Not helpful, but not not helpful
September 24, 2020 11:14 PM   Subscribe

Alan Resnick answers a pressing question: “What Codec Should I Use?”
posted by Going To Maine (22 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
this. so. much.

I’m seeing this kind of disorientation in terminology/metaphors creeping in to folks’ everyday about web-digital anythings, to the point that a lot of people do not know what a link is (and will send you a screenshot instead,for example).

What we are now swimming in deserves more videos like this, but erm, maybe also some serious action/push-back, before we end up having to change it to [adult drown]
posted by progosk at 2:31 AM on September 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


Just .mp4 4 everything

wait, what, nooo00000

Family Dance, do not click family dance, it's the new hamster dance, you will start ....................................
posted by sammyo at 3:53 AM on September 25, 2020

Oh man, codecs. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY.

Also when he was like "I-Frames" I was confused as to why he was bringing web design into the mix.
posted by grumpybear69 at 5:35 AM on September 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

Still using Procyon Centrifuge PLUS with all the RealPlayer optimizations turned on
posted by phooky at 6:32 AM on September 25, 2020 [6 favorites]

Ha. I was recently asked by a library archive that hadn’t dealt with much video to deliver a dozen or so hours of lightly edited interview footage in an uncompressed lossless codec which sent me down an interesting rabbit hole as I had only ever dealt with lossless in the audio space where it’s way more reasonable. I came up with what I think was a pretty good metaphor involving houses and blueprints (ie do you really want me to mail you a house? How about an ultra detailed blueprint from which you can build a house indistinguishable in every way that will ever matter to you, down to the exact position of every nail?). Didn’t extend the metaphor to containers, but I guess that would be the language the blueprint is written in?? Anyway we all learned a lot. Long story short they were happy with a few terabytes worth of Pro Res files, lossy and compressed but least it could fit on one drive and would be fine for several generations of re-encoding if necessary. So I guess this video’s advice holds up 100% in my experience.
posted by soy bean at 7:44 AM on September 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

is this a jpegs that are webp and gifs that are mp4 thing?
posted by scruss at 7:52 AM on September 25, 2020

I teach codecs/containers via a metaphor of casseroles and casserole dishes. You can put more than one kind of casserole in a given dish, and a given casserole can be made in different dishes.

It's inexact, but it does seem to help.
posted by humbug at 8:03 AM on September 25, 2020 [8 favorites]

I also teach codecs and containers and get into P Frames being predictive but how can they see into the future unless time travel exists but they don't because the event we are recording has actually already happened and we delay time to be able to examine the results but teacher doesn't that violate the quantum reality that is our existence excuse me this is a video production class not a physics lesson but no it doesn't it's actually really simple we just sample and hold so we can perform the processing then once the math is done we record the resulting data.

Any questions? On line quiz on Monday everyone, have a great weekend.
posted by Zedcaster at 8:54 AM on September 25, 2020 [8 favorites]

I get that this is a joke, but this was super helpful in explaning why my last project using the RbnX4kHQ 11.3bit RAW was so wiggly. We tried re-rendering using ZipperXR+ to soften things, but for some reason we lost all the dialogue when the footage with our actors just showed up empty (which seemed more like something you would get with Jiz-Vics given how spooky it seemed).
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:21 AM on September 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

uh, so i've been getting paid to work on low bitrate audio codecs for the last couple years and i am sorry for all of the confusion. on the bright side, codecs have been getting genuinely much better over the last forever. i recommend playing one of your pirated wes anderson movies that you downloaded from the pirate bay in like 2008 some time, and then asking yourself how on earth you put up with that crap. it really is kinda crazy how much better we've gotten at this over the last ten years.

Here's a nice general-purpose intro to how codecs+containers work with a little more real content (and is one of my favorite technical videos of all time). The followup video (on why we digital signals don't really have 'steps') is also awesome.

in conclusion, the mdct is great, but in the future it's neural networks all the way down.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:51 AM on September 25, 2020 [13 favorites]

There is but one codec and h.264 is his name.
posted by GuyZero at 12:34 PM on September 25, 2020

i-frames? Why are we getting fighting games into this?

Is MPEG's standing fierce safe on block? What super art do you choose for WebP?

Man, video sure is confusing these days.
posted by Imperfect at 1:14 PM on September 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wait isn't everyone else just using Cinepak
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:30 PM on September 25, 2020

There is but one codec and h.264 is his name.

Until H.265 is unencumbered.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:41 PM on September 25, 2020

What, no love for AV1?
posted by kaibutsu at 4:07 PM on September 25, 2020

you know, even if h.265 was free as in beer, it's more complex and does stuff not everyone needs. videoconferencing doesn't need 8k resolution. It does need hardware acceleration, on both ends. Until we have widespread support for VP8 in low-end hardware, there's one codec that has meaningful support for both coding and decoding: h.264.
posted by GuyZero at 4:08 PM on September 25, 2020

AV1 is basically VP9 right? Anyway, same thing goes there. Compression ratio isn't the only metric of a codec these days IMO. Encoding efficiency both in terms of cycles and watts is at least as important as decoding efficiency in this age of tiktok and people texting each other videos.
posted by GuyZero at 4:12 PM on September 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ohhhh this guy was the person behind Unedited Footage of a Bear
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:13 PM on September 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

videoconferencing doesn't need 8k resolution

I did CU-SeeMe videoconferencing at 160x160 pixel resolution in 1 bit resolution, and people were saying then that that was all you needed too.
posted by dmd at 4:56 PM on September 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

I did CU-SeeMe videoconferencing at 160x160 pixel resolution in 1 bit resolution,

Yes I am also old and know what a sparcstation ipx is and no, no one said that.
posted by GuyZero at 7:53 PM on September 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

Can't blame lay folks when even Mediainfo labels MP4 container brands under 'Codec ID'.
posted by Gyan at 1:04 AM on September 26, 2020

What I like about all this is that as video codecs improve my eyesight degrades so I can avoid change like the senior citizen I am gradually becoming.
posted by srboisvert at 8:31 AM on September 26, 2020

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