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One of the questions I get most from people that are new to Premiere and new to video in general is, 'What format should I use?' and oh how I wish that there were a very simple answer to that question. Unfortunately, there is not. I am going to again go to File > Export > Media, and let's talk about this a little bit. We know that there different formats, let's say QuickTime or H.264, MPEG-4, MPEG-2. These are different video formats, and if you're on PC, you might have Windows media, like AVI or WMV. But what matters most with almost all of these formats is the Video Codec.
Codec is short for Compressor Decompressor. So basically it's a way that Premiere will crunch your video down, and it'll compress it, squash it down. It'll lose a little bit quality, but it will also reduce the file size greatly. Now the reason why it refers to compression and decompression is that the same way that you compress the video here in Premiere now, whoever watches your video, has to decompress it in the same way. And if the codec, not the format, that makes the biggest difference in the way that your video turns out and how big it is.
Now if you click the Video Codec here for QuickTime, we have tons of codec. Now you might not have all of these, because I have some extra programs installed giving me some extra codecs here, but basically there are a few familiar codecs that we use. Animation is a good codec that's very, very high quality. However, it will result in really large file sizes. If you are going to output something to the web, to let's say YouTube or some other video sharing site, Vimeo or whatever, I would really, really recommend you go to that website and look at their rules, They will tell you the best way to compress your videos.
both format and codec, and follow their rules and that will produce the best results. One of the darlings of the video compression world right now is H.264. Most of the videos that I use in the training series have been compressed using H.264. It's a little confusing, but H.264 is a video codec, it's a way to compress video, but it's also a format. So either way, you could use H.264 for a video, also referred to as H.264, and that compresses video a lot and still maintains really good file quality.
As you could tell here, you could also use H.264 for Blu-ray, which is the high-definition disc format out now. When outputting to DVD, you need to use MPEG-2. But when Blu-ray came along, it uses MPEG-2 and H.264. So H.264 is used in really high-quality, home-theater situations with Blu-ray. It's also used on iPhones and iPods and cell phones and the web and all kinds of smaller formats as well. So, unfortunately, the bad news is that there is no silver bullet, and that's why I like to use image sequences a lot of times, because a lot of times when you send somebody a movie with a certain, let's say I'll send the QuickTime with a certain video codec maybe photo JPEG or something like that, I might send them that video with this codec, and they might not be able to open it.
If I send this to my grandma, she's probably not going to be able to watch that video on her computer. But if I send an image sequence, then most people on most computers can open this with a video editing program, assuming that that's what I'm sending them to watch. My grandma also would not be to open up a TIFF sequence or a Targa sequence on her computer. Another cool thing about exporting an image sequence is that they can be broken up into batches. If I had a really, really high quality video, it might be 10, 15, 20 GB in size, and that's kind of tough to move around it. I can't put it on a DVD.
But if I had a series of images, those series of images might add up to 20 GB but individually, they are not going to be 20 GB. So I could break them up and do a little bits and pieces, burning them onto DVD, and then whoever I'm sending the video to on those multiple DVDs can then assemble those image sequences in Premiere, or whatever video editing program you're using. It's actually quite easy. You just select the first video of the sequence, Premiere will recognize it as a sequence and it'll import basically as a movie file. I should also point out if you want to use FLV, F4V, this is Flash video, FLV is a little but more common F4V is newer and so it's less compatible but is a more optimal compression method resulting in better quality video at lower file sizes.
Now if you've been working in a certain format and you want to maintain that format, you could just simply choose Match Sequence Settings, and you'll lose all power to control the format presets, all that kind of stuff, but it's already done for you based on the settings of your initial sequence. So again, I apologize that there is no magic formula in video. It's based on like what the client needs are and where things are going, and even then, it can vary and change depending on the situation and what's going on. But the rules and ideas that we discussed here will hopefully get you what you need to get on your way.
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