Category: Computing

A Comparison of the Best Video Codecs

A codec is at the core of processing digital video. A video codec essentially compresses the video signal from a camera’s sensor into a manageable file size then decompresses it on a computer for viewing and editing. There are many different video codecs you can use.

H.264

H.264 is a digital video compression format that only uses half the storage space of the DVD standard, which is MPEG-2 to deliver the same quality of video. This is one of the most popular standards of codec, with up to 8K resolution, without sacrificing processing power. A ten second clip in 4K on H.264 is fifteen megabytes. Albeit, some would argue H.24 isn’t the best quality for editing videos using software such as Adobe After Effects and compresses the data too much. Therefore H.264 is primarily used in files required to be of small size, albeit generally used as lossy, is can also be lossless but it’s not the most efficient codec for lossless video. Also H.264 supports the containers MP4, MKV, 3GP and FLV. YouTube converts all uploads to H.264 so it’s compressed to a small size for upload. If you plan on uploading any YouTube videos and would like to get popular, I simply buy views for my videos from places like Marketing Heaven.

MPEG Codecs

There are multiple MPEG codecs, as mentioned before, MPEG-2 is the standard for DVD. MPEG-2 supports interlacing, which increases motion perceived by the person watching the video, increasing the frame rate without the data consumption.  MPEG-2 is lossless, hence why it’s used for DVD’s and Blu-rays for high quality video. MPEG-1 and MPEG-4 are lossy and MPEG-1 is used in DVD discs with less space and MPEG-4, which is a less advanced H.264 supports the containers MP4, AVI and MKV.

H.265 or High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC)

High efficiency video coding is an updated version of H.264 and will eventually become the new standard of codec for streaming, with the rise of 4K video and 4K Blu-ray. It can have twice the compression efficiency of H.264, while maintaining quality. With many homes now having 4K resolution televisions and being able to stream 4K on applications and services such as Netflix & Apple TV, also with YouTube now supporting 4K video, many of these services will start streaming H.265 video, albeit it’s not quite hit the mainstream just yet.

DNxHD

The previous mentioned codecs are most suitable for transferring video to a DVD disc, Blu-ray or to upload onto video sharing websites such as YouTube but aren’t generally used for editing due to wanting the best quality while editing videos. DNxHD file sizes are large but the quality is at it’s maximum, making it ideal for tweaking in programs such as Final X Pro. The advantages over editing with DNxHD than an uncompressed file is that it uses less CPU overhead, for faster editing and rendering.