shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

Started Jul 10, 2013 | Discussions
james b norman Senior Member • Posts: 2,150
shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

I need to video some classical music performances - audio will be recorded separately and synced in post.  my camera can shoot in either 720p or 1080i.  there is not any real action or fast moving objects in the music performances - pretty static, single camera view.

I have read that 720p is actually higher true resolution than 1080i, since only half the frame is displayed/recorded at a time (so true res is only 1920x540).  but I also read that 1080i "appears" to be sharper.  720p is said to be smoother (I think I understand that part).

for those of you who have shot video in both modes, which do you think looks best?  can you point me to example videos that can clearly show me the difference between a 720p clip and a 1080i clip?

thanks.

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jnorman
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OP james b norman Senior Member • Posts: 2,150
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

hmmm - i just watched a few videos on youtube that compare 720p vs 1080i.  while i could not really decide if one was sharper than the other, it was very clear that 1080i did not handle motion nearly as well as 720p.  the 1080i clips became very pixelated on quickly moving objects.

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jnorman
sunridge studios
salem, oregon
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Cambo 45NX, nikkor SW 90/8, 135/5.6, 210/5.6
Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 (1948 model)

Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson Forum Pro • Posts: 15,000
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

james b norman wrote:

hmmm - i just watched a few videos on youtube that compare 720p vs 1080i. while i could not really decide if one was sharper than the other, it was very clear that 1080i did not handle motion nearly as well as 720p. the 1080i clips became very pixelated on quickly moving objects.

It's difficult to assess quality using Youtube clips because you never know if the video has been overly compressed by Youtube or by the person uploading it (in order to minimize upload time).

The interlaced artifacts you get with 1080i shouldn't be a problem if there really isn't much motion in your shot.   But yes, with rapid motion, especially smooth motion like a pan, they can be quite problematic.

If you already have a camera and your only choices are 720p or 1080i then you have a dilemma - but you also have the option of actually shooting something you think will be similar to your planned subject and then judging for yourself which works best.

If you don't have a camera or are able to buy, borrow or steal (!) one, then look for one that gives you the option of 1080p30 or 1080p60.   The latter isn't as universally playable (yet), but it gives you the best resolution combined with the best reproduction of fast motion.

lancespring Veteran Member • Posts: 3,974
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

As Sean pointed out 720 is more widely available to be recorded at 60p, which would definitely give it an advantage when filming motion.  Not that many cameras can record at 1080/60p yet, if you are using a DSLR.

720p is plenty of resolution unless you plan to create some Blu-Ray disks of the music.   For DVD's or publishing online, 720p will get the job done very well.

.

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OP james b norman Senior Member • Posts: 2,150
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

thanks sean and lance - i think i will simply try making clips at both settings, check them out on my HDTV and make my decision from what i see.  I appreciate your comments.

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jnorman
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Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 (1948 model)

Alan_W1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,646
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

I regulary alternate between 720p and 1080i, although this is mainly due to different camera features being available to either option {on my gh2}......which {along with shooting conditions and method of viewing/display} tend to influence my choice.

I am very far from expert though, and tend to rely on trial and error.

For me {as someone who shoots video for tv viewing, via bluray mainly}, I find 1080i to give a noticeably superior result with my finely detailed subjects {mainly birds}, than with 720p......on my tv screen.

That said, I find 720p to be preferable to 1080i for computer viewing {youtube}, and if i were shooting in an environment less susceptible to atmospherics {indoors etc} then i would likely remain with 720p exclusively, given those two options.

Bear in mind that my area of video interest is vastly different to your intended project, and therefore my comments may be of little value.

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Jamon47 Regular Member • Posts: 456
Is your camera shooting 1080i60 from a 30fps sensor output?

Sean Nelson wrote:

james b norman wrote:

hmmm - i just watched a few videos on youtube that compare 720p vs 1080i. while i could not really decide if one was sharper than the other, it was very clear that 1080i did not handle motion nearly as well as 720p. the 1080i clips became very pixelated on quickly moving objects.

It's difficult to assess quality using Youtube clips because you never know if the video has been overly compressed by Youtube or by the person uploading it (in order to minimize upload time).

The interlaced artifacts you get with 1080i shouldn't be a problem if there really isn't much motion in your shot. But yes, with rapid motion, especially smooth motion like a pan, they can be quite problematic.

If you already have a camera and your only choices are 720p or 1080i then you have a dilemma - but you also have the option of actually shooting something you think will be similar to your planned subject and then judging for yourself which works best.

If you don't have a camera or are able to buy, borrow or steal (!) one, then look for one that gives you the option of 1080p30 or 1080p60. The latter isn't as universally playable (yet), but it gives you the best resolution combined with the best reproduction of fast motion.

I agree with Sean that 1080i can cause interlaced artifacts (combing effect) when there is too much motion in a shoot. But if your camera delivers 1080i from a sensor output of 30fps and not 60fps, interlacing artifacts will be minimal if visible at all.

I have a 2011 Sony HX9V. When shooting in 1080p60 the HX9V sensor output is 60fps but when shooting in 1080i60 the sensor output is 30fps, then the camera splits the odd and even lines of each single frame and wrap both fields in a 60i container. So essentially, when set at 60i the HX9V sensor behaves as if the camera was set at 30p. I have shot action scenes with it and never “visibly” noticed the combing effect. But when I shot in 1080p60 and convert the final edited file to 1080i60 for friends that ask for this format, then the combing effect is visible in action scenes.

So, is your camera shooting 1080i60 from a 30fps or 60fps sensor output? Shooting 720p is obviously from a 60fps sensor output.

Overcranky Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

Testing for yourself is the best course of action here.

It really depends on many variables. What camera are you using? Is 1080i a true progressive or PSF? What bitrate is used for each resolution. How are you post-processing?

It also depends on the final delivery medium. It probably doesn't really matter for the youtube assuming 1080i is properly deinterlaced (processing would be different for PSF vs true interlaced).

For your intended use 1080i may look better on a high resolution display when played at a high enough bitrate assuming your camera actually resolves 1080 lines in the final output.

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buratino
buratino Contributing Member • Posts: 830
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

james b norman wrote:

I need to video some classical music performances - audio will be recorded separately and synced in post. my camera can shoot in either 720p or 1080i. there is not any real action or fast moving objects in the music performances - pretty static, single camera view.

I have read that 720p is actually higher true resolution than 1080i, since only half the frame is displayed/recorded at a time (so true res is only 1920x540). but I also read that 1080i "appears" to be sharper. 720p is said to be smoother (I think I understand that part).

for those of you who have shot video in both modes, which do you think looks best? can you point me to example videos that can clearly show me the difference between a 720p clip and a 1080i clip?

thanks.

1920x1080 60i from Canon M500 is sharper than 1920x1080 60p from Pana V700. While 60i is very strange format, I would choose it over 720p60.

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Henry Falkner
Henry Falkner Forum Pro • Posts: 15,674
Re: shoot video at 720p or 1080i?

james b norman wrote:

thanks sean and lance - i think i will simply try making clips at both settings, check them out on my HDTV and make my decision from what i see. I appreciate your comments.

In my perception, you have to look at the whole chain of gear used to capture, produce and display your videos.

My camera (Olympus SZ-30MR produces both 720p and 1080p (eliminating the 1080i discussion).

But my laptop has an Intel i3 equivalent (AMD Turion) in it, and that stutters helplessly when rendering 1080p. New Zealand Television has standardised on HD720p. Our broadband also has problems when streaming 1080p from Vimeo.

If you look at the broadest distribution possible at this particular time, I would go for HD720p. The format reduces the appearance of de-compression artifacts, and it has fewer problems when streaming (stopping to let the download catch up).

A friend of mine keeps hammering me with the observation that HD720p by definition is NOT 'High Definition' - but it still beats VGA hands down.

Henry

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