what is the most supported video format?

Started Dec 3, 2011 | Discussions thread
andrzej bialuski
Senior MemberPosts: 2,579
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Re: what is the most supported video format?
In reply to Delta5, Dec 5, 2011

Delta 5, Thank you for this very thorough explanation. I am now starting to understand the situation well.

Delta5 wrote:

You're getting multiple answers to this question because, as with most things, "it depends".

It boils down to two "formats", MPEG & AVCHD. See other posts for the technical differences. Then you've probably got size options for each format, so you could have 6 or 8 total options for how to shoot video. "Best" depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

MPEG = older format, goes up to 720p (I think). The plus about MPEG is that it's easy to work with. You can play them back on just about anything, and most editing software can work with them without any special conversion. Basically, like a JPEG image, they "just work". The negative about MPEG is that you will create enormous files; not only do they require a lot of space to store, but you run into file size restrictions that can limit recording time to 4-5 minutes/clip. They also top out at 720p, which can look great, but it's not as "wow!" as 1080i/p can look. But again, just about any computer, smartphone, tablet, DVD player, etc can play them without needing special software.

AVCHD = newer format, goes at least to 1080i, some cameras can do 1080p too. The plus about AVCHD is that it produces a fantastic quality video with decent compression to keep the space usage reasonable (1080i/p video still takes up a lot of space, but far less than MPEG). You also are not usually limited in video clip length. The negative is that it's harder to work with these files. Harder in the sense that it takes a decent computer to play them natively, and/or special software to do it. You can't just play an AVCHD on an iPad/iPhone, for instance, you have to convert it first. Though a lot of that has gone away in the past couple of years as manufacturers & software has caught up to the photographic industry.

Then there's a question of size. Simply stated; 720p = good HD. 1080i = great HD. 1080p = BluRay quality, though not all cameras support this. 720p files take up maybe 1/2 to 2/3 the space of 1080i files.

My GF2 also has a quality setting for each mode, like "normal" and "high". I can't really tell a difference between the two, and the file sizes of "normal" are 95% as large as those created with "high", so I just stick with "high" for the peace of mind. Not sure how the E-PM1 does this - you should experiment on your own.

Great. So, what should you use. It depends on your computer equipment and what you intend to shoot. Personally, I have a 2.5 year old MacBook Pro running iMovie '11. Core2Duo 2.53, 4GB RAM, Lion. Good, but not brand new by any stretch. It has absolutely no problems playing or working with the AVCHD files that my GF2 creates. I'm accustomed to importing & editing video before I share it, so I always shoot with AVCHD. Generally I stick to 1080i, but sometimes I bump it down to 720p if I know that what I'm shooting will be nice to have but not necessarily a "precious memory". But keep in mind that you can always down-convert a high-res video to a lower resolution if you find it's not important. However, it's impossible to up-convert it. So, I'd generally recommend that you shoot at the highest setting most of the time.

The only time I use MPEG is if I'm somewhere without my Macbook and I know I'm going to need to share the video via my iPad. The iPad can handle (import, process, upload) MPEG files, but it can't do AVCHD's (not that I'm aware of, anyway). So in that specific instance, I'll shoot MPEG. Otherwise, it's AVCHD all the way for me.

The best thing for you to do is to experiment. Go out in your back yard and shoot some video. Shoot a 60-second clip of something that shows movement at each of the video settings on your E-MP1. Take note of which settings you used for each video. Then go back to your PC/Mac and work with the video. Look at the quality of static objects, look at at the quality of moving objects, look at the file sizes (if they're all 60 seconds, you can directly compare), watch it full screen, and look at the workflow that you have to go through to send an edited clip to your Aunt Edna ;). The best setting is the whichever one works best for you & your setup. Just take some time and be patient. You'll figure it out.

Good luck!

andrzej bialuski wrote:

I am just now doing my baby steps and trying out to do video recording with the E-PM1 I just bought.

To my amazement I discovered there there is an array of video formats; some of which are not supported by video player software.

Can anyone tell me what would be the best setting for video recording on my E-PM1, to avoid compatibility problems?

What is the most used format for amateur video these days?

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