Videomaker.com recently released a great guide covering everything you need to know about codecs. If you edit video, professionally or for pleasure, you've come across codecs.
So how do you pick one? What are the differences? We'll breakdown some of the finer points covered in videomakers article, to help things clear up.
What is a Codec?
Codec is really the meshing of two words: coder and decoder (co/dec). What do they do? In the simplest terms, because video files are so large, you need a way to make them smaller. The codec encodes, compressing the data for storage or sending, then decompresses for playback or editing.videomaker.com
Types of Codecs
There are literally thousands of codecs, all under different categories. Some key types to remember include:
- Lossless Codecs- These codecs produce video exactly as is, or with no losses.
- Lossy Codecs- These codecs lose only a small amount of picture information. However, the trade off is that it can compress a file into a smaller format.
- Transformative Codecs- These Codecs cut video material up into smaller segments before compressing them.
- Predictive Codecs- These codecs compare the data being compressed with adjacent data, in order to get rid of unnecessary information.
MPEG is the most widely used Codec family. There are a number of MPEG formats, used by most editors.
MPEG is an acronym for Moving Picture Experts Group.
MPEG-4 files compress both progressive and interlaced video. The compression techniques are also superior to MPEG-1.
This is another popular Codec. This codec is found in Apple products including Final Cut and iMovie.
WMV stands for Windows Media Video. The compression ratio of this codec is two times better than MPEG-4 and three times better than MPEG-2.