Why do images appear "blurry" compared to my original photos?

You may be wondering about the difference between your original high resolution photographs and how they appear in Animoto videos.

There are a couple of key points to consider when producing video:

  • Digital cameras are capable of producing higher resolution than HD video.
  • Compression between individual video frames is noticeable while a video is paused, but less so during playback.

Today's current of line digital cameras produce photos that have very high pixel dimensions. For example, the Canon 5D Mark III camera produces images with a resolution of 5760 x 3840 (or 22.1 million individual pixels).

Contrast the resolution of your digital SLR to the current HD video with a maximum resolution of 2 million pixels, and you can see why images shot with your camera may appear sharper.

Let's use the below photograph of a parrot as our example. It was taken with a digital SLR camera and has a resolution of 3888 x 2187 (8.5 megapixels).

Here are two examples from the above photograph. The images on the left were taken directly from the original photograph, while the images on the right are screenshots of the output after the photo was imported and down-sampled to HD video resolution.

 

Original HD video output (720p)

 

As you compare both sets of images, you may notice more detail on the images on the left versus those on the right.

Video compression

In addition to the difference in resolution between HD video and the higher resolution from your digital camera, there's also the matter of compression -- which is used to keep video files as small as possible, while also making sure they look great.

You can see the effects of this compression any time you pause digital video, whether that's your Animoto video on your computer, or on your TV.

The human eye won't be able to detect the slight loss of detail frame to frame, because the video is moving very fast. But, if you pause your video and compare the frozen frame of the video with your original photo, you might be able to see the effects of this compression.

 

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24 Comments

  • Avatar
    Nancy Lambert

    Come on, how can I show my clients blurry slide shows. I upload 72 dpi images... still blurry at 480..... help!

  • Avatar
    Help Robot

    Hi Nancy. 480p resolution is definitely too low for most screens, except mobile. We recommend 720P or 1080P.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Tu

    Why does the 1080p still show up blurry on my 24" Mac screen?

  • Avatar
    Jeannemarie Viggiano

    my images are still waaaaaaay too blurry. I posted a video on Sunday it was ok. I followed the EXACT same settings and today they're all blurry and we're not talking about a slight difference either. they look as thought they'll all out of focus blurry. I decided to come back to Animoto after WPPI this year because I was told of fabulous improvements but, I see that it's just not true. I'm so frustrated by this.

  • Avatar
    Help Robot

    Hi Jeannemarie and Jennifer, can you share a link so I can help?

    As a side note, many of us at Animoto are photographers (some of us are pros) too and we occasionally feel the same way you do (that our photo assets look less sharp.) We occasionally have to remind ourselves that when converting our 5600x3700+ pixel images from our cameras, there's a huge difference in pixel density and sharpness when converting to video.

    This isn't an Animoto limitation, by the way. It is the current standard for HD video. Your camera is probably capturing somewhere in the neighborhood of 21+ megapixels. HD video is a mere 2 megapixel by comparison. If you compare a 21MP photo to a 2MP video, you're going to notice a difference. A big difference.

    So comparing video to your original shots will ALWAYS look less sharp (yes, blurry even by your standard), especially if watching the video from a high resolution monitor (like Apple Cinema Displays, or 4K monitors.)

    All this being said, I don't want to discount your concerns and I'm happy to work with you to figure this out. But we have this conversation many times a week with Pro photographers venturing into video and my best advice would be to take a step back and evaluate your video output against other video examples, not your original still work.

    Or better yet, show them to your clients and see what they say!

  • Avatar
    Janiece McCarthy

    I figured it out. The images in my video look really blurry when I played it straight after editing. Once I downloaded it at 1080p it was sharp on my iMac. Phew!
    Animoto: It might be worth writing some solutions into the troubleshooting section. Rather than just explaining why this happens suggest some ways of fixing the problem. We don't sign up to Animoto to show blurry images to our clients and with an hour before my client arrives I was feeling a bit stressed to find a solution myself. Too much text to wade through in the troubleshooting section was even more frustrating.

  • Avatar
    Don Aniskiewicz

    Videos way to blurry!!!!!!!

  • Avatar
    Maureen Soderberg

    I am also having issues with my images looking blurry. What is the solution to this? I refuse to accept that it's just the way it is. Windows movie maker does a better job with compression but I would rather use Animoto. I have had clients ask me why their images look so blurry in their slideshow... Not good.

  • Avatar
    Don Aniskiewicz

    All these reasons on why aren't acceptable. There are other apps out there where the images aren't as blurry as animoto. That's why I switched. People at animoto to lazy to fix their problems !

  • Avatar
    Cassie Clarkson

    My video is UNACCEPTABLY blurry!!!!!! I made one last week that was a little less sharp... no big deal. But not today at all. I am very upset about this!

  • Avatar
    noam hmeiri

    Outgoing blurry images. The video level low

  • Avatar
    Keri Messina

    My videos are blurry too! They weren't blurry a couple months ago... Did something change on Animoto's side of things? Help!

  • Avatar
    Lynnette Wisk

    I just signed up for Animoto and I too am disappointed that the videos look blurry.

  • Avatar
    Angie Gann

    I agree..unacceptably blurry. I won't be sharing this video with my clients, much less posting it somewhere as a reflection of my work. I seriously could ask one of my teenage clients what video app they use for free and get better quality. Hands down..one of the most disappointing purchases I have made as a photographer.

  • Avatar
    Lana

    I have a same problem - how I suppose to show to my customers blurry images? Very disappointing indeed

  • Avatar
    Lynnette Wisk

    After downloading, the videos are clear. Thank you Janiece McCarthy for sharing your solution. Hopefully Animoto can find a way to make it as clear without having to download. Perhaps they can also explain to their clients the solution that Janiece found out on her own.

  • Avatar
    Kym Samson

    Yes this is BS! Blurry images WTF!!! So annoyed when paying top dollar for this app or program or whatever it wants to call itself. I just used the rial version of this product and my video looked AMAZING! So i thought, i should purchase this product as all my images will look this awesome! BUT NO!!! I have tried in vein for hours to try and make the same image video i made on the trial and they are all blurry and crap and I can't even select the 'portfolio' style!!! WTF??? Lift your game animoto!!!

  • Avatar
    Ian

    Quality of standard download is much worse than it used to be. I now have to download, get client to preview before paying extra for additional quality download to fix the problem.

  • Avatar
    Matthew Bohlen

    I had the same blurry photos in my preview. But then I downloaded it in 1080 and it's crisp and clear.

  • Avatar
    Loren Haar

    Yes, it is clear when I download it at 1080, but then when I try to share it -- by email, on Facebook, on my website -- it's blurry again! Even if I use the saved 1080 version. I saved it to Dropbox and sent it to a client and if you view it full size it looks awful. Animoto people -- are you there???

  • Avatar
    Dara Bass

    I feel like I wasted my money. I have been using window movie maker and it is way better quality than what I got from this. I will not recommend this to anyone.

  • Avatar
    Olivia Daniel

    It is the year 2016 ... every video posted on social media looks flawless except for this one. If you want to salvage your reputation, fix the problem. As of now, I hate what I have spent hours creating and will only tell others to completely avoid you.

    Great job providing the worst quality video I have ever seen.

  • Avatar
    Connie Salafia

    So angry right now, I've just spent the last couple of hours putting my slideshow together and I've spent another couple of hours trying to trouble shoot blurry video quality when I share the video. If I download the video at 1080 it's crisp and clear on my Macbook. But the whole idea of signing up for animoto is to be able to use it for marketing to attract more clients. So a little help would not go astray. Where are you???.......

  • Avatar
    Conroy

    Very blur. I have really wasted my money on such lousy web

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