How to Make a Video - Hints and Tips

Quick Tips

The tips below are intended to be brief answers to some of the most often asked questions relating to the production industry. They are intended solely to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the Reader of this Page. Please use your best judgement in applying these suggestions. If you have any questions relating to any of the tips below please contact us.

What is Widescreen

When you measure the length and height of a television display or screen, computer monitor or any other form of video display the ratio of these measurements is called the aspect ratio. The two most common aspect ratios in use today are 4:3 (used in older style televisions) and 16:9 or commonly known as widescreen (newer modern displays). The aspect ratio has nothing to do with whether the television is High Definition or Standard Definition. To download a more in-depth article on Widescreen click here.

SD Versus HD

One of the most frequently asked questions is "should my production be in High Definition or Standard Definition?' With the transition from SD to HD television broadcast and with the increasing popularity of the internet, video over the phone and other PDA devices, there is no one answer to fit all. Step one will be to identify what devices your viewers will be using and then determine the best format for the distribution to the greater number. I suggest the following:

1) High Definition for anything likely to be broadcast to television, shown in cinemas, released on Blu-ray discs or anything to be viewed on large high definition screens.

2) Standard Definition for anything to be distributed on DVD, internet or other lower resolution players.

It is worth noting that DVDs are still the most effective way of distribution for OH&S and Training DVDS etc, as the take up of Blu-ray players is still less than 5%. See also Should I Film in HD and DVD versus Blu-ray below.

Should I Film in HD

If it has been determined that your production will be distributed on Standard Definition DVDs, what of the future? By filming in High Definition and producing your production in Standard Definition you can future proof your footage so that it can be used in any High Definition projects in the future.

DVD Versus Blu-Ray

DVDs are still the most effective form of distribution, they are easy to produce, still look good, even when playing back on High Definition displays and almost everyone has access to a DVD player. What about Blu-ray? Blu-ray has now been accepted as the High Definition Disc Format to replace the Standard Definition DVD. The problem is that uptake has been slow, with less than 5% of the population having a Blu-ray player. This figure is rising slowly, but is still slow due to the high cost for both consumers, and production houses set up costs. Considering these factors, Standard Definition DVDs will still be the most effective form of distribution for a few years yet.

My DVD Will Not Play

Most of the time there is a simple explanation for disc failure but in some instances there is absolutely nothing you can do to make that disc play on a certain players. These are commonly known as compatibility issues. Compatibility issues can be kept to a minimum by following the tips below.

Also, to download a more in-depth article on disc failure click here.

1) Burn another disc

a) Try burning another disc. Faulty discs or a failure in the burning process can occur.

2) Authoring software

a) Check that you have the DVD project set to the correct broadcast standard eg Australia= PAL USA = NTSC.

b) Check the region setting is set to your region or set it to All Regions.

c) Check the Data Rate is not set too high. Ideally settings should be no more than 5.5 Mbps for the Bit Rate and 7.2 Mbps for the Max Bit Rate.

3) Media

a) Check that disc media is correct type for both authoring software and the disc burner eg -R, -RW, +R, +RW.

b) Try a better quality or another brand disc. You will be surprised what a difference this can make.

4) DVD burner

a) Try burning a disc using different software or another burner.

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