3 Important Facts About Converting Video Formats

Being able to convert video formats has become essential nowadays, especially if you’re managing lots of video files, using different types of devices, or sharing and distributing videos in any way. It is easier than ever to convert video formats as well nowadays, as there are many user-friendly video converters as well as online converters that can be used.

However before you start to convert your videos between different formats, there are a few important facts that you should be aware of:

Store the original video file in its original quality

As far as possible you should always store the original video file in its original quality. That is due to the fact that while it is possible to downscale the video or lower its bitrate to optimize it for certain devices, upscaling or increasing its bitrate won’t restore its original quality.

If the original video file is an uncompressed or lossless video file that is too large for you to store, you should consider compressing it once into a more accessible format with better compression (such as MP4 with H.264). While not ideal, you can at least store that copy in as close to the original quality as possible.

Of course if storage space isn’t an issue, keeping a lossless copy of the video file is ideal – and it is often what is done during professional video production.

Avoid transcoding a video file multiple times

Transcoding is basically when you convert a video format from one codec to a different codec. Because each codec uses different compression, some data from the original video will be discarded.

If you were to just transcode a video once that lost data won’t be that noticeable. However if you transcode the same video multiple times (e.g. from H.264 to H.265 to H.264 again, and so on), eventually the data that is lost will start to add up and affect the video quality.

That is why you should always try to avoid transcoding any video file multiple times. Additionally it is another reason why keeping the original video file is a good policy – since you can transcode different versions of the video directly from it and minimize the data loss.

Always check for hardware acceleration and not just software support

When you play a video in any format on any device, it needs to be decoded from the compressed video file before it can be displayed. That decoding can either be handled on a software level (i.e. software support) or can be offloaded to the hardware.

As a rule it is always best if the codec you use is supported by the hardware of the device it is going to be played on. Software decoding is not only processor intensive, but also consumes a lot of power – which can be an issue on devices with a limited battery life.

In contrast hardware decoding is more efficient and requires a fraction of the power, making it certainly the preferable option. The only downside is that it takes time for devices to have hardware support built-in.

Actually converting videos from one format to another is the easy part, especially with a user-friendly movie converter. For example you could try Movavi Video Converter if you need one with a wide range of supported formats.

Regardless of the converter that you use each of these facts will help you to convert videos more effectively while preserving their quality. On your part, all you need to do is make it a point to keep them in mind the next time you need to convert a video.

Featured image by Wahid Khene

Michael keeps himself busy by writing about design, arts, psychology, and how they intertwine. He grew up in a small town in Montana and now resides in Austin with his wife and dog, Bailey.