Do you know which top 5 video formats you should use to stay on the top of the game?
Video is the mainstream media of the future! As technology evolves, the usage of videos grows, as well as the amount of video content created and shared. Video marketing is more prevalent and more important than ever before. For many industries, video content is critical for advertising and user engagement purposes. Video trends are also constantly changing.
In this article, find out – what each of these five video formats has to offer, and which is the best video format for your needs.
What is a video format?
Whether you are playing, editing, sharing, or archiving videos, you will encounter a variety of video formats. A video file has more parts than you would imagine: video, audio, metadata, subtitles, codecs.
A video file format is a specific type of file format that contains all the important information about a video. As mentioned, it contains a huge amount of information that needs to be stored, and processed. Data storage, transmission, and processing are solved by various algorithms which perform digital video compression.
Video files consist of two parts: a container and a codec. Once you understand the difference between them, you will see why some video files are different/better than others. A video file with a default extension is a type of container.
Defining Containers and Codecs
The container determines which types of data can be kept in the file. It also determines how is that data arranged within the file. It contains a video codec, an audio codec, and subtitles. Having all three important components of video in the same file makes transfer and playback much easier.
Video codec is an algorithm for compression (encoding) and decompression (decoding). The codec’s purpose is to reduce the file size of videos. They encode information for storage or transmission, and decode it for playback. The container files can support multiple codecs. It is also possible to combine different codecs. For example, if it suits you, you can go for a high-quality video codec but use medium-quality audio.
The Top 5 Video Formats You Should Use
MP4, a shortened name for MPEG-4 Part 14, is a digital multimedia format. This is one of the most common types of video format since it is universally compatible with the majority of devices, video players, websites, and multimedia software.
The MP4 format is perfect for any type of video recording. It can store all kinds of data, from digital audio, and video to still images and subtitles. It is important to note that .mp4 is not the only extension for this file format (.m4a stands for the audio-only file in MP4, while .m4v stands for the DRM video in MP4).
It supports many modern codecs, but the main codecs used with MP4 are H.264 and H.265. It has a high degree of compression. Compared to other file formats, it produces smaller size files. The ability to significantly reduce file size makes MP4 easy to use and share.
- High-degree compression rate with lossless quality files.
- Capable of storing different data types (video, audio, still images).
- The format is capable of streaming over the internet.
- Independent storage for videos and audio files.
- Compatible with most devices, players, and online platforms.
- Editing this video format is not as easy.
- Many piracy issues are associated with this format.
- Lossy compression degrades video quality to some extent.
#2. MOV (QuickTime File Format)
The MOV, also known as QuickTime File Format, is a proprietary format. It is developed by Apple and is well-known for its high compression ratio and high definition. This video format has taken a high place on our list because it is quite similar to MP4. It can contain video, subtitles, and audio in a single file.
Although originally created for QuickTime Player on macOS, nowadays it is also accessible to Windows. Commonly used codecs include MPEG-4, H.264/AVC, and H.265/HEVC.
- Contains separate tracks for different data (video, audio, text, effects, and metadata).
- Web-friendly (it offers high-definition videos at a small file size).
- It is a standard for professional video editing.
- It works well with other video formats.
- High quality to play and save 1080p, 4K, 8k videos.
- The compression of this video file format can cause a loss of data.
- Low acceptance on actual devices (you need a MOV-friendly player or QuickTime plugin to access this file type).
- Takes significant memory on your hard drive.
WMV or Windows Media Video files are a type of compressed video file format developed by Microsoft in 1999. This is one of the most popular video formats, especially with Windows users.
This video file format consists of 3 codecs – WMV for video, WMV Screen, and WMV Image for specialized content. The format can contain high-quality videos that are compressed to reduce file size. It can be used for online video streaming, and sharing of video content (HD DVD, Blu-ray Discs).
A WMV file uses the Advanced Systems Format (ASF) container format to encapsulate the encoded multimedia content.
- WMV files are usually quite small considering the amount of video data they retain.
- Compatible with most Windows media players.
- Runs on Microsoft-supported operating systems and devices.
- Due to its small size, WMV is ideal for sharing videos, streaming, and storage.
- It loses image quality during and after compression.
- Some video players do not accept the WMV format (it is hard to find Apple or Linux players that can play WMV files).
WebM is an open, audiovisual media file format for the web. These file formats are intended for royalty-free use in HTML5 videos based on the Matroska file container. This is a relatively new format whose development is sponsored by Google. The corresponding software is distributed under a BSD license.
WebM videos can be embedded into a website by using an HTML5 video tag and playback without plugins. Modern web browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, and Apple Safari) support WebM videos. WebM defines the container structure. It also defines how the video and audio are encoded.
- An open-source video format. 100% free and can be used without charge.
- WEBM comes with a small video file size.
- Offers users a fast loading time when used on the web.
- It is a great option for sending videos to a large number of people.
- Produce higher quality videos and better playback performances.
- Huge future potential for online use.
- WEBM format requires HTML to play it.
- It cannot be played on a broad array of portable devices.
#5. MKV (Matroska Multimedia Container)
The MKV is a free and open standard for the storage of video data. It is a popular container format that can hold multiple encoded images, audio, and subtitles of various formats in one media file. Therefore, it is a convenient way to store movies, entire TV series, etc. It is similar to many other container formats like MP4 or AVI.
Apart from .mkv extension, there are also .mka for audio-only files, .mks for subtitles only, and .mk3d for stereoscopic video.
- Free and open-source.
- Supports any combination of video and audio codecs.
- Hold infinite tracks of video, audio, images, and subtitles.
- High-quality video files with a vast range of applications.
- Not accepted by most video editors.
- The low level of compression.
For videos to be processed and used on different platforms, devices, and operating systems, often it is necessary to convert them from one format to another.
If you have to convert any video format to a different one, use the online video converter tools.
Online video conversion is fast, safe and convenient solution.
In case you have uploaded videos to your website, there is no need to download, convert, and re-upload them. This online tool lets you convert videos directly from a URL. You do not need to install any additional software to your computer or another app on your phone.
Simply use the website to get your videos converted. As long as you have a working internet connection, you can do it from anywhere!