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  • What to do about getting uncompressed codecs when shooting slow motion?

  • Eric Kornblum

    December 21, 2022 at 12:33 am

    Hiya Tim,
    As others here have mentioned, MP4 spans a broad range of quality levels depending on the bit depth (8 bit vs 10 bit), chroma subsampling (4:2:2 vs 4:2:0), and data rate.

    8 bit 4:2:0 is pretty common as a final delivery format, so in theory if you shot everything framed, exposed, and white balanced perfectly in-camera, and you didn’t want to have creative flexibility in terms of color correction/grading or moving/scaling the video in your edit, you could actually shoot that way. But that’s theory 🙂

    In reality, I’d suggest you’re really going to want to record using a 10 bit 4:2:2 codec (or better), as any footage (regardless of codec) will quickly start degrading once you start color grading/correcting, moving/resizing, etc.

    As far as data rate, what you’ll want/need will depend on how much detail there is in your scene and how much movement there is. As a reference point, Sony’s FX30 (the lowest $1800 entry point to their cinema line) will do 1080p240, 10 bit 4:2:2 at 50 mbps (using an IPB codec) or at 222 mbps (using an all I-frame codec).

    And as others here have mentioned, if future-proofing is a big concern, you may want to consider shooting at 4k (or UHD) instead of 1080p (HD). But of course this can bump you up into a higher price bracket not just for the camera, but also for the memory cards, storage space, processing power, etc…

    Sounds like a fun/interesting project. Best wishes for it!

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