Understanding Video Quality

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All the videos produced by Vocal Video are in 1080p high definition. Unfortunately, the actual visual quality of any given response may not necessarily take advantage of every available pixel. How can this be, you may ask? Well, it's complicated.

The Hardware

Remember Polaroids? Or disposable cameras? Great for snapshots, but compare those photographs to a professional camera. What's the main difference? The lens. Just look at the difference in size:

All that glass goes a long way to creating a better quality picture. The same is true with webcams and phone cameras. The fact of the matter is that many devices just don't have a very good camera. Many webcams claim to capture 720p video, but we'd seen huge variation across devices.

The Software

Our primary goal is making video collection easy. This means taking advantage of browser standards, so respondents don't need to install anything special. And while we dream of a world where standards are just that, the reality is that every device and web browser has their own quirks.

Vocal Video customers, even those in the Fortune 500 like Google and HPE find that authenticity and ease of video collection from their subjects is more important than the technical quality of the video for many purposes. In terms of establishing credibility for your brand, it's often the human story that is most powerful, rather than perfection.

Device manufactures have made decisions about video quality, and as users, we often don't have the option to choose otherwise. Take the iPhone, for example. As far as phone camera go, it's one of the best. But, Apple has opted to forcible downgrade video quality when uploaded via a web browser.

The front camera of an iPhone Xs when captured through Safari. The image is forcibly downgraded to 360p.

What scoundrels! Given the same exact web standards, Android creates this beautiful image.

The front camera of a Google Pixel 2, captured through Chrome, in full 1080p glory.

But, not so fast. There is a trade off at play. The Android image does look a lot better, but at a huge cost: over twenty times the file size. And for someone on a mobile connection, that could translate to very long upload and excessive bandwidth costs.

The Art of the Shot

Even with great hardware or the best software, sometimes videos don't look great. Lighting, set design, and sound engineering are professions for a reason. Thankfully as more and more people get comfortable shooting videos, the overall skill level of the population goes up, but until then, what's a marketer to do?

We say: embrace it! Professional and polished videos will always have their place. But, it's hard, complicated, and above all, expensive. We believe truly authentic videos can transcend minor imperfections.

That's a Wrap

I hope I've been able to give you a little insight into the world of video quality. Let me leave you with one real life example. Here's a compilation of videos, all shot back to back, on various computers and phones. The quality variation is remarkable.

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