What resolution should I downgrade to?

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Technique Editing What resolution should I downgrade to?

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    • #85070

      Hello, my dear friends. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my question and offer your suggestions.

      I am just now digging in to home video filming, partly as a hobby, and partly for work. I need a tiny bit of advice regarding video resolution.

      Essentially, I am filming a series of skits digitally with two and three actors in each. I am trying to edit the videos on my laptop, using PowerDirector13 on a laptop with a 2.1GHz processor and 3GB RAM, using Vista Home Premium. (I started out on Windows Movie Maker, two months ago, and I am slowly upgrading to better programs, as you might guess. After this I may upgrade to Vegas, Premiere, or whatever, in a year or two. I have limited access to a Mac with iMovie installed, but most of my editing must be on the Sony Vaio described above, using PD13, for now).

      Well, I ran into some file-size trouble. I recorded the first skit with two cameras (A & B), and used digital memo recorders on each actor, to record the sound, hoping to sync it all later on the computer. I recorded everything in HD mode at very high resolution, in MP4 format, having never used my Canon Vixia HF R500 before, assuming it would be better resolution than what I really needed, but just to be safe. My 45-minute takes came out to about 4GB each. Consequently, things are sluggish on the timeline in PD13, with my limited hardware. (I have no means of upgrading hardware at this point)

      Now I have decided that, in order to edit faster, I need to back-track, if possible; make a separate copy of the clips, and downgrade those to a lower resolution, so that I can do the editing faster with my limited hardware. Then I will mix them down to make my finished "movie." (I will keep the original raw footage separate somewhere, filed away, at high resolution) This first take was not great anyway, so I will make a better one another day anyway. I need to get what I've got, ready to go by this Sunday. The editing will not very complicated anyway–a question of just removing mistakes, off-camera remarks, background noise, etc.

      I could not find an efficient way to downgrade in PD13, nor in Windows Movie Maker, so am trying "Any-Video Converter", to do the downgrade conversion, having never done this before. Later I will use the downgraded footage, to do the editing.

      What I would rather NOT do is to downgrade the quality too much, nor to keep it too high, as my goal, at this point, is to get the video edited fast, and as soon as possible. I would not want to waste six hours doing the conversion, only to find that the resolution was too low.

      Consequently, my only real question is: what resolution should I convert to, and how.

      To answer that, I know that you need to know how I intend to show the video. I intend to use this particular finished movie ONLY to show with an ordinary video projector, in conjunction with a PowerPoint presentation, but NOT EMBEDDED into the presentation. I just want to save the WMV file, or MP4 or whatever, to the desktop, and open it after I finishing showing my PowerPoint presentation. The finished file size is therefore irrelevent, but the size of the clips during the editing is the issue.

      I might add that, essentially, the format for the clip downgrade is not an issue for me, either, as long as PD13 will import it and allow me to edit it easily.

      Essentially, I want the best resolution possible for this simple projector set-up, to present before about 1,000 people in a small building, about half the size of a typical high-school cafeteria in the U.S. (for those of you who know). I would project at a distance of about twenty feet from the screen, and the audience would sit another thirty or forty feet from it, in the opposite direction.


      Can you tell me what specs to downgrade to? What bit rate? What video size? (e.g., 720×576) What format should I save these downgraded clips to, for editing? Keep them in MP4? What format should I export my finished movie to, for showing?

      Thank you so much for taking the time to offer your suggestions.


    • #211805

      I would recommend converting your footage to standard-def DV-AVI.  Just remember to pick whether this will be showing on a NTSC (720×480) or PAL (720 x 576) projector. Plus DV will not use as much processor power as MP4's ( also MP4's/H.264 are extremely compressed to begin with, so even in DV you might run into a few frames where, if there was fast movement it might look soft or pixelated).  And then just output your file to an AVI.

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