# Lair Of The Multimedia Guru

## October 29, 2006

### Integer precision conversation

You have a 8bit grayscale value (or a audio sample) and want to convert it to 16bit, so without thinking about it you write `x<<8` but that generally isnt correct, because the the new least significant bits are all zero so that the largest 8bit value will become a value 255 below the largest 16bit value

##### So what is correct?

This depends on your definition of what all the values mean, if 0 is black then simply multiplying by the new value for white and dividing by the old value for white with rounding to nearest will do the trick

For the specific case where the largest representable value is white, increasing precision can be done by setting the new least significant bits to the most significant ones, for example for 8->16bit `x+(x<<8)=x*65535/255=x*257`, for 8->10bit `(x<<2)+(x>>6) or if you are pedantic (x*1023+127)/255=(x*341+42)/85` and for 2->8 `x+(x<<2)+(x<<4)+(x<<6)=x*85`

For the specific case where the largest+1 (256 in case of 8bit) is white, indeed just setting the low bits to 0 is correct, but at least for low precision this is not how grayscale values are defined, just think about 1bit monochrome, converting that to 8bit by setting the low ones to 0 will give you 128 for 1 while white is 255 (or 256)