Comprehensive Guide Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Codecs

If you’re thinking about adding a video component to your portfolio, one of the most important-but-confusing things you’ll have to wrap your head around is codecs — the different video compression/decompression formats available to you. These not only determine the quality retained by the camera, but also affect how you will approach the post-processing of the footage.

Unfortunately, video codecs — with all of the myriad factors at play and the number of options available — can be a bit confusing, and so cinematographer David Kong has shared the above, incredibly comprehensive look at everything you need to know.


You’ll have to check out the full 43-minute run-through to get into the details, but the basic idea of the walkthrough is rather straightforward: Kong simply goes over the multitude of variables that each codec possesses.

From what a codec is, to bit depth, to chroma subsampling, to bitrate and more, Kong gives thorough-but-concise explanations, compressing (pun intended) what would easily be a semester’s worth of class into a single video.

Click play at the top to see it for yourself — although we suggest you grab a pen and paper first — head over to filmmaker Phillip Bloom’s blog for a text run through from Kong himself, and then check out more of Kong’s work over on his Vimeo page.

Everything You Need to Know About Codecs []

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  • Viacheslav Zakharov

    Now this is what I call a quality post, please do make more informative articles like this one in the future!

  • Mark N

    Agreed, excellent work. Crystal clear and useful.