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Obtain the Highest Quality in Video Compression

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 2/22/2010

What is the highest quality you can achieve when compressing a video?

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    Quality and Video Compression

    Assuming you know the basics about video compression, this article will explain further about maintaining the highest quality possible when compressing video. For information about the basics behind digital video compression, read “What is Compression of Digital Video”. Also, read “Effects of Video Compression” to get a better understanding of the results from compressing when using different codecs and bit rates.

    Export codecs are now included in the latest authoring software programs . When compressing a video into a compressed file (MOV, WMV, MPEG, etc.) you must first consider the outlet; compressing a video to a DVD versus an online streaming video will require different codec considerations. In addition; both outlets will of course require you to compress the video at different maximum bit rates or qualities. For better understanding about video formats, click here.

    To achieve the highest quality possible, you may first try to compress the video as little as possible.

    Video codecs can compress your video as little as possible, or not at all. (less compression = higher quality = larger files) Therefore, storage space should be considered since lossless compression (or no compression) results in rather large files. Statistical data redundancy is also another technique video formats use to achieve high quality video during compression. In data redundancy, the data of a static subject in a single frame, is stored and reused in subsequent frames instead of the entire data repeating itself in each given frame, which would otherwise create a much larger file than necessary.

    If your storage space is your main concern and you’re aiming for the highest quality possible, you will need to consider the tradeoffs: limited space, quality of video, and hardware to decompress your video. Obviously, if your storage space is limited you won’t be able to achieve the highest quality possible by using the highest bit rate the codec is capable of; therefore, to get the best quality you’ll need to experiment with trial and error. For instance, compress the video as much as you can before you notice a loss of quality. Try different formats. Keep in mind some videos will look better compressed into smaller files than others.

    Increasing the variable bit rate helps to make shots with plenty of detail, movement, and/or frames with more pixel change, higher in quality; otherwise the detail and quality would be lost during compression Try compressing with the different bit rates to get the highest quality possible.

    For compressing video for the web (unless your video is uploaded as a download), lossy compression is the best consideration since it produces a much smaller file size, thus less data. Keep in mind, that the compressed video can lose a relatively large portion of data before it is actually noticeable to the human eye. So, it is still possible to maintain high-quality when compressing video for the web.

    Are you shopping for compression software? First consider reading Software to Compress Files.