In a light field-based free viewpoint video (LF-based FVV) system, effective sampling density (ESD) is defined as the number of rays per unit area of the scene that has been acquired and is selected in the rendering process for reconstructing an unknown ray. This paper extends the concept of ESD and shows that ESD is a tractable metric that quantifies the joint impact of the imperfections of LF acquisition and rendering. By deriving and analyzing ESD for the commonly used LF acquisition and rendering methods, it is shown that ESD is an effective indicator determined by system parameters and can be used to directly estimate output video distortion without access to the ground truth. This claim is verified by extensive numerical simulations and comparison to PSNR. Furthermore, an empirical relationship between the output distortion (in PSNR) and the calculated ESD is established to allow direct assessment of the overall video distortion without an actual implementation of the system. A small scale subjective user study is also conducted which indicates a correlation of 0.91 between ESD and perceived quality.