What is a good format to encode your videos or convert them to? That is a fairly common question, but, unfortunately, there is no single format that is clearly the ‘best’.
Instead if you want to know a good format for your videos, you need to identify it based on how you want your videos to be used:
Distribution and compatibility
If you’re going to be distributing your video or there is a high chance that it will be viewed on a wide range of devices and platforms – compatibility should be your main goal. The idea should be to select a format that is supported by most devices.
For now the go-to option is generally MP4 with H.264. In time other prominent codecs (e.g. H.265) may replace it however.
Storage or to view on specific devices
As far as storing videos are concerned or watching them on specific devices, you should find a compatible format that has the best compression possible. The video codec is what determines the compression in the format uses, and newer codecs have better compression rates.
For example, if your devices support H.265 then encoding videos, the use of it could reduce the video file size by up to 50% compared to H.264. In time other new codecs may offer even better compression rates than H.265 in turn.
Publish or upload to online platforms
Often videos nowadays are uploaded to online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and so on. If that is your video’s destination, it is always best to follow the recommended video format and settings of the platform you intend to upload the video to – such as YouTube’s recommendations.
Although most platforms nowadays technically support a wide range of formats, in most cases if you upload videos in other formats, the video will be transcoded to the recommended format. Generally this isn’t ideal and can affect the video quality, which is why it is best if you encode it in the recommended format to begin with.
See how you can identify the ‘right’ format for your videos based on how you intend to use it? Once you’ve figured out which format you want to use you can encode or convert it accordingly. For example you could use Movavi Video Converter for Mac (http://www.movavi.com/videoconvertermac/) if you need to switch video formats.
By choosing a good video format based on how you want to use your video, you should be able to avoid having to keep converting it along the line. That being said it is always a good idea to store the original video as well, so that you have a copy that hasn’t been transcoded at any point.