Join date: Apr 15, 2022

How to reduce video size without spoiling the quality? Figuring out video codecs in 2 minutes

Here's what video codecs are all about. Why do we need them and what to do with them?

What is the point of a codec?

When you record video, it turns out to be in its original form without any text transcription. Using you can get this kind of video, and besides the original video is quite big unlike text documents.

Imagine you record a 3-minute video and it weighs 11 Gbytes.

In such cases you need a separate case with memory cards, otherwise the material will not fit.

You need a codec to avoid lugging around with such a case, so that all files would fit on the card.

It compresses the file data for storage or sending, and then uncompresses it for artificial intelligence to recognize words in video and audio such as and play or edit. It's essentially a computer code that is activated every time a file is run.

But it's not all that great here. Because the video is compressed, some of the data is missing from it.

This is not as critical as it may seem. Mostly, insignificant, identical frames recorded by the camera disappear.

And if there are any changes in the footage, the codec smoothly superimposes them on the previous frames.

The purpose of such codecs with data loss is to reduce the file size.

There are codecs without data loss. Their purpose is to improve the quality of the media file without increasing the file size at the same time.

How does a codec relate to a video format?

The file format consists of the data compressed by the codec. Sometimes the file format and codec name are the same.

The main thing here is not to get confused, so here are some examples:

There is a format - Windows Media Audio, it contains data compressed by the codec - Windows Media Audio. The names may be different.

There is a format AVI (Audio Video Interleaved), it can contain data compressed by any codec (MPEG-2, DivX, XviD). AVI files can also contain data which is not compressed by any codec at all.

So depending on codecs installed on your system some AVI files will play fine, while other AVI files will not play despite the same file extension.

This also affects audio. It often happens that when you play a video, the sound is played, but the video is not. This means that the appropriate video codec is not installed on your device.

How to determine the video format and video codec used?

In Windows

Play the file in your player, then right click it in and click "Properties". In the tab that opens, you'll want the "Video Codec" option.

In MACos.

Select the file and open its properties. In the tab you will find the item "Video codec".

What kind of codecs are there anyway?

There are lots of them, but we'll divide them into three groups for ease of reference.

1. Camera codecs.

For recording video on the camera itself. Characterized by high encoding speed, but low decoding speed.

Example: XDCAM; REDCODE; Cinema DNG.

2. Playback codecs.

For content consumption. On the Internet or just in players on your computer/phone.

These codecs are slow to record video, but fast to play it back due to fast decoding.

Very small in size and resource intensive for editing.

Example: H.264; Mpeg 1,2,4; DivX.

Montage codecs.

For video production and processing. The task of the codec is to free up computer resources for more efficient work.

Here are a few for example: DnxHD; Apple ProRes; CineForm.

Speaking of editing. You need to consider the codec of the video you're going to edit, especially if it's large.

It's undesirable to use view or camera codecs when editing.

Video will be lagging, rendering will be longer, and you'll hardly be able to apply effects at all. But if it is a small project, it is possible to use some non-editing codec.

To not bother with slow videos in the preview window of the timeline - you can create proxy files or transcode the source from one codec to another.

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