6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 1, 2010 12:01 PM by shooternz

    Rounding the CODEC learning curve

    Russell_MTL


      I watched a Linda Learning teaching video on “Quicktime” last evening (using my 30-day free trial) and it answered a lot of newbie questions about digital video in general that were glossed over only briefly in the PremierePro videos.

       

      Its description of CODECs being “video output formats similar to Photoshop’s various image output formats” was a light going on in my brain. IE: some are lossless (PSD, TIFF, etc..) and some are not (JPG, GIF, PNG, etc..). Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and you choose the one that works best for your project’s needs.

       

      Then it was stated that many of the CODECs offered  in the export menu are antiquated and no longer used, but simply there for backward compatibility, much like Pict, Scitex and Targa formats in Photoshop are rarely used.

       

      GREAT!! That I can understand :-)

       

      But what was left out is: Which CODEC’s (lossy and lossless) are the most commonly these days?

       

      In Photoshop I would reply: PSD, TIFF, JPG, GIF, and sometimes the newcomer -  PNG.

       

      Is there a similar ‘short list’ of the most common CODECs currently used?

       

      It would help newbies avoid choosing CODECs that are rarely worth considering.

       

      Thanks :-)

       

      Russell

        • 1. Re: Rounding the CODEC learning curve
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          For SD (Standard definition) the most common are: DV AVI type2, Lagarith, HuffYuv and uncompressed

           

          For HD (High Definition) the most common are: HDV, AVCHD, XDCAM, DVCPro-HD and again Lagarith and uncompressed

           

          This is in regards to editable formats. In terms of codecs NOT suitable for editing, but only for delivery, the most common are DivX, XVid, WMV, Flash,  and numerous others.

           

          What you can edit is available in the presets. If it is not available in the presets, consider it not editable. You may be able to convert it to an editable format (with noticeable quality hits) or make a desktop setting that will allow you to edit the material, but often this will give you severe headaches.

          Some delivery codecs are more forgiving than others for editing, but as a general rule, stay away from delivery formats.

           

          One very serious warning: DO NOT INSTALL CODEC PACKS, unless you enjoy reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling the OS and all programs.

          • 2. Re: Rounding the CODEC learning curve
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            Russell,

             

            Here is a little ARTICLE on CODEC "basics."

             

            Good luck,

             

            Hunt

            • 3. Re: Rounding the CODEC learning curve
              Russell_MTL Level 1

              Harm Millaard wrote:

              NOT suitable for editing, but only for delivery, the most common are DivX, XVid, WMV, Flash,  and numerous others.

              This is essentially what I was asking for -> what are the most common  CODECs used for delivery on the WEB.

               

              Shouldn't H.264 be high on that list?

               

              Is Flash a Codec?

               

              You mention: very serious warning: DO NOT INSTALL CODEC PACKS

               

              Why not? Are they mostly viruses? Or is it not possible to uninstall Codecs?

               

              Russell

              • 4. Re: Rounding the CODEC learning curve
                shooternz Level 6

                Hi Russell

                 

                You will never learn or understand all the CODECs and delivery requirements...and they change and develop constantly

                 

                One simpler way to approach your question is to "work backwards" from who you are delivering to FIRST.  (eg broadcast, youtube, vimeo, desktop playback, email delivery etc...

                 

                This means you can find out what the requirement is and then encode specifically for that.

                 

                What I am saying is that you do not SHOOT or PRODUCE in a delivery format / CODEC.

                 

                I have clients that request media in various "ways" and for various purposes.    I find out the delivery "specs" and then achieve that after doing my shoot and post in the highest quality workflow.  eg the master broadcast file maybe 2gbs +  from which  the various encodes can be 4mb flash, 7mb wmv, 20mb  QT etc....

                • 5. Re: Rounding the CODEC learning curve
                  Russell_MTL Level 1

                  shooternz wrote:

                   

                  What I am saying is that you do not SHOOT or PRODUCE in a delivery format / CODEC.


                  Except in my case all the client needs is a short 2 minute 'testimonial' delivered on their Intranet webpage and nothing else. I really don't need to be concerned yet about broadcast quality (Wim Wenders I'm not <g>) or anything like that. They were previously shooting with a Flip camera and the D3s (with some manual exposure options) with an external mic has improved things a lot. They want me to provide the files to drop into their webpage.

                   

                  The FLV/FLV4 presets seems appropriate, and there I only have Sorenson Spark and On2 VP6 to choose from. On2 VP6 seems to be the current one in use.

                   

                  But playing with QuickTime there are 27 CODECs to choose from and the same 27 are listed for H.274.

                   

                  In an earlier post Ann even suggested H.274 using Apple TV 720p.

                   

                  I guess I'm looking for an article on "delivering video content for the Web" : the current preferred formats and CODEC's. I would think that such a list would not be very long.

                   

                  Thanks for your patience while I'm learning all this new stuff.

                   

                  Russell

                  • 6. Re: Rounding the CODEC learning curve
                    shooternz Level 6

                    Working back from your clients needs...Flash would be good, so would wmv.

                     

                    Take it from there.

                     

                    Hint: I found that as I learnt to encode for the various end delivery requirements, there was a lot of "trial and error" in the process.  It usually has to do with quality versus file size in the deliverable.  Bit rate seems to be the key controller in this.  I have never bothered even trying to fully understand GOP etc.....so I do not even mess with them