Video File Formats: Finding the Best Video Format For You

Video File Formats

Digital video formats refer to the method of storing and transmitting digital video data, including audio, subtitles, titles, descriptions, and other video metadata. The video format containing the encoded video data defines how the data will be structured and stored in the file. Digital video file formats comprise containers and codecs; containers hold the video content, while codecs encode and decompress the video and audio.

Digital video file formats comprise three main components: container, codecs, and audio+video content.

The container is the storage medium, holding the compressed audio and video data. The container manages how the digital video data will be structured, stored, and presented.

Codecs encode and decode video and audio data of a digital video. The codec plays a crucial role in determining the quality and size of the video.

Audio+Video is the main content. It is the recorded video data and serves as the core element of a video file. Audio and Video are compressed and encoded using codecs and then stored in containers.

Digital video formats differ in several ways, such as quality, compression, platform of use, etc.

  • Quality: Different digital video formats support varying video resolutions and audio quality. For instance, 4K videos are often found in formats like MP4 using H.265 codec, which supports higher resolutions with efficient compression.
  • Compression: This is about how much the video reduces in size after encoding. Formats like HEVC provide high-quality video at smaller file sizes but require more processing power to encode and decode.
  • Platforms: Some devices and platforms accept and support some video formats over others. For example, MP4 is universally accepted on most platforms, while others, like AVI, might have compatibility issues on some devices.
  • Metadata Support: Metadata in video files can include information like title, author, description, and more. Some formats are better at storing this metadata than others. For instance, MP4 files can hold extensive metadata, which is helpful for organization and searchability, especially in large video libraries.
  • Frame Rate: Different video formats can support various frame rates. Frame rate significantly affects the smoothness of the video. A video format like AVI can support higher frame rates, making it the best choice for action-packed videos or slow-motion effects, whereas others might be limited.

There must be several considerations in determining the best file format to suit your needs. The first thing to consider is the purpose of the video: online upload, professional editing, home use, or otherwise. Knowing the purpose of the video will help you choose a suitable container and codec to meet your needs.

Another factor to consider is the compatibility of the video file with the platform or device where it will be used. It is advisable to use a container and codec combination supported by whatever application or device you plan to use for the video file.

You also need to decide what quality and size of video you prefer. For more quality, digital video file formats with less compression are most advisable. However, if you plan on saving some storage space, consider a video format that offers better compression (like H.265).

Video Format List

Name

File Extension

Container Format

Video Coding Format

Audio Coding Format

Year Created

Quality

Size

Common Uses

Ogg Video

.ogg, .ogv

Ogg

Theora

Vorbis, Opus

2003

Medium

10MB – 30MB/min

Online streaming, open source applications

QuickTime File Format

.mov,

.qt

QuickTime Format

H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC)

Various

1991

High

Varies widely

Professional video editing, Apple ecosystems, and content creation.

AVI

.avi

AVI

DivX

Xdiv

AAC

MP3

1992

High

200-300 MB/min

General use, older camcorders, legacy systems

MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4)

.mp4, .m4p, .m4v

MPEG-4 Part 14

MPEG-4

AAC

2001

High

30-50 MB/min

Universal use, online streaming, portable devices

Matroska

.mkv

Matroska

H.264, H.265, VP9.

AAC, DTS, Dolby Digital.

2002

High

Varies widely

High-quality video storage, flexible container

Flash Video

.flv,

.f4v,

.f4p, .f4a,

.f4b

FLV

Sorenson VP6

MP3

2003

Low

10-30 MB/min

Early web streaming

MPEG Transport Stream

.mts, .m2ts,

 .ts

MPEG-TS

MPEG-2

H.264

Various

1995

High

Varies widely

Broadcasting, camcorders

WebM

.webm

WebM

VP8, VP9

Vorbis, Opus

2010

Medium

8-16 MB/min

HTML5 web video, YouTube

GIF

.gif

GIF89a

LZW

(Lempel-Ziv-Welch)

None (GIFs have no audio)

1987

Low

2-5 MB/min (very low frame rate)

Short, looping animations on websites

Material Exchange Format

.mxf

MXF

Various

Various

2004

High

Varies widely

Professional video production, broadcasting

Windows Media Video

.wmv

ASF

WMV

WMA

1999

Medium

50-70 MB/min

Windows-based systems, some streaming applications

MPEG-2

.mpg, .mpeg, .m2v

MPEG-2

MPEG-2 Video

MPEG Audio

1995

High

100-200 MB/min

DVDs, television broadcasting

MPEG-1

.mpg, .mp2, .mpeg, .mpe, .mpv

MPEG-1

MPEG-1 Video

MPEG Audio

1993

Low

100-150 MB/min

Early digital video, CDs

F4V

.flv

F4V

H.264

AAC

2007

Medium

10-30 MB/min

Online video platforms (Adobe Flash)

Vob

.vob

MPEG-PS

MPEG-2 Video

Various

1996

High

1GB/min (DVD quality)

DVD-Video format

M4V

.m4v

MPEG-4 Part 14

H.264

AAC, Dolby Digital

2003

High

30-50 MB/min

iTunes, Apple devices

3GPP2

.3g2

3GPP2

H.263

MPEG-4 Part 2

Various

1998

Low

1-5 MB/min

Mobile phones (older versions)

Advanced Systems Format

.asf

ASF

WMV, VC-1

WMA, MP3

1996

Medium

30-50 MB/min

Streaming, Windows Media Player

RealMedia

.rm

RealMedia

RealVideo (RV30, RV40)

RealAudio

1997

Low

5-10 MB/min

Online streaming (older), RealPlayer

RealMedia Variable Bitrate

.rmvb

RealMedia

RealVideo with VBR (RV40)

RealAudioCook Codec

2003

Medium

5-8 MB/min

Online distribution, especially in Asia

VivoActive

.viv

VivoActive

VivoActive Video

VivoActive Audio

1995

Low

Very small, highly compressed

Early internet videos, mostly obsolete

Raw video format

.yuv

.raw

(and other formats associated with the device used)

None

Raw YUV

None

High

Very

large (several GB/min)

Video editing, testing, research

Video alternative to GIF

.gifv

None

Based on host format (e.g., MP4)

Based on host format

2014

Low

Depends on underlying video format

Short, looping web animations

AMV video format

.amv

Custom

Modified MJPEG, AMV

ADPCM

2003

Low

1-2 MB/min

Anime Music Videos, low-end portable media players

Dirac

.drc

Various

Dirac

Various

2004

High

Varies, comparable to H.264

Broadcasting, high-quality video storage

Multiple-image Network Graphics (MNG)

.mng

PNG-like format

None

2001

Low

Large for the content type

Animated images, complex animations

Nullsoft Streaming Video (NSV)

.nsv

NSV

VP3, VP5, VP6, NSV Video

AAC, MP3, NSV Audio

2003

Low

Varies, often small

Online streaming, Winamp

ROQ

.roq

RoQ

RoQ

1995

Low

Small, efficient compression

Video game cutscenes, especially id Software games

SVI

.svi

Proprietary Samsung format

Proprietary Samsung format

2005

Low

Varies, typically small

Samsung portable players

Ogg Video

  • File Extension: .ogg, .ogv
  • Container Format: Ogg
  • Video Coding Format: Theora
  • Audio Coding Format: Vorbis, Opus
  • Year Created: 2003
  • Quality: Medium
  • Size: Varies widely(usually 10-30MB/min)
  • Common Uses: Online streaming, open-source applications

The Ogg video format was created in 2003 and is identified by the file extensions .ogg and .ogv. It uses Ogg container format for storage, Theora encoding for video, and Vorbis/Opus for audio encoding. Ogg Video generally provides medium-level video quality with sizes ranging between 10-30MB/min. Ogg Video is commonly used in online streaming and open-source applications because of its open nature and lack of associated licensing fees.

QuickTime File Format

  • File Extension: .mov, .qt
  • Container Format: QuickTime
  • Video Coding Format: Various (e.g., H.264, ProRes)
  • Audio Coding Format: Various (e.g., AAC, MP3)
  • Year Created: 1991
  • Quality: High
  • Size: Varies widely, depending on codecs used
  • Common Uses: Professional video editing, Apple ecosystems (iTunes, macOS)

Quicktime file format was created in 1991 and is identified by the extensions .mov and .qt. It uses the Quicktime container format, H.264 video encoding, and AAC encoding for audio. The Quicktime file format stores high-quality videos of varying large sizes. Quicktime file format is best for professional video editing on Apple platforms and devices.

AVI

  • File Extension: .avi
  • Container Format: AVI (Audio Video Interleave)
  • Video Coding Format: Supports various, including DivX and Xvid
  • Audio Coding Format: Commonly uses MP3 or AAC
  • Year Created: 1992
  • Quality: Ranges from low to medium
  • Size: Less efficient compression, resulting in larger file sizes
  • Common Uses: Standard-definition video on PCs, early camcorders, various editing and playback software

AVI file format was created in 1992 and is identified by the extensions .avi. It uses the Audio Video Interleave container format. AVI uses DivX for video encoding and AAC for audio encoding. The AVI file format stores videos with sizes ranging from 200-300MB/min. AVI is used for standard-definition video on PCs and in early camcorders.

MPEG-4 Part 14

  • File Extension: .mp4, .m4p (with DRM), .m4v
  • Container Format: MPEG-4 Part 14
  • Video Coding Format: H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC
  • Audio Coding Format: AAC, MP3
  • Year Created: 2001
  • Quality: High
  • Size: 30-50 MB/min
  • Common Uses: Universal use in online streaming, portable devices, video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro

MPEG-4 Part 14(also known as MP4) is a video file format created in 2001, identified by the extensions: .mp4, .m4p, and .m4v. It uses the MPEG-4 Part 14 as a container format,  H.264/AVC for video encoding, and AAC for audio encoding. MPEG-4 Part 14 contains video files of high quality with sizes ranging between 30-50MB/min. It is commonly used for online streaming and video editing software.

Matroska

  • File Extension: .mkv
  • Container Format: Matroska
  • Video Coding Format: H.264, H.265, VP9
  • Audio Coding Format: AAC, DTS, Dolby Digital
  • Year Created: 2002
  • Quality: High
  • Size: Varies
  • Common Uses: High-quality video storage, flexible for multi-audio/subtitle video files

Matroska, commonly recognized by its .mkv file extension, is a modern multimedia container format that emerged in 2002. It uses H.264, H.265, or VP9 for video compression and AAC, DTS, or Dolby Digital for audio encoding. Matroska is used to contain high-quality videos with large varying sizes. The most popular uses of the Matroska video file format are for storing high-quality movies and TV shows because of its ability to handle multiple audio and subtitle files.

Flash Video

  • File Extension: .flv, .f4v, .f4p, .f4a, .f4b
  • Container Format: FLV
  • Video Coding Format: Sorenson Spark, VP6, H.264 (in F4V)
  • Audio Coding Format: MP3, AAC (in F4V)
  • Year Created: 2003
  • Quality: Low to Medium
  • Size: 10-30 MB/min
  • Common Uses: Primarily used in early web streaming; now mostly obsolete

Flash Video, known by its file extensions like .flv and .f4v was created in 2003 with the FLV container format. It uses Sorenson, VP6, or H.264 video encoding and MP3 or AAC audio encoding. The format was optimized for streaming, which meant compromising on video quality to ensure smoother playback over limited bandwidth. File sizes are between 10-30MB/min and were commonly employed for web streaming in the early 2000s.

MPEG Transport Stream

  • File Extension: .mts, .m2ts, .ts
  • Container Format: MPEG Transport Stream (TS)
  • Video Coding Format: MPEG-2, H.264, H.265
  • Audio Coding Format: MPEG Audio, AAC, AC3
  • Year Created: 1995
  • Quality: High
  • Size: Varies widely, efficient for broadcasting
  • Common Uses: Broadcasting, digital television, Blu-ray discs

MPEG Transport Stream, identifiable by file extensions such as .mts, .m2ts, was created in 1995. The format is capable of supporting video codecs like H.264 and MPEG-2 and audio encodings like AAC and AC3. MPEG Transport Stream is used to contain high-quality video files with varying large sizes. The video file format is most commonly used in Blu-ray discs and broadcasting.

WebM

  • File Extension: .webm
  • Container Format: WebM
  • Video Coding Format: VP8, VP9
  • Audio Coding Format: Vorbis, Opus
  • Year Created: 2010
  • Quality: Generally medium to high
  • Size: 8-16 MB/min
  • Common Uses: HTML5 web video, YouTube

WebM is a modern multimedia container format that uses file extension .webm and was introduced in 2010. The format primarily utilizes video coding formats VP8 and VP9 and incorporates Vorbis and Opus codecs for audio. The file sizes are around 8-16MB/min and boast medium to high quality. WebM is a favoured format for HTML5 web video and YouTube.

GIF

  • File Extension: .gif
  • Container Format: GIF89a
  • Video Coding Format: LZW(Lempev-Ziv-Welch)
  • Audio Coding Format: GIFs do not contain audio
  • Year Created: 1987
  • Quality: Low
  • Size: 2-5 MB/min
  • Common Uses: Short, looping animations on websites and social media

The GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is a widely recognized bitmap image format that was introduced in 1987. It is contained in the GIF89a format and uses Lempev-Ziv-Welch compression to encode the bitmapped images. GIFs have no audio and consequently no audio compression. GIFs are low quality ranging between 2-5MB/min in file size. Common uses of GIFs include short animations on websites, social media, and messaging platforms. They are particularly popular for memes, reaction images, and simple animations where high-quality video is not necessary.

Material Exchange Format

  • File Extension: .mxf
  • Container Format: Material Exchange Format (MXF)
  • Video Coding Format: MPEG-2, AVC-Intra, DNxHD
  • Audio Coding Format: PCM, Dolby E, AAC
  • Year Created: 2004
  • Quality: High
  • Size: Varies widely, tailored to professional needs
  • Common Uses: Professional video production, broadcasting, digital cinema

Material Exchange Format is a container format created in 2004 and is identifiable by the extension .mxf. It is compatible with several video codecs, such as MPEG-2, AVC, and DNxHD. MXF also supports audio codecs like PCM, Dolby E, and AAC. MXF video files are mostly high-quality and have varying file sizes. Material Exchange Format is commonly used by video producers, broadcasters, and cameramen.

Windows Media Video

  • File Extension: .wmv
  • Container Format: Advanced Systems Format (ASF)
  • Video Coding Format: Windows Media Video (WMV)
  • Audio Coding Format: Windows Media Audio (WMA)
  • Year Created: 1999
  • Quality: Ranges from medium to high
  • Size: 50-70 MB/min
  • Common Uses: Windows-based systems, streaming applications

Windows Media Video is a video file format represented by the extension .wmv. It was created in 1999 and is contained in the Advanced Systems Format. WMV supports Windows Media Video encoding for video and Windows Media Audio encoding for audio. WMV videos are usually high in quality and their file sizes range from 50-70MB/min. This video file format is mostly used on Windows-based systems and streaming applications.

MPEG-2 Video

  • File Extension: .mpg, .mpeg, .m2v
  • Container Format: MPEG-2
  • Video Coding Format: MPEG-2 Video
  • Audio Coding Format: MPEG-1 Audio Layer II, MPEG-2 Audio Layer III (MP3), AAC, AC-3
  • Year Created: 1995
  • Quality: High
  • Size: 100-200 MB/min
  • Common Uses: DVDs, television broadcasting, digital cable/satellite TV

MPEG-2 Video, recognized by file extensions like .mpg, .mpeg, and .m2v, is a widely used digital video standard developed in 1995. MPEG-2 is encapsulated in the MPEG-2 container format, which is specifically designed to accommodate the MPEG-2 video coding format. The audio codecs used in MPEG-2 Video include MPEG-1 Audio Layer II, MPEG-2 Audio Layer III (MP3), AAC, and AC-3. MPEG-2 Videos are high in quality and file sizes range from 100-200MB/min, making it a common choice of video format for DVDs, satellite TV, and broadcasting.

MPEG-1

  • File Extension: .mpg, .mp2, .mpeg, .mpe, .mpv
  • Container Format: MPEG-1
  • Video Coding Format: MPEG-1 Video
  • Audio Coding Format: MPEG-1 Audio Layer II, MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3)
  • Year Created: 1993
  • Quality: Low
  • Size: 100-150 MB/min
  • Common Uses: Early digital video, Video CDs (VCDs), low-resolution video on the internet

MPEG-1, with file extensions such as .mpg, .mp2, .mpeg, .mpe, and .mpv, was created in 1993 and was one of the earliest standards for lossy compression of video and audio. The video file format is part of the MPEG-1 container format. It uses MPEG-1 video coding format and MP2/ MP3 audio coding format. As a lossy compression standard, MPEG-1 videos are usually low in quality with size ranging from 100-150MB/min. Its most common uses are in VCDs and low-resolution internet videos.

F4V

  • File Extension: .flv
  • Container Format: F4V (based on the ISO base media file format)
  • Video Coding Format: H.264
  • Audio Coding Format: AAC
  • Year Created: 2007
  • Quality: Medium to high (better than traditional FLV)
  • Size: Similar to FLV, but more efficient due to H.264 compression
  • Common Uses: Online video platforms (primarily during the Adobe Flash era)

F4V is an advanced version of the Flash Video (FLV) format, introduced by Adobe Systems in 2007. Unlike traditional FLV, the F4V container format is based on the ISO-based media file format. The video coding format in F4V is H.264 and the audio coding format is AAC, making for better-quality audio and video. F4V contains video files with higher quality than the traditional Flash Video format but has similar sizes ranging from 10-30MB/min. F4V was commonly used for online video platforms.

VOB(Video Object)

  • File Extension: .vob
  • Container Format: MPEG-PS
  • Video Coding Format: MPEG-2 Video
  • Audio Coding Format: Usually AC-3 (Dolby Digital) or MPEG-1 Layer 2
  • Year Created: 1996
  • Quality: High (standard for DVDs)
  • Size: Approximately 1 GB/min (DVD quality)
  • Common Uses: Standard format for storing video and audio on DVDs

VOB is a file format used predominantly on DVDs that was introduced in 1996. It contains the actual movie data, including video, audio, subtitles, and menus. VOB files are encapsulated in the MPEG-PS (Program Stream) container format. The video coding format in VOB files is primarily MPEG-2 Video while the audio coding formats commonly used are AC-3 (Dolby Digital) audio codec and MPEG-1 Layer 2. VOB files contained high-quality videos designed for DVDs. These file sizes were about 1GB/min. Movies, TV shows, and other content stored on DVDs were contained in VOB files.

M4V

  • File Extension: .m4v
  • Container Format: MPEG-4 Part 14
  • Video Coding Format: H.264
  • Audio Coding Format: AAC, Dolby Digital
  • Year Created: 2003
  • Quality: Generally high, similar to MP4
  • Size: Approximately 30-50 MB/min
  • Common Uses: iTunes, Apple devices, digital rights management (DRM)-protected video content

M4V is a video file format developed by Apple in 2003. M4V videos are contained in the MPEG-4 Part 14 format. Video coding in M4V primarily uses the H.264 codec, which offers a good balance between high video quality and efficient compression. For audio, M4V files typically incorporate AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), which provides superior audio quality at smaller file sizes. M4V files are comparable to MP4 files, offering high video quality with efficient file sizes. The typical file size ranges approximately from 30-50 MB/min, depending on the video’s resolution and bitrate. Common uses of M4V include distribution of video content through iTunes, with a particular focus on DRM-protected files.

3GPP2 (Third Generation Partnership Project 2)

  • File Extension: .3g2
  • Container Format: 3GPP2
  • Video Coding Format: MPEG-4 Part 2, H.263
  • Audio Coding Format: AAC, AMR, QCELP
  • Year Created: 1998
  • Quality: Generally low, optimized for mobile devices
  • Size: Highly compressed, between 1-5MB/min
  • Common Uses: Mobile phones (especially older 3G phones), multimedia messaging

3GPP2, represented by the .3g2 file extension, is a video file format developed for 3G mobile phones in 1998.  It’s closely related to the 3GPP format but is specifically tailored for CDMA-based phones. The video files are encapsulated in the 3GGP2 container format. The video coding format used in 3GPP2 files is usually MPEG-4 Part 2 or H.263. For audio, 3GPP2 files often incorporate AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate), and QCELP (Qualcomm Code Excited Linear Prediction). 3GGP2 videos are relatively low in quality with file sizes between 1-5MB/min. Common uses of 3GPP2 include video playback and multimedia messaging on mobile phones, especially those using CDMA technology.

Advanced Systems Format (ASF)

  • File Extension: .asf
  • Container Format: Advanced Systems Format (ASF)
  • Video Coding Format: WMV (Windows Media Video)
  • Audio Coding Format: WMA (Windows Media Audio), MP3
  • Year Created: 1996
  • Quality: Ranges from low to high, depending on the codecs used
  • Size: Varies widely, often around 50-70 MB/min for WMV
  • Common Uses: Streaming media, Windows Media Player

Advanced System Format, marked by the .asf file extension, is a Microsoft-developed digital video file and container format created in 1996. The format is known for its compatibility with Windows Media Video (WMV) as the primary video codec. For audio, ASF files typically use Windows Media Audio (WMA). The quality of ASF videos largely depends on the codecs used within the ASF container and the file sizes are usually around 50-70MB/min. One of the most common uses of ASF is for streaming audio and video in applications like Windows Media Player.

RealMedia (RM)

  • File Extension: .rm
  • Container Format: RealMedia
  • Video Coding Format: RealVideo
  • Audio Coding Format: RealAudio
  • Year Created: 1997
  • Quality: Low
  • Size: 5-10MB/min
  • Common Uses: Online streaming (particularly in the early days of internet video), RealPlayer

RealMedia (RM), identifiable by its .rm file extension, is a video file and container format developed by RealNetworks in 1997. The video coding format used in RealMedia files is RealVideo. RealVideo was known for its ability to stream video over low-bandwidth internet connections, making it a popular choice in the early days of internet video streaming when high-speed internet was not as prevalent. In terms of audio, RealMedia uses the RealAudio codec, which is also optimized for low-bandwidth internet connections. RealMedia videos are low in quality with file sizes ranging between 5-10MB/min.

RealMedia Variable Bitrate (RVMB)

  • File Extension: .rmvb
  • Container Format: RealMedia
  • Video Coding Format: RealVideo with Variable Bitrate (VBR)
  • Audio Coding Format: RealAudio, often using Cook Codec
  • Year Created: 2003
  • Quality: Medium, improved over standard RealMedia (RM)
  • Size: Smaller than standard RM due to VBR, sizes vary based on content
  • Common Uses: Online video distribution, especially popular in Asia for TV shows and movies

RealMedia Variable Bitrate (RMVB) is a variation of the RealMedia format developed by RealNetworks. It was introduced in 2003 and offered higher-quality videos than Real Media. In RMVB files, the video coding format is a version of RealVideo that uses Variable Bitrate (VBR). For audio, RMVB commonly employs RealAudio codecs, frequently using the Cook Codec. The use of VBR allows for better quality at a given file size (5-8MB/min), making RMVB a more efficient option for video distribution. Common uses of RMVB have included online video distribution, particularly in Asian markets.

VivoActive (VIV)

  • File Extension: .viv
  • Container Format: VivoActive
  • Video Coding Format: VivoActive Video
  • Audio Coding Format: VivoActive Audio
  • Year Created: 1995
  • Quality: Generally low, optimized for early internet streaming
  • Size: Very small, highly compressed
  • Common Uses: Early internet videos, now mostly obsolete.

VivoActive, recognized by the .viv file extension, is a video file format developed in 1995. The format uses its proprietary VivoActive Video codec for video compression and employs its own VivoActive Audio codec for audio. VivoActive files contained videos of low quality that could be conveniently streamed over low internet bandwidth. The file sizes are usually very small and were commonly used for the now obsolete early internet videos.

Raw Video Format

  • File Extension: .yuv
  • Container Format: Raw video format
  • Video Coding Format: Uncompressed raw video data
  • Audio Coding Format: Typically does not include audio
  • Year Created: N/A (Standard practice in video processing)
  • Quality: High (Uncompressed and unaltered)
  • Size: Extremely large (several GB/min)
  • Common Uses: Video editing, testing, research, and post-production processes

Raw Video Format represents uncompressed, unaltered video data. Raw video files can be represented with different file extensions, depending on the device used in recording or creating the video.

This format is typically used in professional video editing and production environments where the highest possible video quality is required. Since raw video is uncompressed, it contains all the data captured by the video sensor, without any loss of information due to compression.

Raw video formats typically do not include any video or audio encoding. The creation year is not applicable for raw video formats as they represent a standard practice in video processing. Raw video formats contain videos of high quality, which comes at the cost of file size.

Video Alternative to GIF

  • File Extension: .gifv
  • Container Format: Based on the host format (usually MP4 or WebM)
  • Video Coding Format: Depends on the host format (commonly H.264 for MP4)
  • Audio Coding Format: N/A (typically silent, like GIFs)
  • Year Created: 2014
  • Quality: Higher than GIFs, depending on the underlying video format
  • Size: Smaller than traditional GIFs, size depends on the underlying video format
  • Common Uses: Short, looping animations on websites and social media

The video alternative to GIF, often referred to as GIFV, is not a standard file format but rather a method of using video files to simulate what GIFs do – play short, looping animations without sound. This approach typically involves converting GIFs into video files, often using formats like MP4 or WebM. Since this method utilizes video formats like MP4 or WebM, the video coding format and quality depend on the codecs used by these formats. For instance, if MP4 is used, the video codec is likely H.264, which offers high-quality video compression. The evolution of GIFV is linked to 2014 when it was introduced as a higher-quality alternative to GIFs. GIFV files are smaller than GIFs and are mostly used in short looping animations on websites and social media.

AMV Video Format

  • File Extension: .amv
  • Container Format: Custom (specific to the AMV format)
  • Video Coding Format: Modified version of MJPEG (Motion JPEG)
  • Audio Coding Format: MP3 or other low-complexity audio codecs
  • Year Created: 2003
  • Quality: Generally low, optimized for small file sizes
  • Size: Highly compressed, typically around 1-2 MB/min
  • Common Uses: Anime Music Videos, low-end portable media players

AMV, short for Anime Music Video, is a video file format that was created in 2003. The format employs a custom container tailored to its specific use case. It’s not part of the standard video file formats like MP4 or AVI but was developed to meet the storage and playback capabilities of less powerful hardware. For video coding, AMV uses a modified version of the Motion JPEG (MJPEG) codec. Audio in AMV files is typically encoded with MP3 or other low-complexity audio codecs. The quality of AMV videos is generally low, as the focus is on minimizing file size rather than maximizing video quality. The files are highly compressed, often around 1-2 MB/min. Common uses of the AMV format include Anime Music Videos and low-end portable media players.

Dirac

  • File Extension: .drc
  • Container Format: Can be used in various, including MKV and Ogg
  • Video Coding Format: Dirac
  • Audio Coding Format: Not specific to Dirac; depends on the container format used
  • Year Created: 2004
  • Quality: High (designed for a range of applications from web streaming to HDTV)
  • Size: Comparable to H.264; varies based on content and settings
  • Common Uses: Broadcasting, high-quality video storage, post-production

Dirac, recognized by the .drc file extension, is a video file format created in 2004 by the BBC Research & Development. The Dirac codec is versatile and can be incorporated into various container formats, including MKV (Matroska) and Ogg. As for audio, Dirac itself is purely a video codec, so the audio coding format would depend on the choice of the container format. Dirac format offers high-quality videos, and the files’ size varies based on the content. It is commonly used in broadcasting and high-quality video storage.

Multiple-image Network Graphics (MNG)

  • File Extension: .mng
  • Container Format: N/A (It’s a graphics file format)
  • Video Coding Format: N/A (Designed for animated graphics)
  • Audio Coding Format: N/A (Does not include audio)
  • Year Created: 2001
  • Quality: Similar to PNG, supports high-quality images and animations
  • Size: Generally larger than GIF, due to higher quality
  • Common Uses: Animated images, complex animations on websites

Multiple-image Network Graphics (MNG) is an extended version of the well-known PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format. Introduced in 2001, MNG provides a solution for high-quality, lossless animated graphics. Since MNG is focused on graphics, it does not include a specific video or audio coding format. The file size is generally larger for MNG files compared to GIFs, primarily due to the higher quality and lossless compression. Common uses of MNG have historically been in areas where high-quality animated images are needed, such as complex animations on websites.

Nullsoft Streaming Video (NSV)

  • File Extension: .nsv
  • Container Format: Nullsoft Streaming Video (NSV)
  • Video Coding Format: VP3, VP5, VP6, NSV Video
  • Audio Coding Format: AAC, MP3, NSV Audio
  • Year Created: 2003
  • Quality: Variable, dependent on codecs used
  • Size: Typically compact, optimized for streaming
  • Common Uses: Online streaming, particularly in Winamp

Nullsoft Streaming Video (NSV), marked by the .nsv file extension, is a media container format developed by Nullsoft, the company known for creating Winamp. Introduced in 2003, NSV was designed primarily for streaming video content online. NSV supports a variety of video codecs, including VP3, VP5, and VP6, as well as its own NSV video codec. For audio, NSV can incorporate various codecs like AAC and MP3, as well as the NSV-specific audio codec. NSV files are variable, and largely dependent on the codecs and settings used.  Common uses of NSV were primarily in the realm of online streaming, especially through Winamp.

ROQ

  • File Extension: .roq
  • Container Format: RoQ
  • Video Coding Format: RoQ Video
  • Audio Coding Format: RoQ Audio
  • Year Created: 1995
  • Quality: Generally low, optimized for video game cutscenes
  • Size: Small, efficient compression
  • Common Uses: Video game cutscenes, especially in games developed by id Software

ROQ, known by its .roq file extension, is a video file format developed in 1995 primarily for use in video games. The format employs a RoQ video codec, which was specifically designed to be efficient and light on resources. RoQ audio is the format’s audio codec, designed to provide sound that complements the video while maintaining efficiency in processing and storage. ROQ files are typically low in quality compared to modern video standards and that ensures small file sizes. Common uses of ROQ included video game cutscenes, particularly in games developed by id Software.

SVI

  • File Extension: .svi
  • Container Format: N/A (Specific to Samsung devices)
  • Video Coding Format: Proprietary Samsung format
  • Audio Coding Format: Proprietary Samsung format
  • Year Created: 2005
  • Quality: Tailored for Samsung mobile devices, generally medium
  • Size: Optimized for mobile storage, sizes vary
  • Common Uses: Samsung mobile phones and portable media players

SVI, denoted by the .svi file extension, is a video file format used primarily on Samsung mobile phones and portable media players. It was released in 2005 alongside updates for Samsung mobile devices. Both the video and audio coding formats in SVI files are proprietary to Samsung. SVI files are generally of medium quality, suitable for playback on smaller screens of mobile phones and portable media players. The file size and compression of SVI files are designed to maximize storage efficiency. Common uses of the SVI format include watching videos on Samsung mobile phones and portable media players.

What’s the Best File Type for Video?

The “best” video file type varies depending on your specific needs and use cases. When discussing the best video file type, it’s crucial to understand that the term “best” is highly contextual and varies greatly depending on specific needs and scenarios. Different formats excel in different areas, such as quality, compression, compatibility, and functionality.

For online streaming and general use, MP4 stands out as a top choice. This format, particularly when combined with H.264 or H.265 codecs, strikes an excellent balance between high video quality and efficient compression. Its widespread acceptance across various platforms and devices makes it a universal choice for content creators and viewers alike. This format is notably used on popular online platforms like YouTube and is ideal for social media sharing and playback on both mobile and desktop devices. For a person focused on efficient media consumption and sharing, MP4 will be the best choice.

In professional settings like video editing and post-production, the requirements shift towards formats that maintain the highest possible quality, even if it means larger file sizes. Here, ProRes and DNxHD are often the preferred choices. These formats preserve the quality of the video during the editing process, avoiding the degradation that can come from repeated encoding and decoding in more compressed formats. They are particularly favored in environments where the final product is destined for high-quality broadcasts or cinematic release.

For long-term archiving and high-quality storage, formats like MKV and AVI are often preferred. These formats offer flexibility in terms of the codecs they can contain, making them suitable for storing videos in high quality. They also support multiple audio tracks and subtitles, a feature particularly useful in the creation of multilingual content or for adding descriptive audio tracks.

The best format also depends on the specific platform or environment in which the video will be used. For instance, in the Apple ecosystem, MOV files are often preferred due to their seamless integration with Apple’s software and hardware. Meanwhile, for users predominantly in the Windows environment, WMV files may offer better compatibility.

Additionally, special requirements can also dictate the choice of format. For instance, M4V is widely used for videos that require DRM protection, especially for content distributed through the iTunes Store. On the other hand, for embedding simple, low-resolution videos on websites, lightweight and loop-friendly formats like GIF or WebM are more suitable. These formats provide an efficient way to add visual interest to web pages without significantly impacting loading times.

In conclusion, determining the best video file type is about balancing various factors such as quality, file size, compatibility, and specific use cases.

What’s the Best Video File Type for Adobe Premiere Pro?

Adobe Premiere Pro, a leading video editing software, supports a wide range of video file formats. This versatility allows editors to work with footage from various sources and formats. Some of the key formats supported by Premiere Pro include MP4 (H.264), MOV, AVI, TIFF sequence, and ProRes. Additionally, it supports other formats like MPEG-2, WMV, and even less common ones like VOB and FLV. This broad support ensures that users can import and edit videos from different cameras and devices without needing to convert them first.

What is the best export file for Premiere Pro?

  1. For General Use and Online Sharing: MP4 with H.264 codec is highly recommended. This format is widely supported across various platforms and maintains a good balance between quality and file size, making it ideal for online sharing and playback on various devices.
  1. For High-Quality Outputs: If the focus is on quality, especially for professional or broadcast purposes, formats like ProRes or DNxHD/DNxHR are preferred. These formats are designed for high-end video editing and post-production, offering lossless quality that preserves the integrity of your work.
  2. For Maximum Compatibility: MPEG-2 is also a good choice, especially if the video needs to be compatible with a wide range of editing software and devices. It offers broader compatibility than more specialized formats.
  3. For Ultra High-Definition Videos: For projects in 4K or higher, HEVC (H.265) is an excellent choice. It offers better compression than H.264, which is crucial for managing the large file sizes associated with high-resolution videos.

What is the Most Common Video File Type?

The most common video file type is MP4.

MP4, or MPEG-4 Part 14, has become the go-to format for a wide array of uses, from professional media production to consumer video content. Several factors contribute to its widespread popularity:

MP4 files are supported by virtually all video players, editing software, and devices. This universal compatibility ensures that MP4 videos can be played on computers, smartphones, tablets, and TVs without any issues.

MP4 uses advanced video coding formats like H.264 or H.265/HEVC, which provide high-quality video at relatively small file sizes. This makes MP4 an efficient choice for both high-definition video content and streaming services.

Most online platforms and social media networks prefer MP4 for video uploads and streaming. Its efficiency and quality make it ideal for internet use, where bandwidth and storage can be limiting factors.

MP4 can store video, audio, subtitles, and still images, making it a versatile format for multimedia content. It’s also commonly used for video podcasts and audiobooks.

MP4 files are also widely used in video production and editing due to their balance of quality and editability. They are compatible with major editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and others.

What Video File Does Youtube Support/Accept?

YouTube supports a variety of video file formats, such as:

  • MP4 (with the H.264 video codec and AAC audio)
  • MOV
  • AVI
  • WMV
  • FLV
  • 3GPP
  • WebM
  • MPEG-PS
  • MPEG-4
  • MKV

MP4 with H.264 video codec is the best video format for quality and all-round efficiency. This format strikes an ideal balance between high quality and efficient file size, making it perfect for maintaining video integrity without overly large files. It supports high resolutions, including 4K and 8K.

For faster uploads, formats like MP4, WebM, and FLV are preferable. They are typically smaller in size due to better compression, which speeds up the uploading process. Among these, MP4 is often the most balanced in terms of quality and upload speed.

MP4 with H.264 codec is also a top choice for compatibility, advanced features, and 360-degree videos. Despite YouTube’s support for multiple video file formats offering flexibility, MP4 with the H.264 codec remains the top choice for most content creators due to its balance of quality, compatibility, and upload efficiency.

What is the Best File Type for a 4K Video?

The best file type for 4K video is generally considered to be HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), also known as H.265, within an MP4 container.

The choice of the best file type for 4K video depends on key factors such as the intended use, compatibility, and balance between quality and file size. Here are some common use cases and the best formats for each:

  1. Online Streaming and Sharing:

HEVC (H.265) in MP4: HEVC in an MP4 container is highly recommended for online streaming. HEVC offers better compression than its predecessor, H.264, which means higher quality at lower file sizes. This is crucial for 4K videos, which can be quite large. MP4’s compatibility with various platforms makes it a great choice for sharing on the internet.

  1. Professional Editing and Post-Production:

ProRes or DNxHR: Apple ProRes or Avid’s DNxHR is preferred for professional video editing. These codecs support 4K resolution and provide high-fidelity images ideal for editing. They maintain quality during the editing process but result in larger file sizes.

CinemaDNG (for Raw Video): For projects that require raw video, CinemaDNG provides high-quality, uncompressed 4K footage, allowing for extensive post-production manipulation.

  1. Archiving or High-Quality Playback:

HEVC in MKV: For archiving or high-quality playback where file size is less of a concern, HEVC in an MKV container can be a good choice. MKV supports multiple audio and subtitle tracks, making it suitable for storing feature-rich 4K content.

  1. Compatibility with Older Systems:

H.264 in MP4: While H.264 is less efficient than H.265, it’s more widely compatible with older systems and devices. If compatibility is a priority over sheer quality, H.264 in MP4 can still be a viable option for 4K videos.

In conclusion, while HEVC in an MP4 container is generally the best all-around choice for 4K video, especially for online use, other formats like ProRes, DNxHR, or even H.264 can be preferable depending on specific needs such as professional editing, archiving, or compatibility requirements. The choice should align with the balance you need between quality, file size, and compatibility.

What Video Format is the Smallest/Most Compressed?

The smallest/most compressed video format is the H.265, which is contained in the MP4 format.

HEVC (H.265) is widely acknowledged for its exceptional efficiency in compressing video files, making it the premier choice when the smallest or most compressed format is required, especially for high-resolution content such as 4K and 8K videos. The underlying strength of HEVC lies in its advanced compression techniques. It incorporates more sophisticated motion compensation methods and spatial prediction methods than its predecessor, H.264 (AVC). This enables HEVC to compress video files to approximately half the size of H.264 while retaining comparable video quality, marking a significant leap in compression technology.

The benefits of HEVC extend across a broad spectrum of applications. From streaming high-definition video over constrained bandwidths to fitting voluminous 4K and 8K content into limited storage spaces, HEVC’s compression efficiency is unmatched. Despite its intensive processing requirements for encoding and decoding, HEVC’s adoption is rising. It is driven by an increasing demand for high-definition content and the growing support for the format across various devices and platforms.

Compared with other competing video formats like VP9 or AV1, HEVC generally provides the optimal balance between compression efficiency and broad compatibility. However, it’s worth noting that AV1 is emerging as a formidable contender in terms of compression. Nonetheless, for scenarios where minimizing file size without sacrificing video quality is paramount, such as in streaming services or storage of large-scale video libraries, HEVC stands out as the industry standard, offering a compelling blend of high compression efficiency and quality preservation.

What Video Formats are used in Camcorders?

Common video formats used in camcorders include:

  • AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition)
  • MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14)
  • MOV (Apple QuickTime Format)
  • MPEG-2

The choice of video format in camcorders depends on several factors:

  • AVCHD: Developed jointly by Sony and Panasonic, AVCHD is widely used in their camcorders. It’s based on the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 standard, which allows for efficient compression of high-definition video. AVCHD is ideal for users who prioritize high video quality and plan to edit their footage, as it preserves detail well but requires more storage space.
  • MP4: Many modern camcorders offer MP4 recording because of its balance between quality and file size. MP4, especially with H.264 codec, is widely compatible with various devices and platforms, making it a versatile choice for general use, from amateur filming to social media uploads.
  • MOV: Used predominantly in Apple environments, MOV is a common format in camcorders catering to users who prefer or predominantly work with Apple products. It integrates well with software like Final Cut Pro for editing.
  • MPEG-2: Older or more professional camcorders, especially those used for broadcasting, might use MPEG-2. This format is known for its high-quality video output but results in larger file sizes than MP4 or AVCHD.
  • Brand and Model: Specific camcorder brands and models might favor certain formats. For instance, Canon and Sony have models that primarily record in AVCHD, while other brands might offer multiple format options, including MP4.
  • Quality and Medium: Higher-end camcorders tend to use formats like AVCHD for better quality, while consumer-level camcorders might use MP4 for its balance of quality and storage efficiency. The choice also depends on the storage medium; for instance, camcorders using DVDs might record in MPEG-2.
  • Intended Use: For users aiming to share videos quickly or with minimal editing, MP4 is a practical choice. In contrast, AVCHD suits those planning intensive post-production work.
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