On my computer, if I change the screen resolution, the things on the screen are a lot bigger or smaller.
When I look at the settings for capturing video, in AVI it's, 320x240. In "DVD" it's 720x480. The things on the screen don't seem to be any different size.
What if I went from 320z240 to 720x480 in AVI? From 720x480 to 320x240 in DVD?
What are the guidelines for the frame size? Will one make small imperfections stand out more?
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When you change the resolution of your screen you in effect increase the amount of space you have available to work in. You don't scale everything else to match however. Icons remain the same number of pixels wide, but appear to be smaller simply in relation to the rest of the area, which is now larger.
When you increase the resolution of a video, you can do the same. You can place a 320 x 240 resolution video inside a 720 x 480 frame, and have it surrounded by black bars. This is the equivalent of changing the resolution of your computer display.
However this is not how it is normally done with video. Generally, you actually resize the video. To be honest though, if you cannot see any difference between a 320 x 240 video, and the same video resized up to 720 x 480, you need to either ask your seeing eye dog's opinion, or book yourself in for cataract surgery because unless you are using super resolution methods for upscaling, the difference is noticeable.
Now I don't know what you are looking at when you see capture settings of 320 x 240. If it is Movie Maker then you are capture to low quality WMV, and should be capturing at a quality more appropriate to your source. If your source is DV, then use WinDV and capture at the full 720 x 480 resolution.
As for DVD, start by reading What is DVD (top left corner of this page) to learn about what is compliant and what is not.
What hardware ?
VHS has enough resolution that 740 x 480 produces better results than VCD resolution if the hardware can capture it correctly. All the VHS work I do starts at 720 x 576 (PAL resolution) and I go from there.
Bigger frame size = more detail possible. And the larger frame can be sharper when both are viewed at the same size. But enlarging a small frame to a large frame won't add detail. At best you get a larger image without introducing too many scaling artifacts.
Original 720x480 frame:
Downsized to 352x240:
352x240 upscaled to 720x480:
352x480 captures most of the resolution of NTSC VHS tape. 720x480 will be a tiny bit sharper on the horizontal axis.
Here's a thread with some VHS capture samples:
Notice how all the high resolution line test patterns have degraded into gray -- even they were all done with high quality SVHS decks.
I have been transferring some VHS that is not the best. Two (one a friends wedding) are done on EP (lowest quality). It seems to be more noticeable on the Disc.
I was wondering it I could show less detail, by changing the resolution to get rid of the imperfections.