More Image Advice

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the February/March, 2007, issue of
Larry’s Free Monthly Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Dave Haldiman, of Madison, Wisconsin, writes:

What suggestions can I tell to the art director for providing image files specifically for video, that will avoid the pixelation problem? Is there a filter that will smooth edges of graphics and text, without blurring them?

Larry replies: Still images cause more problems for Final Cut users than any other subject, except for system setup.

Keep in mind that video, unlike PhotoShop is EXTREMELY low resolution. Also, pixelization will be accentuated when displaying the videos on an LCD monitor at more than 100% size and viewing the monitor up close.

Rule #1: All video is bitmapped at a fixed size and resolution. This means, by definition, all images are composed of small rectangular pixels. Any edges that are not perfectly horizontal or vertical will always show stair-stepping.

Because video is fixed in resolution, all you are doing when displaying video to a larger screen is making the pixels bigger — and, thereby accentuating the pixelization. The worst thing you can do is look closely at video displayed on a large monitor.

Here are things to avoid for your text and images:

Also, because video is a fixed size, if you zoom an image, all you are doing is making the pixels bigger. There is NO anti-aliasing in video. Therefore, you are simply aggravating your pixelization.

Remember, it is NOT the dpi of the image — unlike print — it is the total pixels across by the total pixels down. If you want to zoom a 4:3 NTSC image, create it at 1800 x 1350 x 72 and you’ll be able to zoom it by 2.5x.

Video is best at showing motion and emotion. For this reason, keep your graphics moving and people won’t notice the stairstepping so much.

Here’s an article that goes into a lot more detail:

Improving the Look of Your Graphics and Text

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