480p vs 720p

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In "Produce and Share" we have the option for Mp4 up to 480p or up to 720p.

I don't understand when or why I would choose one over the other. In the tutorial videos I found one video on Produce and Share, and in it he said see the other videos for more details, but I found no others.

Can someone please explain?
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Posted 7 years ago

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Shane Lovellette, Employee

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Thanks for your question Bob. 480p and 720p refer to the dimensions and size of the video that will be produced. 480p is smaller, and is a 4x3 aspect ratio. The number refers to the height or vertical dimension, so 480p will be 480 pixels tall. The width depends on the aspect ratio. A standard definition will be 4:3 aspect ratio, so 480p standard definition will be 640x480. If your aspect ratio is 16:9, then 480p will have dimensions of 854x480.

720p has a vertical resolution of 720 pixels. 720p is typically HD, so it is usually always a 16:9 aspect ratio, which makes the dimensions 1280x720.

Clear as mud yet? It basically boils down to what size you want your final video to be. Since Camtasia videos are typically showing the computer screen, a smaller size video means it will be more difficult for the viewer to see what is happening on the screen. I recommend 720p whenever possible because it is a larger size that makes it easier for viewers to see what is happening, and most modern smart phones support 720p resolution so it will play fine on mobile devices. Another benefit is if your viewers are watching on a computer monitor or TV, and they choose a full screen option, 720p will look much clearer in full screen mode than 480p.

In terms of dimensions, Camtasia Studio automatically adjusts your video to avoid getting black bars. The problem is that most computer screens, especially on laptops are not exactly 16:9 aspect ratio. This means that when you record full screen, you are not getting dimensions that will easily scale to 720p. When you choose up to 720p in the production wizard, Camtasia Studio will automatically produce dimensions with 720 vertical dimensions, but will scale the horizontal dimensions to maintain aspect ratio and get as close as possible to 1280 horizontal dimension. We maintain aspect ratio to avoid the video getting stretched, and also to avoid black bars.

I hope this helps. Video dimensions and aspect ratios are a complicated topic.
Shane Lovellette
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E. Lim

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Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been looking everywhere for answers to this. Luckily I took a stab and produced all my video clips at up to 720p, as I wanted them to be compatible with various smartphones, plus still look good on a computer - which they do, at least on an iphone 4.
That last paragraph put my mind at rest about other brand smartphones. As these clips will be for sale and downloadable, do you think it's a good idea to provide a link to Handbrake, which seems to be quite a common suggestion on various sites, in case people have an incompatible phone and need to convert..?

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