DV Pix - Sampling Methods
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Pix: Artifacts
Pix: Defects
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Pix: Codecs
Text: The DV Format
4:2:2 sampling schematic courtesy PBDS
4:2:2 sampling is used in ITU-R BT601, D-1, D-5, Ampex DCT, Digital Betacam, Digital-S, and DVCPRO50 formats.
4:1:1 sampling schematic courtesy PBDS
4:1:1 sampling is used in 525/59.94 ("NTSC") DV and DVCAM, and in both 525/59.94 and 625/50 ("PAL") DVCPRO.
4:2:0 (co-sited)
4:2:0 sampling schematic courtesy PBDS
Co-sited 4:2:0 sampling is used in 625/50 ("PAL") DV and DVCAM formats. Cr and Cb samples are on alternate lines in each field (a frame view would show two lines of YCr,Y pairs, then two lines of YCb,Y pairs). Note that this is different from the 4:2:0 chroma sample positioning in JPEG, MPEG, and H.261 formats!
schematics courtesy of Panasonic Broadcast and Digital Systems.
4:1:1 Sampling: full screen
fullscreen image for 4:1:1 demo

4:1:1 Sampling: detail
detail image for 4:1:1 demo
both images (c) 1995 Origin8 Video

4:2:0 Sampling detail
625/50 4:2:0 Sampling detail
(c) 1998  Karel Holubička, Studio POLAS

This image, shot with a 525/59.94 DV format VX1000, is the best demo I have showing the nature of 4:1:1 sampling. The 72-pixel by 48-pixel detail clearly shows the coarser horizontal sampling of the color: once every four luminance samples. The color sample is co-sited (located at the same place) as the first brightness sample in each 4-pixel group, and the color at that location is simply replicated over the following three pixels (thus there is an average 2-pixel "lag" or Y/C delay of the color data compared to the brightness data). 

The yellow and green LEDs in the image show the same artifacts; it's not specifically a "red smear" problem. However, the red LEDs show the most color contrast with the surrounding background, so I show red ones here for clarity. 

While this looks pretty horrible, remember that the color "sharpness" of DV is comparable to that of BetacamSP. It's quite sufficiently sharp and detailed for many purposes (including much chroma-keying, HDTV upconversion, and film transfer work) although for extremely critical work a 4:2:2 format such as Digital-S or DVCPRO50 will give noticeably superior results in a side-by-side comparison. 

The 45-pixel by 30-pixel 4:2:0 detail, kindly supplied by Karel Holubička in Prague, shows the more evenly-balanced subsampling of the red LEDs on his audio mixer panel as seen by his 625/50 DV DCR-VX1000.

Also see Pix: Codecs for more 4:1:1 sampling details

Technical Details: Images were shot on Sony DCR-VX1000 3-chip DV camcorders. The 525/59.94 tape was played in a DHR-1000 DV VTR and captured digitally using the DPS Spark (Adaptec AHA-8940) IEEE-1394 I/O card on a P133 Wintel machine. The resulting AVI video clip was opened in Adobe Premiere 4.2 and the desired frame was exported as 24-bit Windows BMP files using the Adaptec DVSoft codec; the BMPs was then read into Adobe Photoshop LE. The full-screen image was downsized to 320x240 using bicubic interpolation and saved as low-quality JPEG for efficient transmission; full screen image is shown as reference only, not as a sample of the quality inherent in the original BMP. The detail image was upsampled from the original BMP using "nearest neighbor" interpolation and saved as high-quality JPEG to preserve visual quality; this JPEG is very close in appearance to the original image. The 625/50 image was similarly captured using a DPS Spark in Prague; the AVI was emailed to me and I extracted a frame from it for processing. All images are shown with square pixels, although 525 pixels are 12.5% narrower than square, while 625 pixels are 6.25% fatter than square: 525 pixels should be slightly taller than wide, while 625 pixels are very slightly wider than tall.

Copyright (c) 1998 by Adam J. Wilt.
You are granted a nonexclusive right to duplicate, print, link to, frame, or otherwise repurpose this material,
as long as all authorship, ownership and copyright information is preserved, and a link to this site is displayed.
For use of the 4:2:2, 4:1:1, and 4:2:0 schematics, contact Panasonic Broadcast & Digital Systems.

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Last updated 16 August 1998.