Photo credit: Canon
From .WMV to .MOV and from .AVI to .FLV, this guide presents the best information available online on what you need to know about the use and characteristics of the major video file formats, containers and relative codecs.
When you video encode a clip, you are saving your video into a specific “format” much like you can do with a Word document or a digital image. A Word document can be encoded in .RTF or in .TXT, just like an image can be encoded in .JPG or .BMP formats.
Obviously, different types of encodings are good for different applications and devices.
Broadcasting, live streaming, burning to DVD and archiving all require different video encoding parameters while your computer browser, an iPhone and your gaming console have all different expectations when it comes to playing back video files. And this is why knowing a bit about video encoding, video file formats and containers is quite important if you intend to publish and distribute digital video.
In the video universe it is easy to get lost, as the formats, codecs and file containers generate a universe of possibilities and variables that are initially not easy to understand.
If you want to upload and publish a video on YouTube, for instance, you would have to choose specific encoding settings and file formats, whereas your choice would be different if your video clips are to burned on a DVD.
As an online publisher you may already be familiar with some of these issues, but as new technologies like Â HTML5 and Â WebM are starting to make inroads, you are going to need to better understand the key differences and the pros and cons that such different formats entail for you.
To help you achieve this goal, the MasterNewMedia research team has prepared a comprehensive guide to bring together all of the “fundamentals” you need to master to fully understand the basics of video encoding, specifically:
- What is video encoding
- Video file formats and containers
- Comparison of video codecs
- Encoding settings for Internet video publishing
- Video publishing settings for YouTube
Originally prepared by Â Robin Good, Daniele Bazzano and Elia Lombardi for MasterNewMedia, and first published on August 16th, 2010 as “The Video Encoding Guide: Codecs, Formats, Containers And Settings Explained“.