Are you trying to figure out which video format is ‘best’ suitable for encoding your video? Whether you’re unfamiliar with video formats in general, which may seem like a very difficult decision – but it actually isn’t that complicated a task.
Here are Factors to Consider When Deciding on a Video Format
When deciding on a format, you should first consider the impact it will have on your videos overall output, and particularly, these three factors should be weighed in with the final decisions:
It goes without saying that you need to choose a format that will be compatible with the device or platform you want to use in watching the video. Ideally the device will have hardware support (i.e. hardware acceleration) for the format, as software decoding is processor-intensive and require a lot of power.
The format will affect the file size, because the video codec (which is part of the format) determines the compression that is used. Newer codecs typically have better compression rates, and can compress videos to smaller file sizes while maintaining their quality.
Some videos may have other features included in the video, and the container (which is also part of the format) needs to support them. Among the more popular features in videos are menus, captions, chapters, and streaming support.
How Will the Video Be Used?
- Uploading to online video platforms
The format should generally follow the recommended settings of the platform (e.g. YouTube’s recommended settings). That will ensure that it isn’t transcoded internally by the platform – which could affect its quality.
- Distributing to multiple users
If you’re sharing the video file among many people, compatibility is the main factor to consider. As such a format such as MP4 with H.264 which has near-universal compatibility is normally best.
- Burning on a video DVD
Video DVDs use the MPEG-2 format to encode videos, making your decision easy. While there are some newer DVD players that support other formats, MPEG-2 is the reliable choice.
- Storing in a limited amount of space
If storage space is at a premium, you should try to encode it in a format that offers good compression. Nowadays MP4 or MKV with HEVC (H.265) is the common option, but you should check that it is compatible with your device.
Keep in mind that after you encode your video you can convert it using tools such as Movavi Video Converter to convert WebM to MP4 or to and from any other formats. Try to store the original version of the video however, especially if you feel you may need to convert it to a different format later.
Generally speaking in most cases nowadays MP4 with H.264 is a ‘safe’ format, though if H.265 is compatible – it is a better option. That may not always be the case however, and new formats may be introduced that supplant one or the other, or both.