The Digital Image:
What Are the Basic Components of a Digital Image?

The digital image

What are the primary parts of a digital image?

Well... It's an old adage that knowing the key facts or fundamental parts of a subject are essential if you want to routinely produce great results in that field...

And... this is particularly true in the fields of video production, videography, filmmaking and photography!

Where the Digital Image Starts...

Where the digital image starts

You use your digital video camera for one reason... to capture and store an image of a physical universe scene or object in the truest possible way!

So... How do you become an expert at it?

You start by knowing the simple basics of how a digital video image is created... and then... Use that knowledge to control your camera expertly to get the best camera shots possible under any conditions. 

Understanding how a video image, or any electronic camera image, is created can seem to be a bit complicated at first but... if it's broken down into its component parts... I think you'll be easily able to see how it all goes together... from the moment you:

Okay... Let's take a look at the basics... the key terms and concepts of what a digital image is and how it's created...

It All Starts with Light! Capturing a Digital Image... Light, Optics and Lenses...

Capturing light – camera lens

Capturing any image starts with light...! So… An obvious question to yourself might be... "What do I really know about light"?

Did You Know This about Light?

Did you know that the true nature of light was not really understood until the late 19th century and... That the actual properties of light were unlocked only when we came to better understand how electricity and magnetism work?

Sit back for a second and think of a simple definition of what light is... 

Now how would you explain it to a child? 

Can you easily do that? Well... I had to do that not long ago and found myself groping for simple answers (smile).

Light is one of the most basic properties of the physical universe yet one of those things that many of us have very little understanding of. 

We just know that ...  obviously... you can't record the image of a scene or object without some form of light.

What light is has fascinated scientists for centuries. 

What are the properties of light? What are Optics? And... how do we use camera lenses to gather and direct light to form a digital image.

Turning Captured Light into Digital Information... How the Camera Image Sensor Works...

How the camera image sensor works

What Is an Image Sensor?

It is the electronic device that turns the light being directed through your cameras lens into digital information that can be used to re-create the image in an electronic form.

Once we've gathered the reflected light of an object through our camera lens...

How do we then turn that into electronic information that can be used to create a digital camera image?


That's done by directing the light from the scene you are shooting to the digital camera's image sensor so that it can be converted into the electronic data that will form the digital image. 

In digital cameras today those devices are the CCD and CMOS sensor chips inside the camera housing.

Here is a site article where I go into a lot more detail on the camera image sensor and in what you need to know about it... The Camera Image Sensor.

Digital Information and Video File Formats... What an Electronic Camera Image Is Composed of...

Video File formats and the electronic image

What is some of the information that is contained in the electronic file of a digital camera image once it's captured by your video camera?

Here are some terms you should become familiar with if you want to better understand and easily work with digital camera images...

  • Pixel count
  • Color composition
  • Resolution
  • Bit depth
  • Digital file format
  • Frame rates

And that is to name a few!

These things... and more... make up the data contained in the electronic file of the image. Each one of these terms are important to know... not only when you're doing your video production camerawork...  But... also when you're doing your post-production video editing work too. You'll work with these factors constantly when doing your video production projects.

In this series of articles we will break these things down so that you know what they are and how to use them when you're shooting your scenes, doing video editing work or saving and exporting your video in the most optimum video file format or media format for viewing.

The progress of digital technology is moving ahead at a fast pace, especially in the fields of digital image processing, video editing and video production.

But... don't worry... If you know the basics that underlie these subjects you'll easily be able to keep up with the new technologies as they evolve and are put into use.
After all... They're all built on these digital image basics!

Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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