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HELP NEEDED: Understanding codecs/compression

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May Bolton
HELP NEEDED: Understanding codecs/compression
on Feb 7, 2009 at 10:04:13 pm

Hi everyone,

I am in urgent need of some help in understanding codecs and video compression settings. I have an interview for a training scheme I've been shortlisted for in a few days time and I have to be a little more up to speed then I am now so I could do with some help from any experienced but patient and plain-speaking users!

To give you some idea of where my weak spots are: I've only ever compressed through trial and error for upload to youtube and shootingpeople by inputting optimum settings I've found online. I've also not often used software like Compressor or Sorenson and I need to learn now so any useful links to tutorials would be super.

More importantly: I've only ever found optimum settings online as determined by other users and I wouldn't know how to determine them for myself or even what they mean and how they effect video quality for web streaming and dvd burning etc, so the things I could really do with some help with are as follows:

Understanding settings:

Audio compression settings: bit rates (or data rates as it seems to be interchangeably called?),
sample sizes, sample rates, stereo and mono

Video compression settings: data rates, frame size, key frame rate, multi pass vs single pass.

Codecs and Containers:

I know what some codecs are for example H.264, FLV (Flash) etc.. and I know what containers are in THEORY, but I really need this to be explained a little better i.e. a list of codecs and their best, ideal uses i.e. web streaming, dvd burning and the appropriate containers etc..

Lastly, if I received video files in various formats that weren’t ideal for web streaming or editing in FCP, how would I know how to convert them into formats that are suitable? i.e. I get a video file in .avi format but I need to edit it in FCP, would I convert to a .mov file?

On a side note, what’s the difference is between a codec and a standard (not sure if it’s that important)..

Thanks so much for your help in advance and sorry for the questions that are probably all over the place, I’m very unfamiliar with all this.

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Daniel Low
Re: HELP NEEDED: Understanding codecs/compression
on Feb 8, 2009 at 5:09:45 pm

These should cover it:


Please post back saying what solved your problem. It could help others, and saying 'thanks' is free!

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