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 Video Jargon Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated: Navigating the Digital Landscape
Moments Blog by iMemories
December 8th, 2023

 Video Jargon Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated: Navigating the Digital Landscape

It’s no secret — video creation and editing can feel overwhelming for beginners who aren’t familiar with all the terminology and jargon. Dealing with analog video formats like tapes and film reels can be complicated enough, but as we’ve transitioned into the digital age, a new set of jargon and technical processes have emerged. To help ease the intimidation, we’ve put together this handy guide that will help demystify some of the key terms you’re hearing and seeing in digital video. We hope this empowers you to digitize and edit with confidence.


Video Resolution

Video resolution is a critical factor that determines the clarity and sharpness of your footage. Here’s a breakdown of common resolutions:

1 – Standard Definition/480p

Once the standard of visual quality, Standard Definition (SD) offers a resolution of 480p. While considered low by today’s standards, it still serves its purpose for certain applications.

2 – High Definition

  • 720p: This is a step up from SD, offering a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. It strikes a balance between quality and file size, making it suitable for various uses.
  • 1080p: Full High Definition (FHD) boasts a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It’s the standard for most content, providing crisp details and vibrant colors.
  • 2K: With a resolution of 2048 x 1080 pixels, 2K is commonly used in digital cinema. It sits right between 1080p and 4K, offering a high-quality viewing experience.
  • 4K: The gold standard for many filmmakers and content creators, 4K provides a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. It delivers strikingly realistic detail and is ideal for large displays.


Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship between the width and height of your video frame. Different ratios suit different purposes:

  • 4:3 – Once the standard for television screens, the 4:3 aspect ratio is nearly square. While less common today, it still has nostalgic value and may be used for specific artistic reasons.
  • 16:9 – The widescreen standard, 16:9 is prevalent in most modern content. It’s the default for YouTube, streaming services, and HD television broadcasts, providing a cinematic vibe.
  • 21:9 – Ultra-wide screens use the 21:9 aspect ratio, offering an immersive viewing experience. It’s gaining popularity for gaming and cinematic presentations.
  • 9:16 (Vertical Video) – With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, vertical videos in a 9:16 aspect ratio have become essential for engaging mobile audiences.


File Formats

Selecting the appropriate file format ensures compatibility and quality preservation. Here are the most commonly used formats:

  • MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14) – MP4 is a versatile format widely supported by various devices and platforms. It efficiently compresses video without sacrificing quality, making it the go-to choice for many.
  • MOV (QuickTime Movie) – Developed by Apple, MOV files are known for their high-quality compression. They are commonly used in professional video editing applications and are compatible with both Mac and Windows.
  • AVI (Audio Video Interleave) – AVI is a container format that can store video and audio data in a compressed format. While not as efficient in compression as other formats, it maintains excellent quality.
  • WMV (Windows Media Video) – WMV is a Microsoft-developed format that offers good compression without compromising quality. It’s commonly used in Windows environments.



Frame Rate

Frame rate, measured in frames per second (fps), determines how smoothly motion is captured in your video. Common frame rates include 24fps (cinematic standard), 30fps (standard for television), and 60fps (used for smooth motion, especially in gaming).


Audio Bitrate

Don’t overlook the audio aspect of your video. Audio bitrate refers to the amount of data processed per second. Higher bitrates result in better audio quality, ensuring your audience enjoys clear and immersive sound.


Video Editing Tools

Once you’ve captured your footage, the next step is editing. Here are some user-friendly video editing tools to get you started:

  • OpenShot – OpenShot is an open-source video editing software that’s intuitive and beginner-friendly. It provides a range of features, including support for various video formats and transitions.
  • Shotcut – Shotcut is a free, cross-platform video editing software with a wide range of features. It supports a plethora of formats and has advanced editing capabilities suitable for both beginners and experienced users.
  • iMovie – Exclusive to Mac users, iMovie is a user-friendly video editing tool that doesn’t compromise on features. It’s great for beginners and offers a smooth editing experience.


Understanding the jargon associated with digital video is a crucial step towards mastering the art of video creation and editing. Whether you’re aiming for a nostalgic 4:3 feel or diving into the modern-day world of 4K, grasping these concepts empowers you to bring your creative vision to life. With the right resolution, aspect ratio, file format, frame rate, audio bitrate, and editing tools, you’re well on your way to navigating the digital video landscape with confidence and creativity.

Not up for the challenge of DIY video editing? Professional companies like iMemories specialize in digitizing analog memories across all formats, allowing you to preserve your cherished memories for years to come and view on any device. Simply pack-up your VHS tapes, film reels, DVDs and more, and ship them off to the company’s Scottsdale, AZ headquarters for the professionals to handle. You’ll get back all of your originals, plus beautifully-digitized copies stored in the iMemories Cloud.


Happy digitizing!

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