If you are editing and uploading a video to Youtube or Vimeo, one question you will surely meet is that, which best video format should you choose to export? There are a huge amount of video formats and choosing the right one for your project can really be frustrating. Today we’ve put together some information to help you understand the following questions:
There are truly a lot of formats used in saving video and this can be quite confusing on your part. Other formats are known to be optimal for capturing the videos while others are used for editing workflow. Apart from it, there are also video formats that are utilized in the distribution and delivery of video.
In this article, you will learn more about what video formats is, various video file format types and how to choose the best video format based on your needs.
Wondershare Filmora is an easy-to-use and powerful video editor which allows you to import and export video files in almost all formats, such like MKV, MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, MPEG, GIF, etc. What's more, it allows you to burn your video files into DVD or transfer them directly into your mobile phone. You can also upload the edited video to social media platform such as YouTube, Vimeo etc.
Please check this video to know more about Wondershare Filmora:
Video file formats refer to the type of file format that storing digital video data on a computer. Just as you’re dealing with a video, it is best to understand that a huge amount of data will be required in depicting a video signal. The information will be compressed and will also be written into a file.
Normally, a video file in digital format consists of two parts, a codec, and a container. A codec will compress the video so it can be played and stored. The most common codec is , which is usually used in HD videos. A container is like a box which contains the video, audio, and metadata. In most case, people regard it as a file extension because it is often recognized in file names, such as AVI, MOV, MP4, or 3GP.
Part 2: 8 different types of video formats you should know
The following is a full explanation of the different types of video formats that are found online:
1. FLV [Flash Video Format]
Due to the availability of cross-platform of Flash video players, this format has even become more popular. In fact, the flash videos can be played in different Flash movies files. These are entirely supported by each browser on each platform. The best thing about these flash videos is that they support both streaming and progressive downloads. FLV video format is encoded by Adobe Flash software which can be played via Adobe Flash Player, web browser plugins and some third party programs.
However, Apple’s iOS devices and many other mobile devices, do not support the Flash Player plugin.
2. AVI [Audio Video Interleave]
AVI format is created by Microsoft and it is one of the oldest video format. This format effectively stores data to be encoded in different codec’s, which also contains both video and audio data. In this format, you will notice that it utilizes less compression as compared to other similar formats. Though it is developed by Microsoft, the AVI files can be run on different operation systems such as Windows, Macintosh and Linux.
Besides, this format can be encoded in different codecs and it is supported by most popular web browsers. It is also one of the famous formats used by internet users.
3. MP4 Format [Moving Pictures Expert Group 4]
MP4 is an abbreviation term of MPEG-4 Part 14, which is developed by Motion Pictures Expert Group. It is used in storing visual and audio streams online. It mainly utilizes a separate compression intended for video and audio tracks. The video format will be compressed using the MPEG-4 video encoding. MP4 format is getting more popular than FLV for online video sharing, since it is compatible with both mobile and online browsers and supported by the new HTML 5 technology.
What’s more, the videos size of MP4 format is relatively smaller and the video quality will remain high even you compress it.
4. WMV [Windows Media Video]
WMV is developed by Microsoft for web streaming at first to against RealVideo format. It is the smallest video file on the web because the video size will be reduced after compression by sacrificing the video quality. However, the WMV video format can be used in email system (maybe the only video format).
Since it is developed by Microsoft, you can play the WMV format video with the Windows Media Player, but you can also play it on Macintosh computer by downloading WMV players.
5. MOV [Apple Quicktime Format]
This video format is developed by Apple, which is a popular video format for Macintosh users to share and view videos. This is likewise used for saving video and movie files on the internet. This also contains a single or multiple tracks that store audio, text, video and effects.
Though it is developed by Apple, .MOV can also be made compatible with Windows Platform since there is a free version of QuickTime Player available for Windows. While high quality MOV video will have bigger file size.
6. MPG Format
Standardized by the famous MPEG, this video format is used to create downloadable movies.
7. 3GP File Extension
This 3GP format is designed for transmitting video and audio files between the internet and 3G cell phones.
8. RealVideo Format
This mainly serves its purpose of streaming videos at low bandwidths.
Part 3: How to choose the Best Video Formats Based on Your Need
You may already be researching over the web and asking your friends about it. Good thing, below is some information that you would ever want to consider.
1. Best video format for social media
It is important for you to choose MP4, FLV, MOV or AVI as your sharing format. This is actually best for online video platforms, specifically YouTube. If you also want, you can make use of MPEG or WMV and SWF.
If you are uploading to video to Facebook or Instagram or the newly launched Instagram IGTV, and curious about the preferred best video formats for each social platform, below is the brief summary table.
Preferred Video Format
Video size limit
MOV or MP4
30fps or below
40fps or below
30fps or below
650MB/3.6GB (large/verified accounts)
Most video formats are supported
Most frame rate settings
2. HD Formats that are Best to be Watched on TV or Computers
If the video you are editing will mainly be watched on HD TV or computers, it’s a good idea to export in formats with the highest quality. MOV, AVI, and MKV are good choices for that purpose. The only problem is that high quality videos usually takes up more spaces, so always make sure that your hard disk has enough spaces.
3. Best Format to Choose to Burn onto DVD
As per the best format to choose to burn onto DVD, MPEG-2 can be your best option. This is also known as a container format and there is also a codec of the similar name. This is often called by people as H.262. This is basically intended to be used for DVD players.
4. Video Formats for Websites
If the video you are making is for your website, it is best to choose to output using WEBM or HTML5. These two formats have small sizes, making them very easy to stream. So your customers won’t have to wait for too long when they watch it on your website.
Note: In most cases, we recommend you use MP4 as it is currently the industry standard for HD videos.
5. How to Set Video Format in Filmora?
After editing the video in Filmora, click Export tab to open the video output window, which allows you to change settings of the output video. To change the video format, go to the first Local option and select the video formats you want.
In Filmora, you can save the video to most common video formats including WMV, MP4, MOV, F4V, MKV, TS, 3GP, WEBM, GIF, MPEG-2 or just save the video to MP3 format.
Part 4: What is the best format for uploading videos to YouTube?
For uploading a video to YouTube, you need to know the format requirements. The formats you are allowed to upload videos include MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV, MPEGPS, FLV, 3GPP, WebM, DNxHR, ProRes, CineForm. If you don't know which format you want to use, you can always use MP4 format as it is a common format that is compatible well with many devices.
You can use aspect ratios 4:3 or 16:9 to upload YouTube video. You should know that for 4:3 video, it will be added black letterbox bars automatically after uploading it to YouTube.
You can upload video up to 15 minutes to YouTube. You need to verify your YouTube account if you want to upload longer videos. You need to go to this verification page to fill out all information. After it is done, you can upload longer video, but you are not allowed to upload video larger than 128G.
For uploading VR video, the aspect ratio should be 1:1. The resolution ranges from 5120 x 5120 to 8192 x 8192. It is recommended that you should use horizontal video in case of having black letterbox.
If you still have some questions about how to choose the best YouTube video formats based on your need, or you want to share some ideas of video format for different platforms, please leave a comment below.
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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