand 16mm camera and shoot on that - you’ll get much better results, especially if you have the hardware to digitise it!

Of course, there’s always the option of getting the cheaper RED cameras…which are pretty damn sweet.


…At 24 fps. What I really wonder is this: is 20 fps really useful for anything at all?

nope. At least not unless you plan to release all your content on vimeo…