There are currently two large changes sweeping through our cable broadcast system here in the U.S.. The first is a switch from analog broadcast to digital. Meaning those rabbit ears you used to see at your grandmother’s house will longer bring that sparkling black and white picture to the screen soon.
The second change is a shift from Standard Definition broadcast to High Definition. The difference? To most people the biggest differences is that HD provides a much crisper picture along with real-life aspect ratios that really add a new dimension to viewing video on your home TV set. There is a significant cost difference in producing the two though. For HD, the technology is constantly evolving and some stations still only have a relatively small amount of material they broadcast in. Take CNN for example, only seven out of their 24-hour broadcast actually are produced in HD.
So getting to the point of this post, should you fork over the extra money for your new corporate video to be shot and produced in HD? That depends on a few things. How long do you expect to market with this video? If the answer to this is more than two years, then splurge for HD. Another question to ask is no matter how many years you use it, how will it primarily be viewed? If YouTube or another online site is the primary source, then stick with SD. If you are distributing by DVD, I would say produce in HD, but when it comes time to distribute, choose both HD and SD. There really isn’t much cost difference once you have the HD to ‘down convert’ to SD. Finally, your budget could act make the decision for you. Producing in HD vs. SD usually has a large cost difference. Don’t be affraid to take a straw poll of friends and coworkers, there is still a large part of the U.S. that doesn’t even have HD at home (myself included), so they wouldn’t even notice the difference.