An Intro To All Video File Formats
When you start editing a video, especially on a professional video editing software, you might come across an export options box that lets you choose what video file format you want to choose for your export. Not only that, there are many formats you can choose from. But what does this mean? What do these formats do, and why is it important to have all these options? Relax. We’ll tell you why we have all of these video formats, and what they’re used for. We’ll also list out all the common video formats you can find out there, on the Internet.
What Are Video File Formats?
Before we get into what a video file format is, you’ll need to know how to identify it. Think of a Word Document that you save in your files, you’ll find a “.docx” or a “.doc” at the end. This is what identifies the file as a document. This is the same with a video file format. It’s that “.mp4” or “.avi” or even “.mov”. This is what these formats are, and it depends on the format that you’ve exported your video edit and what the quality of it is like.
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What Are These Formats Used For?
There are many uses for all these different video formats. From online streaming and social media uploads to major film and TV broadcasts, or even HD exhibition displays. It depends on the file format you export your video to, how high or low the quality of your video is and where you use it. For example, if you’re looking to create a video that you’re going to display in an exhibition or a convention, you’ll want the highest quality you can get, because you won’t need to upload it to the internet, you can simply plug your hard drive in and press play. However, if you’re looking to upload a video to YouTube, you might want to go for a video file format that gives you the flexibility of high-quality videos as well as easy streaming download times.
What Are The Most Common Video File Formats?
There are 9 common video formats that video editors use, to export their editing projects, and as mentioned before, it depends on where the video will be used, and which one they’ll export to. Here’s a breakdown of each one.
This format is mostly used for streaming purposes, particularly on social media. It offers the quickest load-in times, but at the cost of quality. So, many of those grainy and pixelated videos, you see online, are a .WEBM format. Essentially, it was created by Google, to help with distributing videos and other media to large audiences.
These video formats are essentially a step above .WEBM, because although the file is larger, it is still small enough for streaming videos, and is still of a lower quality than many other video formats. Think about a GIF image. It’s essentially one of those, except longer and with sound. These are usually best used right from the camera, because the more you edit with them, the more degraded the quality of the video. So, if you’re not too bothered by polishing your video up with video editing software, record with this file format.
The .OGG or .OGV file format is of much higher quality than either the .WEBM and .MPG files, because they’re open source file formats. This means they can be used to stream a video on a webpage, and can be embedded into a website, without the long upload speeds. Essentially, they’re the middleman between the lower quality file formats and the higher ones. However, if you’ve downloaded and .OGV file, particularly to a Windows PC, you’ll need to download a separate video player like VLC, because the file doesn’t actually agree with the in-built media player.
These file formats are the most common of them all, and chances are, you’ve come across them in your video downloading lifetime. The .MP4 video file format, offers a high-quality video, even online. So, you can watch these videos on YouTube, and still have an HD video. However, these files may not accommodate 4K video resolutions, and you’ll need to use a different file format for those videos.
This video file format is the most flexible of all, because it’s the oldest and it is compatible with nearly all video codecs, so you can play these bad boys without any loss of quality, and still have a relatively small file size. However, .AVI video formats aren’t ideal for online streaming, and are best saved onto your computer. So, these video formats are best when you’re plugging in your PC or hard drive to a monitor.
These video file formats are one of the oldest and more outdated formats in the family, because they’re generated by Microsoft themselves, from their own video editing program. These formats aren’t generally used, because they are mostly compatible with older Windows computers.
The .MOV/.QT formats were created by Apple, because of their own video player QuickTime. However, it’s not compatible with other programmes, unless otherwise stated, and can only be used on an Apple device. Not only that but these are very large files, so they can take up a lot of space, despite the high-quality videos they can give you. These formats are best for archiving videos on an Apple device.
These file formats were created by Adobe themselves, to help with embedding videos into Flash, should any programmes have need for it, like website designing programmes. However, Adobe Flash has been on the decline, and for the most part, websites no longer need it, nor do any iOS device facilitate Flash functions. So, these old formats may eventually become defunct.
AVCHD – H.264/MPEG-4
These file formats are usually generated by high quality video cameras or camcorders. These are very large files, and will contain a lot of information, so they may take up a lot of space on your computer. But these files can also accommodate 4K, 6K and even 8K resolutions, and usually use the H.264 or MPEG-4 codecs.