Tips to Select the Right File Format for Videos

Tips to Select the Right File Format for Videos

Are you staring at a list of video formats and trying to figure out which one you should use to encode your video? If you aren’t that familiar with video formats you may not even know where to start.

While there are many ways that you can go about selecting the ‘right’ format – these tips should help make it a whole lot easier:

  • Decide how you want to use your video

The ‘right’ video format to choose will depend solely on how you want to use your video. In particular you should figure out whether your video will be watched on a specific device, uploaded to an online platform, or distributed to viewers using various devices and platforms.

If it will be watched on a specific device, you can choose the best format that the device supports – while if it is going to be distributed you may need a more widely compatible format. On the other hand if you upload your video to online platforms you should follow their recommendations, such as YouTube’s recommended settings.

  • Look at popular formats first

While there are a lot of formats out there and you may not even recognize some of them, it is generally best to look at popular formats first. Normally popular formats are popular for good reason – and so making them your starting point will help.

In particular you will want to look at formats such as MP4 with H.264, MKV with H.265, or MPEG-2 specifically for DVDs.

  • Find a codec with the best compression that you can use

Based on how you intend to use your video, you should try to select a codec that offers the best compression – while still being supported or compatible enough. That way you can reduce the video file size and make it as small as possible, without having to worry about facing any difficulty viewing it.

For example the H.265 codec can reduce the file size of H.264 videos by up to 50%, and if it is compatible with your needs you should try it out. Other newer codecs such as AV1 may offer further improvements in the near future as well.

As a rule it is always best to encode your video directly into the ‘right’ format. Admittedly you can convert (i.e. transcode) it later with the right software, and for example Movavi Video Converter will let you convert MOD to MP4, AVI to MKV, or any other formats.

Still it is best to avoid transcoding a video too many times as data will invariably be lost. In short, choosing the ‘right’ format from the time you encode the video initially will help you to make absolutely certain that its quality remains intact.

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