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This chapter provides background knowledge on terms like content format, aspect ratio and resolution.
Since the invention of film and TV, a lot of image formats have been around and are still in use. Three different fields have their specific image formats:
8mm, 16mm, 35mm, IMAX
SD (PAL, PAL+, NTSC), HD (720i/p, 1080i/p),UHD
VGA, SVGA, XGA, SXGA, SXGA+, QXGA, 4k
Many television formats are subdivided into progressive scan (= p) and interlaced image (=i). Most digital devices are optimized for progressive scan. In Pandoras Box, the setting "Deinterlacing" can be found in the content's Inspector tab.
All these different image formats have different aspect ratios and different resolutions as explained below.
The resolution describes the width and height dimensions of content or outputs. The above mentioned TV format "1080p" for example means 1920 x 1080 pixels and "XGA" means 1024 x 768 pixels.
The aspect ratio describes the relationship of the width and height. Common aspect ratios range are for example: 4:3 or 16: 9 or 1:1,85.
Both, aspect ratio and resolution are very important figures to consider during content production. It goes without saying that content can only fit on screens or displays if both aspect ratios are the same. Wrong settings lead to distortions in your images, i.e. a circle may not look round anymore. Likewise the resolutions should match. If content is produced to small, it must be enlarged which leads to blurry images at some point. Too large content on the other hand might need too much rendering performance.
Pandoras Box, per default, renders content with its native aspect ratio and native resolution. However you have many possibilities to influence it:
- Layer Inspector
- X and Y scaling
- Mesh objects
- for more advanced users, the Camera settings might be of interest.
These settings are regarding the content / input side. The output settings need to be done on the displays or projectors and can be influenced in the Configuration tab > Render Engine.
Resolution wise, the trend towards higher resolutions is unbroken since years. This does not only impact content production and display technology but of course also rendering. When using high resolutions or when rendering a lot of content at the same time you should always consider that there is a performance limit which defines what is possible to render on one Pandoras Box system. For Pandoras Box hardware, there are Performance Sheets available in our Download-Center.
Depending on the screen design, you may not always need the highest resolution for playback. If your setup consists of a large background image with a smaller video insert window, it does not necessarily need to be fullHD resolution. Playing it back with an originally smaller size, will save you performance!
Resizing content to a smaller output resolution may lead to a worse image quality. Therefore it can be more effective if the content has been created for the desired image size.
It is recommended to work with high resolution files if you need the largest flexibility. If the flexibility is not required or if the performance limit is reached, it is better to decide which content must have a smaller resolution.
For a maximum of performance and image quality, the optimum case would be to have all video files in several resolutions.
But even when your screen has large dimensions, this does not necessarily create the need for a high definition video projection. Creating content in 4k or HD is more expensive than SD and the decision should also be taken upon criteria like the distance from the audience to the screen or whether the nature of the projected image is more a graphical background animation or real film footage or readable text. Based on this you should decide, in which resolution your content needs to be created, respectively what resolutions are needed for your display or projector and how your Pandoras Box setup then looks like.