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In today's Sony Vegas Zen Tips #9, I explain why you should only be burning HD and 4K video to Blu-ray disc and why should stop using DVDs.

I’m going to dive straight in today and encourage everyone who likes to save their projects onto optical discs, to start using Blu-ray discs instead of DVD. Almost everyone who makes video in 2016, is recording to full HD or even higher with 4K video. So it makes more sense to use the physical media format, that was specifically designed for storing HD Video! DVD is an older technology and only supports Standard Definition video, which is only 1/6th the resolution of 1080 HD video.

A Wider Perspective of the Rapid Technological Changes and Increase in Video Resolution

Let’s go back in time for one moment. Since the dawn of human time, human beings have passed down stories, painted pictures and created dances, all designed to transfer stories and important information from one generation to the next.

In the 1890’s motion picture cameras where invented and so began an incredible revolution that completely changed how stories could be told. Now in 2016, it is just over 120 years later and another mini-revolution has rapidly occurred in most people’s homes. The Internet took off faster than the British blowing up the desert in 1950's Australia and before we had time to make a lovely cup of tea, YouTube started and blew up faster than the pressure wave from the Tzar bomb. During the last 11 years, video went from a measly 240p resolution online, right up to 4k Ultra HD resolution.

Why Should I Be Burning HD Video to Blu-ray disc?

This is at the heart of today’s Sony Vegas Zen Tip #9. RESOLUTION - Video Resolution. How many pixels are in your videos? If your camera shoots HD, then you should be also burning video in HD resolution on a Blu-ray disc. It seems a bit silly to buy an expensive beautiful camera and only share your videos in Standard Definition on a DVD.

Here is a resolution chart you can view on Wikipedia, that shows the actual size difference between all the different video resolutions available.

What Equipment Do I Need To Burn and Watch Blu-ray discs?

If you don’t own a Blu-ray player yet, it’s time to go and get one! The other thing you may need is a Blu-ray Writer for your computer. Most basic computers still come with only a DVD drive, which allows you to watch DVDs and burn DVDs. In more advanced computers, the optical drive will be a combo DVD/Blu-ray Writer which will allow you to watch and burn all the different varieties of disc.

If your computer doesn’t not have a Blu-ray capable drive, you can easily buy one and swap your existing drive for the new one or you can also buy External Blu-ray Writers now, that will plug into a USB port on your computer. Once you have this set up, it’s time to start making some beautiful Blu-ray discs to play back on your beautiful HD or 4K TV set.

Resolutions and Frame Rates Supported by Blu-ray disc

Here is something to note about the current Blu-ray specification which was written many years ago now. Even though Blu-ray supports HD video, it does have some limitations. The maximum resolution and Frame Rate you can burn to Blu-ray is only 1920x1080i at 30 frames per second – which is Interlaced video. Progressive scan at 30fps or higher is not supported.

If you drop down to 1280x720 resolution, Blu-ray does support 720p video at up to 60 frames per second. This is progressive style video. Blu-ray also supports all the Standard Definition DVD formats, which can actually be burnt to a Blu-ray disc as well.

Ultra HD Blu-ray disc - New Technology About To Be Released

Recently a new disc format and specification was agreed upon and it is called Ultra HD Blu-ray disc. Ultra HD Blu-ray is another big leap forward for the storage of video on physical media. This new format will support 4K video, which is 4x times the resolution of HD Video. It is also going to support a Higher Dynamic Range in video, so when played back on a modern 4K TV, it will be able to display more colour depth and greater dynamic range. Which will mean more detail in shadow areas.

This new format is backwards compatible with Blu-ray and DVD and will also support higher frame rates like 1080p video at 60 frames per second. It remains to be seen if Sony will update their DVD Architect programs, to support this new media format. I really hope that they do! A strength of Sony Software has always been in their DVD Architect programs. Adobe has now completely abandoned disc creation software, which seems premature and completely arrogant of them.

Here is a table which shows what is allowed in the Blu-ray disc specification.

Resolution Frame Rate Frame Rate in Vegas and DVD Architect
1920×1080 30i (29.97i) 60i is the same as saying 30i
1920×1080 25i 50i is the same as saying 25i
1920×1080 24p 24p
1920×1080 23.976p 23.976p
1440×1080 30i (29.97i) 60i is the same as saying 30i
1440×1080 25i 50i is the same as saying 25i
1440×1080 24p 24p
1440×1080 23.976p 23.976p
1280×720 60p (59.94p) 60p
1280×720 50p (50p) 50p
1280×720 24p 24p
1280×720 23.976p 23.976p
720×480 30i (29.97i) 60i is the same as saying 30i
720×576 25i 50i is the same as saying 25i

So if you still reading, make BLU-RAY DISCS and forget about DVD, when working with HD and 4K video. However if you are restoring old video, there is definitely still a place for DVD.


The information in this tutorial applies to all versions of Sony Vegas Pro and Sony Movie Studio Platinum.

Buy the latest version of Vegas Pro here !

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About Derek Moran
Derek Moran is the author of all articles on Movie Studio Zen.
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