If you’re in a situation where you are encoding or converting a video and need to select a format to use, it is only natural to wonder which one is the best. In fact, you may have even tried to look it up, only to find that it isn’t as clear-cut as you hoped.
The fact of the matter is that you will need to choose the best video format based on how the video is going to be used, which in most cases is in one of the following ways:
Upload to online streaming platforms or social media
If you’re going to upload the video to an online platform it is best to follow the recommended video format of the platform. Each platform will have their own set of guidelines, such as the YouTube guidelines found here.
By following the guidelines you’ll be less likely to encounter any difficulty when uploading the video, and the video quality should remain intact. For the moment most online platforms recommend the use of MP4 with H.264.
Distribute the video to watch on various devices and platforms
Assuming you want your video to be able to be watched on most devices and platforms without any issues – you should choose a format that is widely supported. As things stand the best in that regard is MP4 with H.264, and most devices can support and play it easily.
Compress the video to a smaller file size
Nowadays there are new video formats that have far better compression, and you can use them to reduce the file size of your video without affecting its quality significantly. However newer formats are not as widely-supported, so you will need to check that the device you want it to be viewed on supports the format you intend to use.
If you do want to compress your video you should consider using the H.265 (HEVC) codec, and it can reduce the file size of H.264 videos by up to 50%.
Burn a video DVD
Most DVD players generally only support videos that are encoded in MPEG-2, so that is the format that you should use if you want to burn a video DVD. That being said if you have a new DVD player that supports other formats (such as MP4 with H.264) and you only want the DVD to be played on it, you could weigh your options.
As you can see in many situations MP4 with H.264 is the ‘best’ format to use right now, and it is a good choice in general. It is easy to convert your videos to it, and for example, you can convert MOV to MP4 online using Online Video Converter.
In the time it is likely that some of the formats mentioned above will be supplanted by newer formats that offer better compression and efficiency. It helps to stay abreast as new formats are released so that you can plan ahead if necessary and know when they replace older formats.