Pin Me

Filming With Video Compression in Mind

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011

Compression means loss in video quality, so learn how to film with this in mind.

  • slide 1 of 6


    The likelihood is that you will be distributing your digital video project through some online video publication or by adding it to a DVD. No matter what, you are most likely going to have to compress your final film, which cuts down its file size but makes you sacrifice quality and clarity. Since you know that you are going to do this there are film techniques that can help minimize your need for video compression.

  • slide 2 of 6


    The most important thing that is affected by compression is the background, which will lose much of its visual consistency. Try to use lat lighting on the background, and much of the foreground, as a way of reducing band lighting. This is where many of the colors come together after compression. Always make sure that the entire location you are shooting in is lit, because otherwise you will have to change shutter speed settings or use gain to compensate. This will reduce the video quality before compression, which will make it almost unusable afterwards. You should also try to cut down on extreme contrasts between light and dark areas. Try to keep the background as generic as possible because if it is too engaging, the audience will focus on these areas that will be heavily distorted by compression.

  • slide 3 of 6


    When filming for this type of project try to make sure that there is not excessive movement within each frame. This makes the image more complicated and in need of a lot of clarity, which you will not have after video compression. Keep a fair amount of movement, both of the camera and of the action within the frame, but make sure not to go overboard with it.

  • slide 4 of 6

    Camera Tricks

    You may want to avoid camera tricks like Chroma Key, unless you are using a simple background for that as well. If you do this kind of work make sure that the green or blue screen you are working with is flawless and that you observe many of the standard rules for using such a device. Make sure that it is lit evenly.

  • slide 5 of 6

    High Quality Camera

    Use the highest quality camera and settings as you possibly can. The better the video is that you are filming then the less it will be noticeable once you have compressed it. If you have the ability to work on an extremely high quality, professional camera then this is the time to do it.

  • slide 6 of 6

    Making Concessions

    Compression is just another time when you have to make compromises between your artistic vision and practicality. Don’t over compress the files, and make sure to get the settings just perfect so that the file size is at the maximum the specific system allows. This way you can get the highest possible quality while staying within the acceptable range.