Video compression is basically the act of taking a video file and making it smaller. Imagine all of the elements in a video file as layers. The audio, the colors, the resolution, the frame rate and all of these elements make that stack of layers taller. And when each element is of a higher quality — when the sound is crisper, when the number of colors reach into the millions, when the video’s resolution is HD or higher — that makes each layer that much taller.
Higher quality videos have much larger file sizes, of course, and traditionally this has compromised the speed those files can travel over the Internet. Many types of compression software, then, force anyone working with video to strike a compromise between delivery speed and video quality.
AllDigital Brevity, however, uses a lossless compression algorithm that allows the original data in a video file to be perfectly reconstructed later on. Thus, no loss of quality while still enjoying faster transfer speeds.
Who Uses This Kind of Software?
Anyone who produces, broadcasts or streams video needs to be aware of compression software, and likely needs to use it at some point in their workflow.
- For production companies, this could happen simply at the point of video capture. The company’s videographer could shoot footage on site somewhere and need to compress that video down for easy local storage on an SD card.
- For creative agencies, it might be necessary to compress video so the file can be ingested into cloud storage and sent over as a proof for client review.
- For major broadcasters, who have to handle thousands of hours of video every day from a variety of sources, video compression makes it possible for the company to do its job. It might broadcast video on its own network and also deliver it to syndication partners, for example.
To add a layer of complexity to each need above, consider that there are various formats for compressed video. Here are a few common examples:
- RAW – Historically due to large file sizes transmission of RAW files was limited to physical devices being shared via couriers or mail. Production professionals requested these files to guarantee that the full spectrum of colors and available capture meta data was present in the files. Cinema RAW output is a key feature that distinguishes prosumer equipment from professional options. Brevity can send these files in true RAW format using conventional Internet connection.
- DV, an older digital video compression scheme still used in a handful of HD camcorders.
- MPEG-2 — the format found on DVDs, HD DVD and Blu-ray — can be found as an acquisition format, an editing format and a delivery format.
- MPEG-4 is a newer format than MPEG-2 above and is frequently used by professionals in acquisition and delivery.
- MXF is an open standard that many companies use to exchange footage during the production and distribution process. It serves as an accepted format in industry standards programs like BMX as a highly desirable format. It works well across Linux, PC and Mac environments. It has been a staple of video professionals since almost the inception of non-linear editing.
- H.264 is a flexible format used in acquisition, editing and delivery. You’ll find this format on Blu-ray discs as well as on streaming video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo.
AllDigital’s Algorithms: Tech Specifications
Brevity itself leverages a patented GPU-based technology (graphical unit processors) that can make advanced calculations for compressing and delivering files at high speeds. This core of this technology has been validated by some of the most image-quality focused engineers in the industry.
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