MP4 or AVCHD? And Other Questions - Video

Started Aug 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
mikiev Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
You're doing it right, other formats probably not what you need.

Canadian Club wrote:

Hi: I did a search with members having different opinions so I did a video with both. I like the AVCHD better!

When producing a video on my editor there are 8 options, AVI, MPEG2, H.264 AVC, WMV, Mpeg-4, MOV, MKV and a music one. I have no idea what they all do so I pick Mpeg-4 all the time.

Care to enlighten me?

Brief, off-the-cuff, history lesson on video formats:

AVI = older/early format for playing videos on PC. Only useful as an output format if sending to someone with an 'ancient' computer... i.e. more than 5-years old. Mostly VGA-quality videos.

WMV & MOV = are the file extensions for Windows Media Video files [xxx.wmv] and Quicktime movie files [] - so only really useful for playback on less-ancient computers. No compression to speak of, so can be large files. Mostly Standard Definition [SD] video

MPEG2 = format of "lossy" [like JPEG is 'lossy' for stills] SD-video compression used on DVDs. Saves space on DVD, but can have variable or fixed compression... and the variable compression rates can cause problems for some software players. You'd probably only use this if you were going to burn the video onto a DVD you can play on a regular, stand-alone DVD player.

MKV = open-source container format for video/audio streams, attempting to avoid paying royalties to MPEG LA for use of MPEG2 or MPEG4. Often using open-source video [Google's VP8] and audio [Ogg] formats to avoid any royalty payments & patent encumberment of the software used for editing & playback.

MPEG LA = Moving Picture Experts Group Licensing Authority. Same time Joint Photographic Experts Group was on Usenet sharing ideas for JPEG 'standard' for stills compression, MPEG group was on Usenet sharing ideas for video compression. Then all sorts of companies started filing patents that covered aspects of compression, multiplexing & de-multiplexing streams of audio & video [mux & demux], and it got ugly... so several companies got together to form the MPEG LA, which pooled all their patents and became a one-stop-shop for licensing of those patents. They encouraged more companies to join and pool their related patents - so it is difficult for any company to work outside the patent coverage which MPEG LA controls i.e. Google's VP8.

H264 AVC/MPEG-4 AVC = AVCHD is basically the marketing acronym used to cover the High Definition [HD] version of an ISO standard "ISO/IEC 14496-10 – MPEG-4Part 10, Advanced Video Coding". Video cameras record in this highly-compressed format, and Blu-ray discs use a version of this. About the only way to put HD online without horrid compression artifacts or humongous file sizes - but designed for "compression efficiency", and not non-linear editing. Normally requires conversion to an "intermediate" format for editing, due to the use of "predictive" compression which saves space by skipping frames entirely, and "predicting" what changed between the frames which are recorded... which gets into I-frames and B-frames, etc - you know, video compression nerd heaven.

If that isn't too much info for one post, I don't know what is.


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