The topic comes up every now and then and I wanted to pose the question here: What is HD?
I often hear people (and industry professionals) bicker about this camera or that format not being “real HD.” The common arguments seem to be:
- 720p is not HD
- HDV is not HD
- anything less than 4:4:4 is not HD
At the heart of this post is an interview with John Galt, SVP of Digital Imaging at Panavision that appeared in Creative Cow in February. John made the statement that the 4k resolution of cameras like the Red One are “marketing pixels,” and that the Panavision Genesis (1080 at 4:4:4) should then be considered 6k.
If we’re going down that road, the only true HD is uncompressed 4:4:4 at 1080p. (And conversely, the only “true SD” was probably Digital Betacam, and even that was 4:2:2.) HD is not a strict definition. If anything, I think it means resolution. We have 720P, 1080i and 1080p. Any of those are HD. The rest is specifics.
Yes, some formats are more compressed than others, and some have better color sampling. That doesn’t mean it’s not HD. In the end, these are all details that factor into the decision of what camera and format to use. But to say the Red One is not 4k, or that HDV is not “real HD” is just nonsense.