Megabytes To Megabits

It’s 2019, a brand new camera just releases….you’re STOKED! Finally, something that records 4k that won’t cost an arm and a leg! You buy the camera and start filming with it just to realize that the quality isn’t quite as good as what you expected it to be! Wait….what the heck? It says it records 4k? 4k is 4k right? WRONG! Let me explain why.

You see, camera manufacturers are pretty darn slick when it comes to marketing, so you need to be educated before you drop 2 thousand on your next rig! This brings me to the main point of this article.

Megabits vs Megabytes. Megabits is the measure of transfer speed….think of your internet connection. Megabytes is the measure of storage….think of your cameras SD Card.

The higher the (Megabit per second) a camera can record…the more data it is able to capture…this equates to more detail in your video!

Let’s talk about 1080 for a second. Many DSLRs record full high definition, we all know this. But why do some DSLR videos look better than others? Or why does the Sony a6300, 6500, and A7 mirrorless cameras blow entry to mid-level DSLRs out of the water when it comes to video quality….at least on paper that is?! The answer is simple!

For example, a Canon T6i has a video recording bitrate of 28.8 Megabits per second at 1080 whereas the sony A6300 can record up to 100 Mbps essentially crushing the canon in regards to information recorded….which theoretically should lead to an increase in quality.

Note: there are so many other factors that apply to excellent video quality than just the bitrate at which a camera records.

As you can see, the Sony a6300 is recording MUCH more information! This equates to better image quality once you truly understand how to shoot in the correct formats! Color grading is a necessity as well. More on these subjects at a later date as those two alone could take 5 or 6 articles.

Alright, let’s break this down to its basic components! Before you buy any camera for video….first see how many Megabits of data per second it can transfer. Just follow this easy formula: Megabits Per Second divided by 8 equals Megabytes of storage recorded per second, or Megabits/8 = Megabytes.

For example; the Canon T6i records 1080 at 28.8 Megabits per second…..so we follow the above formula…28.8 divided by 8 = 3.6 MegaBYTES per second that is being stored on your SD card.

The Sony records 1080 up to 50 Megabits per second and 4k up to 100 Megabits per second. Going off of the 4k example of 100 Mbps the formula would be 100 divided by 8 = 12.5 Megabytes per second that would be stored on your SD card.

Megabits = Rate of information Transfer

Megabytes = Storage space

Clear as mud right?!

In closing…the higher the bitrate a camera can record….the more information your SD card will have. Think of your internet connection speed. We are paying for 150 Mbps so we are getting 18.75 Megabytes of i information storage per second. Except…not really because rarely does anyone actually get the speeds they are paying for.

However, I digress. Let’s say I am getting the full 18.75. If I want to download a movie that is 1.5 gig….or 1500 megabytes of information, it’s going to take less than two minutes. 18.75 Megabytes per second multiplied by 60 seconds is 1,125 Megabytes per minute. 1500 divided by 1125 is 1.3333. So it should theoretically take 1.3 minutes to download my 1.5 Gig movie at 150 Megabits per second!!!

If you’re still confused just send us a message and we will explain it a little better for you!

Note: I tried to make this as simple as possible so a beginner would understand the basic principle. There is MUCH more to video quality than how many Megabits per second a camera will record. Such as, what format you are recording in, how good you are at color grading, your ability to plan out and perform in-focus shots, etc…

So, before you go out and spend a bunch of money on your next setup, do your research! Do you need a camera that is primarily geared toward Photography, or one that is more suited for video? Your answer is in the details!

Don’t forget to like our Facebook page! We help people all of the time through messenger on how to learn the basics and get them pointed in the right direction!

Keith Heimericks

Black Hills Audio Video Productions

2 thoughts on “Megabytes To Megabits

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