A Guide to Video File Formats

Identifying and converting digital video file formats could be confusing and frustrating because of the massive quantity of file types used in the sector as well as the strange names utilized to recognize them. Right here is an easy-to-use guide that will help you deal with the 40 or so kinds of formats that today’s digital videos could be saved in.

It really is not extensively known, but digital video files in fact have two layers. The outer layer is known as the container. The container can also be referred to as a “wrapper,” since it wraps collectively all of the diverse subfiles that work with each other as a video. The inner layer of subfiles is known as the codec. Codecs normally consist of a video file plus an audio file. When you play back the video on your computer, personal music player, mobile phone, or DVD player, the codec files function together inside the container to offer you a seamless viewing knowledge.

The names of the five most typical container formats are possibly familiar to you. They’re AVI, MPEG-4, ASF (which can be truly WMV), Flash, QuickTime, and 3GPP. There are many much more obscure container sorts, but a lot of the time you’ll be dealing with among the “Big 5.”

Website – Generally, you only have to know what form of container file your video is stored in to let you know no matter whether you can play it in your playback device. Occasionally, even so, one of the codec files inside the container will likely be written in a format that your player software does not recognize. When this takes place, your playback device will reject the video file even though it truly is supposed to play that sort of file. In the event you run into this difficulty a lot, your best bet is usually to purchase video converter software that supports the highest variety of container and codec varieties it is possible to locate, and use it to convert the files into a format that your player recognizes.

Right here is really a appear at the “Big 5” container formats and their pros and cons:

* AVI – These files possess the.avi extension. AVI is really a really widespread format in video cameras, particularly low-cost models like the Flip. AVI functions acceptably properly for playing back on a private computer since it is widely employed, so most playback applications help it. AVI’s largest troubles are needing a large file size to keep quality, and wild variations within the codec formats inside the AVI container. It really is extremely widespread to get a player to reject an AVI file, despite the fact that it is supposed to play AVI files, due to the fact certainly one of the codec files inside the AVI container is written inside a code that the player does not recognize.

* MPEG-4 – These files have the.mpg or.mp4 extension. There are various kinds of MPEG files, but MPEG-4 may be the most typical. MPEG-4 may be the ideal format for playing back files on a personal laptop simply because it’s such a widespread format and is supported by practically all playback software program programs. Although the quality is similar to that of AVI, the file size is considerably smaller sized than an AVI file. Codec problems are should significantly less widespread in MPEG files than AVI files. MPEG may be the closest point to a universal video format on the market today.

* ASF (WMV) – ASF files possess the.wmv extension, and are more frequently known as WMV files, although WMV is really a codec name, not a container name. WMV stands for Windows Media Video and is really a proprietary file format owned by Microsoft. This indicates you’ll either need to have Windows Media Player installed in your laptop, or you will need to convert the WMV file into a format that your player recognizes. Windows Media Player is offered for Windows or Mac cost-free of charge. ASF/WMV files are appropriate for pc playback or for uploading for the net.

* Flash – These files possess the.flv extension and are used practically exclusively for uploading to the net. If you have ever watched a YouTube video, you have observed Flash video in action. The file size is tiny, it streams more than the internet into your browser rapidly, and the high quality is normally poor. The playback computer software for Flash is actually a proprietary system by Adobe that comes pre-installed on most browsers like Web Explorer and Firefox. Codec troubles can happen with Flash, however they are usually easy to repair by updating your browser to the latest version.

* QuickTime – These files have the.mov extension. They call for the proprietary QuickTime player software program developed by Apple, which is accessible for each Mac and Windows cost-free of charge. The MPEG-4 container is really a non-proprietary version of the QuickTime container, so if a codec operates in MPEG-4, it typically will work in QuickTime as well. QuickTime can be a practically trouble-free video format that operates well for playback in your laptop or streaming over the internet.

* 3GPP – These files have the.3gp extension and are formatted exclusively for playback on a handheld device like a mobile phone, smart phone, or individual desk assistant. 3GPP operates wonderful when recorded on a handheld device after which played back. The video good quality will vary depending on the good quality in the device that recorded it, and may range from poor to superb, similar for the differences in photographs taken with cell phone cameras. QuickTime will play back 3GPP files on a personal computer, but quite few other player programs will deal with 3GPP files. Conversion computer software is normally required to transfer videos amongst a personal computer along with a handheld device inside a playable format.