Video formats, what should you use?


Here I am going to be giving an overview of the common codecs used. And from there you can pick a format that is suitable to your needs.

MPEG2 - best known as the codec that is used for DVD video. It is also used in broadcasting, but however isn't a good format for editing, as many of the frams are interpolated, making it hard work for graphics processors.

MPEG4 - Provides better quality than MPEG2 at lower bit rates and smaller file sizes. It also supports a wide range of bit rates making it suitable for applications from the web, and mobile phones to HD digital broadcasting.

MOV - Is a good codec to use for streaming online video. And is based on the MPEG 4 codec. However you will need Quick time installed on your computer for these files to be read. Only probem is that when exporting to this format it takes quite a while. It's good for screen recordings as it has a high frame rate.

H264 - H264 is one of the standards supported by Bly - Ray disc for HD content, the BBC and Sky use it for thier HD broadcasts.

DivX - An MPEg 4 varient, as well as a codec divx has it's own media player and authoring software and developed Divx into a container format. Like AVI and Quick time, many DVD players now support DivX nativly.

AVI - A good codec to use but at times the file size can be large and it can also be hard to know what AVI codec to use as there are many differnt types of AVI codec. A good one I use personally is the MPEG4 AVC codec. As it has a good quality in HD and a small file size. Where AVI codecs are concerned you need to know what you are doing when exporting video to this format. Also it isn't support by Windows XP nativly unless you find a codec pack (I recommend the k-lite codec pack)

WMV - Windows media video is both a container, format, and a codec developed by Microsoft. It's suppoerted by Windows Media player, the Xbox 360, Windows Mobile handhelds, and microsoft's flash competitor, silver light. There is also a High definition version, WMV-HD. Only issue with using this is that it really doesn't work well for screen recodings, I recommend this being used for webcam videos and movies. Quality with this format may be an issue.


When creating YouTube Videos, I aim for MP4 due to the small file size and quick upload, although sometimes this does hinder quality, but that depends on the recorder and the settings used.


I recommend MP4 for quality/compatibility, or AVI for quality and small file size.
My camera records straight to AVI, so I just use that, then edit in Premiere and export as WMV (I prefer WMV for watching on my computer, and for my Zune).

Also, if you think about it, people can just run the video through a converter if they want a different type. That's assuming your making the file available for download.

Hope this helped whatever your problem/dilemma was =)