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The most common formats and codecs

From: Premiere Pro CS5 Essential Training

Video: The most common formats and codecs

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.

The most common formats and codecs

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Premiere Pro CS5 Essential Training
Premiere Pro CS5 Essential Training

83 video lessons · 50880 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 4m 1s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. What is Premiere Pro CS5?
      1m 41s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 25s
  2. 16m 44s
    1. The Premiere Pro workflow
      2m 21s
    2. Adding footage to the Timeline
      2m 19s
    3. Understanding timecode
      3m 3s
    4. Making basic edits
      5m 15s
    5. Getting familiar with the interface
      3m 46s
  3. 21m 59s
    1. Setting up a new project
      3m 48s
    2. Creating a new sequence
      5m 30s
    3. Capturing and ingesting footage
      2m 51s
    4. Importing files
      5m 23s
    5. Sorting and organizing clips
      4m 27s
  4. 33m 19s
    1. Making a rough cut
      4m 0s
    2. Making preliminary edits
      4m 55s
    3. Creating overlay and insert edits
      4m 16s
    4. Using video layers to add B-roll
      3m 47s
    5. Using ripple edits and ripple delete
      3m 1s
    6. Performing slip edits
      2m 54s
    7. Using the Razor tool
      3m 51s
    8. Moving edit points
      3m 47s
    9. Navigating efficiently in the Timeline
      2m 48s
  5. 28m 45s
    1. The job of an editor
      2m 59s
    2. When to cut
      5m 54s
    3. Avoiding bad edits
      6m 31s
    4. The pacing of edits
      3m 47s
    5. Using establishing shots
      2m 44s
    6. Using emotional cutaways
      2m 1s
    7. Fixing problems with cutaways
      2m 48s
    8. Matching action
      2m 1s
  6. 21m 38s
    1. Using markers
      3m 31s
    2. Replacing clips
      2m 36s
    3. Exporting a still frame
      1m 51s
    4. Creating alternate cuts
      1m 25s
    5. Rearranging clips in the Timeline
      2m 15s
    6. Targeting tracks
      2m 32s
    7. Disconnecting audio and video
      5m 0s
    8. Reconnecting offline media
      2m 28s
  7. 9m 46s
    1. Adjusting the rubber band
      3m 13s
    2. Adjusting clip position
      1m 21s
    3. Moving the anchor point
      2m 50s
    4. Adjusting clip size and rotation
      2m 22s
  8. 8m 15s
    1. Changing the speed of a clip
      1m 58s
    2. Using the Rate Stretch tool
      1m 57s
    3. Playing a clip backward
      4m 20s
  9. 10m 26s
    1. Understanding pixel aspect ratio
      5m 15s
    2. Understanding frame rates
      2m 15s
    3. About HD standards
      2m 56s
  10. 10m 32s
    1. Using layered Photoshop files
      2m 31s
    2. Animating clip position
      3m 33s
    3. Fading layers in and out
      4m 28s
  11. 12m 40s
    1. Applying transitions
      6m 2s
    2. Using transitions effectively
      4m 41s
    3. Setting up the default transition
      1m 57s
  12. 38m 31s
    1. The importance of ambient audio
      6m 35s
    2. Cutting video to music
      7m 38s
    3. Changing audio volume over time
      9m 55s
    4. Fixing audio problems
      9m 57s
    5. Censoring audio
      4m 26s
  13. 16m 25s
    1. Creating censored video
      5m 22s
    2. Creating a lens flare
      2m 20s
    3. Creating a logo bug
      3m 27s
    4. Creating background textures
      5m 16s
  14. 13m 23s
    1. Intro to compositing
      1m 11s
    2. Removing a green screen background
      9m 14s
    3. Compositing with blend modes
      2m 58s
  15. 22m 37s
    1. Adjusting white balance
      2m 24s
    2. Increasing contrast
      3m 5s
    3. Adjusting luminance
      4m 30s
    4. Creating cinematic color
      5m 21s
    5. Creating a vignette
      3m 12s
    6. Creating a day-for-night shot
      4m 5s
  16. 16m 5s
    1. Creating titles
      4m 55s
    2. Creating a lower third
      9m 12s
    3. Animating rolling credits
      1m 58s
  17. 14m 13s
    1. Exporting sequences from Premiere
      3m 57s
    2. Exporting with the Adobe Media Encoder
      2m 13s
    3. The most common formats and codecs
      4m 42s
    4. Exporting portions of a sequence
      1m 54s
    5. Rendering letterboxed footage
      1m 27s
  18. 6m 46s
    1. Examining the other apps that come with Premiere
      4m 25s
    2. Working with Final Cut Pro
      2m 21s
  19. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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