Over the last 20 years, there’s been a boom in the video production industry. New formats advance and change it seems like every 5 years. Then we have to learn a new system of numbers and letters, what they mean, and how they fit into our workflow. But, what if you aren’t in the video industry, those numbers and letters may just seem like gibberish. Well, I think it’s time to break it all down for the lay person.


SD (Standard Definition): For those who grew up in the standard age of television, this is what you are used to. A square picture or actually rectangle because it was a 4:3 frame. Ironically what we are being forced back into with Instagram and Snapchat.

HD (High Definition): The video that became popular in the early 2000’s is up to three times the size of SD, and is popularized by being described as two numbers: 720 or 1080.

UHD (Ultra High Definition): Video that is gaining more popularity now. It is about 3 to 7 times bigger than High Definition and encompasses 4 K and 8K.

HDR (High Dynamic Range): This is about the lights and darks (contrast ratio) and how close the colors can seem to real life (color accuracy). Basically, it’s making the pixels better instead of adding more to create a better picture.

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface): This is a cable and input/output mechanism for the transport of high quality uncompressed audio and video. There is a limitation for how far away from your device you can be with the cable.

HEVC (High Efficiency Video Encoding): This is an encoding mechanism for Ultra High Definition or 4K to be compressed and sent around the web just as easily as regular high definition is now.

MP4 (Motion Picture Expert Group Part 4): This is a file format that is a universal container for compressed video and audio. Like jpegs, it is a cross platform, easily read file for uploading and downloading up to high definition video.

AR (Augmented Reality): AR is the integration of digital information from a device and the user’s environment in real time.

VR (Virtual Reality): VR is a completely simulated environment created through computer technology.

MR (Mixed Reality): This is a combination of both Augmented and Virtual Reality where there are either real objects in a virtual world or virtual objects or characters integrated into real environments.

SRT (SubRip File Format): This is a file that holds video subtitle information and is used for captioning videos online. This is a standard file that is read by DVD’s as well as most video uploading systems.


1080p (Full HD): 1080p refers to the absolutely pure form of the regular High Definition video format. The p stands for progressive scan, which means it isn’t field based. The best way to see full HD is from a Blu-Ray player connected by HDMI to a 1080p Television.

4K: This number refers to a video picture with a resolution of 4000 pixels. UltraHD is an offshoot of this video standard.

360 Degree Video: Also known as immersive video, it’s an interactive format that uses a device that has recorded a complete globular view at the same time. The viewer than has a chance to choose where they want to look in the video. The difference between this and VR, is 360 is video of a real world environment not created and you can interact with it on a screen.

120 FPS: This refers to the frames per second or the speed that a camera can capture a photo. By shooting this high, it means you can down convert it without losing motion quality. Plus, it makes for some great slow motion.

There you have it, just a few of the number and letter combos you’re going to see and what they mean. I know it’s something I have to stay up on, but now you have the ability to nerd out with me.