The Fundamentals of preparing photos and videos for online
Listen to Episode 92 of Podcast:
I make these quirky and sometimes whacky promo videos using Adobe After Effects.
Ep92: The Pixels 101 Show
The more you understand the process of preparing photos and videos for online content the easier it is to concentrate on creating.
Digital photos or videos are made up of individual pixel units and when an image looks nice and clear and sharp we do not see the pixel units. Images that look bad and blurry are ‘pixelated’ meaning we can see the pixels.
The p in 1080p = pixels
The px in 1920px x 1080px = pixels
The smaller the pixel and tighter they are packed together, the higher the quality and also a larger file size.
Tip: It’s always better to make images smaller than it is to take a small photo and try to enlarge it.
2. Resolution & PPI
Photos are often described as high or low res and that is referring to resolution, which has to do with the number or density of individual pixels in an image and how tightly they are packed together.
Videos do not use the terms low-res and high-res with video. You would use standard def, high-def or now 4K, etc.
High res is usually means that photo is suitable for printing and are usually sized at the dimension you want to print such as 5 x 7 inches at 300 ppi or pixels per inch.
Low res is best suited for the web or on screens and are most commonly sized as 72 or 96 ppi. With retina & 4K and beyond monitors, some are suggesting even higher ppi up to 150ppi.
ppi =pixels per inch (what you will use)
dpi = Dots per inch (printing term)
Pro tip is to export photos at the lowest settings possible that looks good to your eye and as soon as you see the quality go down, bump up a little so you get the lowest file size and best quality. Your website will accept high resolution giant photos and they may look great, but your website will take a long time to load and visitors will get frustrated and leave.
Experiment and use Trial and error. After doing it a few times, you’ll start to know what settings work for you.
In Photoshop: A good beginner exercise is to change from pixels to inches to see how they correspond. Note: Changing resolution from 72 dpi to 300 dpi does not improve quality of image.
In Adobe Lightroom: I set the ‘Long Edge’ to 2048 ppi and try the quality at 76 and see how it looks.
Relation to Podcasting
After I record this podcast, I do not export at the highest quality possible because the file size would be too big so I had to test and experiment and find the perfect balance of quality and size.
If my podcast was really big in file size it would take longer for you to download and would also take up a lot of space on your phone.
3. Aspect Ratio (Video)
Aspect Ratio is simply the relationship of width to height of a video or photo. Let that set in. Width (or horizontal) to Height (or vertical).
Aspect ratio is not the size of the video, but the proportions of the video.
The most common aspect ratio you are probably familiar with for online video right now is 16:9.
The first number 16 represents width and the second number 9 height. When you are watching a horizontal video on YouTube or taking videos on your iPhone, you are most like watching 16:9 HD Video, that may also hear be called 1080p or high-def video.
Commit this to memory as this will serve 90% of your video production needs: the most common video size is 1920 pixels x 1080 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9. And when I make my video thumbnails in Photoshop, my template is sized at 1920 pixels x 1080 pixels at 72 dpi. See how they fit together.
High-Def Video (most common) = 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Standard High-Def (legacy, but still kickin’) = 720p (1280x720 pixels) 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Vertical Video = (1080 x 1920 pixels) 9:16 Aspect Ratio (Instagram Stories)
Square Video I use 1920 x 1920 pixels. 1:1 Aspect Ratio (great for Instagram & Facebook)
Aspect Ratio Calculators are pretty awesome and helpful to learn different sizes. Check one out here
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