Basic Videography Terms

If you’re only just starting to dabble in videography as a hobby, then you’re in for a treat. You’re in for a world of fulfilment and amusement. There’s a learning curve at first, though. There are terms you’ll want to know and remember.


Here are the ones that I think you’re going to need to know moving forward.


The first term is a pair, NTSC vs. PAL.


NTSC is the broadcasting standard used in North America, South America, and some parts of Asia. PAL gets used everywhere else. The differences tend to come down to technical details, such as file size, colours, and frames-per-second.


Older cameras may have one or the other only. Modern cameras have both.


Another pair of terms is progressive vs. interlaced.


These words are tied to video playback capability. If the screen displays whole frames as single images, one after another, you have progressive video sampling. This creates a sharper image. Progressive playback is making a splash, with the hardware needed becoming more popular.


On the other hand, interlaced video blends elements from two frames together. The result is the image spliced to form each frame. In most cases, this is still the standard because it’s easier to find hardware that records and plays back in this form.


You’ll probably want hardware that can do both. Progressive provides better quality video, but it isn’t played back universally yet.


Finally, there is bit rate.


Bit rate is the amount of digital information that’s in a second of a video file. Higher bit rate means better quality, but also the more bandwidth the video eats up.


A low bit rate means that you won’t have a lot of trouble playing it back on most digital devices. On the other hand, a higher bit rate might be challenging for some hardware. At the same time, a high bit rate might cause lag during playback unless you have some very good equipment.

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