Video Codecs Demystified - An Infographic

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by northernmunky, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. northernmunky, Nov 5, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

    northernmunky macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    London, Taipei
    #1
    I'm currently working on an infographic in an attempt to demystify ad simplify the confusing world of codecs. I work for a TV station, and I run the department responsible for assets and format cross conversions.

    I want to bring my info graphic to the masses to see if anyone with similar or greater knowledge or more knowledge than me makes sense of this and can give suggestions for improvement.

    I'm well aware that I have left some things out and have deliberately missed out some information, generally for the efforts of preventing confusion. I'm aiming this at people who have only scratched the surface of codec/wrapper land.

    Please also note that this is aimed entirely at my specific post production facility the PAL international market using Final Cut Pro, so North America should ignore any mention of frame rates.

    Looking forward to hearing what fellow editors/engineers think.

    Cheers!

    http://macguyscreencasts.com/jamesfanthorpe/FinalCutProCodec%20InfographicPDF.pdf

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #2
    Few things I noticed:

    • MP4 is missing from list of containers.

    • Most of the listed editing codecs are neither based on MPEG-2 nor are Long-GOP.

      The following are intraframe:
      DV
      DVCam
      DVCPro
      DVCProHD
      MPEG IMX
      ProRes
      Avid DNxHD

      MXF shouldn't be on the list.

    • Typos:
      H.254
      1980x1080
      XDCam 422 Timebase?
     
  3. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #3
    This may be a matter of style, but I don't think that's a good font for an infographic. Too copperplatey. You want something a little more "standard" looking or easier on the eyes, since you're not trying to be edgy, just plain informative.
     
  4. northernmunky thread starter macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

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    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    London, Taipei
    #5
    Thanks so far, have made a few alterations.. will repost later.
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    You are misrepresenting at least some of your links. I have personally never heard of a problem with MPEGStreamclip. You have posted links to outside forums which deal with DVD RIPping and file conversion. Contrary to your assertion, the posts from people who know what they are doing recommend MPEGStreamclip.
     
  6. AppLCII macrumors member

    AppLCII

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    #7
    Keep this going. This could be a very useful tool when finished. Right now it's still a bit confusing. Think about having 1 or 2 pages in landscape orientation just to get the point across better.
     
  7. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 6, 2011
    #8
    ... and, please, change the font. It's a pain to read.

    Great job though.
     
  8. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #9
    I have some issues with it when I get AVIs on my desk. The synch is, for whatever reason, in 99% of all cases 7 frames off. Knowing this, I can work around this.
    However, I still recommend MPEG Streamclip as the best invention since sliced cheese.
     
  9. northernmunky thread starter macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    London, Taipei
    #10
    Agreed, I use MPEGstreamclip every day in our broadcast environment, it's the only tool we use and I have been using it longer than I can remember and have never had a problem with it.

    One of our biggest uses for it is that in our programmes we use a lot of clips that have come from hundreds of various different sources (usually youtube rips) and our producers want to use them in edit. To make it easy for our staff, we convert them all to ProRes/25fps to prevent sync issues.

    I can imagine the NTSC people having some issues with a 29.97fps framerate, could that be part of the reason? We sometimes receive programmes in 29.97 from the states which we cross-convert to PAL. Occasionally we encounter sync issues which we correct by changing the speed of the audio track.
     
  10. mBox macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    #11
    Finally!

    Finally something positive to read in MacRumors ;)
    Good job keep it up.
    Its helpful and I when its done, were all going to benefit from your work :)
     
  11. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #12
    I hate to be negative...
    I found it confusing. I'm very much an up-down, left-right kind of guy and I wasn't sure what to follow. To me it seems part infographic, part flowchart and I didn't feel I was being taken from A to B to C and so on.

    For me, I'd like to start at "Capture" (i.e. in-camera capture codec) move to "Editing" and then "Delivery". And no sideways text. And "CoDecs" is plural, not possessive.
     
  12. careypo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #13
    You are lucky. If your DVD has a bad spot on it, MPEGStreamclip will hang. Most people have audio sync problems with MPEGStreamclip when they set in and out points on a DVD. In order to achieve audio sync, MPEGStreamclip frequently drops frames. That may be why you've never seen the audio sync problems.
     
  13. northernmunky thread starter macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

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    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    London, Taipei
    #14
    Thanks, but it's not meant to take people through the post production process, I purely want to make people understand that taking your Flip Camera footage or youtube rips, dropping them onto an FCP timeline and expect to be able to edit it properly without doing some form of transcode, doesn't work.

    I don't want to include too much information that will create the very confusion I'm trying to eliminate. I need to be as simplified as possible.
     
  14. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #15
    Do you mean to say "People who have audio sync problems with MPEG Streamclip mostly have them when setting in and out points on a DVD"? If you mean what you wrote I'd like to see some substantial evidence to back it up.

    Do you mean that where MPEG Streamclip trims to is not the exact frame you marked as the in point? That's not what most people think of as "dropped frames", and in the Preferences there's a checkbox 'Preserve GOPs at In/Out'.

    MPEG Streamclip isn't perfect, but you seem ceaseless in giving it a hard time.
     
  15. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    Yeah, I didn't really get that from it either, but it could just be me.:confused:
     
  16. jtara macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #17
    Oh, I got that RIGHT AWAY. Just from the complexity of the infographic.

    That's not a dig at the infographic. It's the reality of the situation.

    It does effectively get across the idea that "it's complicated". ;)
     
  17. northernmunky thread starter macrumors 6502a

    northernmunky

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    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    London, Taipei
  18. rhkamra macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, California
    #19
    Very nice! I would love to hand this out to the university students in the film department I support, but we are NTSC.
     
  19. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #21
    Few things I noticed:
    • MP4 is missing from list of containers.

    • Most of the listed editing codecs are neither based on MPEG-2 nor are Long-GOP.

      The following are intraframe:
      DV
      DVCam
      DVCPro
      DVCProHD
      MPEG IMX
      ProRes
      Avid DNxHD

      MXF shouldn't be on the list.

    • Typos:
      XDCam 422 Timebase?
     
  20. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #22
    I totally love the idea of the chart and am glad to see one...but don't you think the bold is a little bit obvious? I mean I think we all have tried this only to see how disastrous it is on our CPU and RAM not to mention how frustratingly slow it is (though I'm referring to FCP X which has background rendering).
     
  21. smokescreen76 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #23
    Very nice. We have things like this all over the walls in our machine room. We also have spreadsheets pinned to the walls for things like transcode times, file sizes for different codecs and how long it takes to transfer files over different connections (And no, I'm not sharing... except in exchange for money or favours).

    I would mention that BluRay can be Mpeg2 as well as h.264. In fact I prefer Mpeg2 over h.264 as it is less compressed - I only use h.264 for discs with a duration of over 1 hour.

    It's interesting to see your reliance on HDV and XDCAM. In my opinion they are the work of the devil and are not allowed near a timeline. I would prefer to spend hours transcoding than use either of these formats on one of my machines (I've had bad experiences in the past).
     
  22. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 6, 2011
    #24
    Smokescreen, then you never have worked "natively" with AVCHD :D
     
  23. Da Citizen macrumors newbie

    Da Citizen

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    #25
    Very good idea, to mirror workflow.

    +1 from me.

    Im new to FCP and will be editing HD video from a variety of sources (inc .m2ts files, didnt see those in there, did i?)
     

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