What Is Bitrate & Why Does It Matter?

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive introduction to everything you need to know about this somewhat elusive production terminology, how it affects video quality, and why it’s a significant component in creating professional-looking video content.
Bitrate Explanation

Whether you’re in marketing or HR, you know your audience craves polished, engaging video content. While resolution is typically the spec you focus on to ensure you have good quality, it’s not the only factor that dictates the end result. 

If you’ve ever spent quality time with a video production team or evaluated video software vendors, then you’ve probably heard the term ‘bitrate’ tossed around once or twice in the video quality conversation. But what does it mean, exactly? And is a higher bitrate better? Let’s explore the ins- and outs- of video bitrate and get you on your way to consistently producing professional-looking video with ease. 

What is a video bitrate?

Essentially, a video bitrate defines an amount of data transferred over a period of time. In the video world, data transfers commonly refer to uploading, downloading, and live streaming video files from one device, platform, or hosting site to another. The speed at which the data is transmitted is measured using — you guessed it — bitrate! 

While bitrate measurement may sound insignificant, adequate bitrate values coupled with a high resolution and frame rate are a powerful combination that can mean the difference between an adequate or superior video. When you’re playing a video, that video’s bitrate is typically the amount of data required to play that video for one second. This means, in order to ensure quality outputs, it’s important that the data transmission is fast enough to allow more data to pass through.


Does higher bitrate = higher quality video?

Generally, yes, the higher the video bitrate values, the better quality and larger file size your video will exhibit — although some caveats may apply. As you increase the resolution (720p, 1080p, 4K, etc.) of a video, more data is needed every second to represent the larger-sized video frames, so higher-resolution videos will generally also have higher bitrates.

Additionally, as you increase the frame rate (24 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps, etc.) of a video, the number of frames per second increases, again requiring more data each second to play those frames to the viewer. Simply put, the higher the bitrate, the higher quality the video will be.


Still, why exactly does video bitrate matter in video creation?

Now that we’ve covered what video bitrate is, how it’s measured, and if it impacts video quality, it’s important to understand why bitrate plays an indispensable role in whether or not your finished video will be polished. In order to adequately attract, engage, and delight your audience, delivering high-quality video is crucial. By ensuring that selected filming methods can offer sufficient bitrate, frame rate, and resolution, your team will be well equipped to produce professional-looking results.

Special thanks to our Mobile Engineering Manager and Mobile Architect Stefan for making this post possible. Interested in shooting quality video that prioritizes your video quality as well as your schedule and money? Schedule time with our video specialists today. 

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