I make short movies with my Canon point and shoot camera then edit them in iMovie, MPEG Streamclip, or Quicktime Pro. I also have some VHS converted to .dv. These movies are mostly of my family. What is the best format to use to ensure that my movies can be played back in the future?
By the way, my Canon point and shoot records bloated videos in .avi, so I would prefer some compression.
Quality is not of supreme importance, especially since the video source of only passable quality, but playability is.
I was considering H.264 but don't know what file format to useľ.mov, .mp4, or .m4v. However I am open to other formats.
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dvd isn't going anywhere for a while. in twenty years it should still be playable in the next gen "red"-ray player. or purple or green or whatever it turns out to be. divx, mp4 maybe not.
MPEG2 will be king for a while yet. Nothing can compare to the quality of the video at the moment. H.264 has it's strengths, but it takes an age to encode video even on some of the better computers. I like DivX/XviD because of the wide variety of DivX DVD players and the smaller file sizes, but it's up to you to decide.http://www.pcpodcast.org (Website Under Construction)
Good advice in the other posts, when the original poster talks about not knowing "what file format to use", he really means what container to use. Those are containers and I would not recommend using the term "file format" to refer to them. While I guess from a certain standpoint this is not 100% wrong, such terminology is likely to simply confuse people and should be avoided.
.mov should be avoided because it's a proprietary format (QuickTime) and you will ALWAYS be at Apple's mercy for it. Yes, there are freeware tools, for now, that can deal with it, but in my opinion this is not a good long term choice. mp4 and m4v (technically that last one should probably be video only although I guess some idiots are using that term now for video+audio) are bad choices too. They've never really gained mass acceptance. MKV is really where you want to be going here. It's an open format and support for it is likely to grow given its popularity. You should always be able to get tools that can handle it, even in the future. My understanding is that the MP4 container has some limitations (serious ones too) that MKV does not, making MKV really a superior choice, which is why it's being used a lot now.
Blu-Ray can be MPEG-2 or VC-1 or H.264 but as I understand it most don't use MPEG-2 and use one of the other two but I'm curious ... which is more popluar? VC-1 or H.264 ???
My line of thinking here is that since Blu-Ray seems to be catching on then one would hope that both VC-1 and/or H.264 will be around for a while (knock on wood).
- John "FulciLives" Coleman
Originally Posted by FulciLives
HD-DVD had 15GB single layer capacity so was often forced to 2 layers when MPeg2 was used. So instead they most often used VC-1 for the additional compression benefit. H.264 was more slowly adopted since the standard was still in flux and home player decoders were fixed in early h.264 specification.
I myself am researching the H264 (avc) format (for various reasons) but from my perspective, it is not consistantly standardized yet -- not like MPEG-2 is. There are [s:17e525ac67]so many[/s:17e525ac67] too many *encoding* variations to get a standardized level of quality -- one day its this way and the next its that way. I mean, with MPEG-2 you have certain restricitions but the quality IMO was always within reason. I don't know. I think in the (MPEG) beginning there was a consortium that carefuly evaluated that standard back then and made good (IMHO) choices for the final encoding/quality standards. But with H264 it seems that is not as easy to consort decision-wise as with MPEG-2. But that is only my opinion and I could be wrong
One of the major problems (with me) in debugging and fine-tuning the h264 videos I make (for my new archival formats) is the fact that it is not as easily importable into a manageable timeline where I can step through each frame like I can with mpegs. So far I have failed to get a good import using the avenue of avisynth and directshowsource() though some users seem to have success in this. Might be a isolated-computer issue on my part. In any event, until something like dgavcdec can be upgraded to handle *all* types of h264 encoded videos (not just .ts or avc container/transport types) othwerise new-er tool surfaces, my work in this format is a stalled one at best and mpeg-2 is still my preferable finished format.
Yes I know the early Blu-Ray discs were MPEG-2 but I understand they pretty much stopped doing that in favor of either VC-1 or H.264 ... what I didn't know was which of the two were more popular. You seem to be saying that VC-1 is more popular than H.264
I wonder why H.264 seems to be the "choice" for home made stuff then ... like 1080p/720p rips you find on-line (all legal of course) whereas VC-1 encoding seems not as popular.
- John "FulciLives" Coleman
I'll agree with the others, DVD which is Mpeg2. It has the largets installed base of players. More homes have DVD players than any other video format except possibly VHS and I'm not suggesting that due to the low quality. Think about it what format video can you go buy or rent everywhere? DVDs. I have two supermarkets near me that have video rentals as well as Hollywood and Blockbuster.
I have a Philips Divx player but thats for other than archival purposes. For that I either author a DVD or record on DVD recorders. for longer term use.
When I buy a Movie Now it always comes in DVD, that should tell you something. You will use more discs with DVDs than MKV or Divx/Xvid. So what they are cheap and if you send a Divx to all the relatives will they be able to play it> Send a DVD and the answe is most likely they can play it.
Thanks for all of the replies!
I am 99% Apple which is why I am considering mp4 and H.264.
After converting some some test .avi files to mpeg-2 I was surprised with the conversion speed and quality. Both were much better than I expected. Conversion to mpeg-2 took roughly half the time as .mp4 with H.264. So considering the quality and the comments here I will go with mpeg-2 for my archiving.
The downside with mpeg-2 is my portable Apple devices won't place mpeg-2. But since I'm looking for long term compatibility I can overlook this.
By the way, I don't plan on utilizing DVD's for my archiving. They will be extinct in the long term. But more importantly I need the ability to backup the videos to my backup server, offsite hard drives, and online via JungleDisk.
Originally Posted by FulciLives
Meanwhile, H.264 was computer-cellphone-pda focused in early implementation with little attention paid to high end requirements. Since H.264 was driven from a computer-consumer-internet foundation, initial development focused on high compression distribution technology instead of lower compression highest quality distribution.
As for Blu-Ray, the initial idea was for VC-1 to be a higher compression substitute for MPeg2, while H.264 was to be the bridge to the consumer-computer world. In time VC-1 and H.264 would become competitive over the full range of applications.
Here is a long multi year thread on VC-1 vs. H.264 over at AVS Forum. Some of them know what they are talking about. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=883667&page=23
Technical Emmy for H.264/MPEG-4 AVC