In this video, Chris Cory, explains the differences between video formats and shows how the format you chose can affect the quality

When you are just starting out, videography can be a daunting place. It is a world filled with different formats, codecs, bitrates, and there is a whole set of acronyms that you have to get your head around.

Terms such as AVCHD, H.264, MPEG-4 AVC, Quicktime, AVI, MP4, XAVC, and Pro Res can all seem confusing.

However, once you know how video files work it’s all fairly straightforward, and there are only a couple you need to concern yourself with when you are starting out.

As Chris Cory explains, a video file is actually made of two parts, a container (or wrapper) and a codec (or compressor). The most basic way of understanding how they work is to think of the container as a library or filing system. It contains all of the information and instruction that allows the video clip to be properly played.

Within the container are the video and audio themselves. In the same way that there are different image file formats, such as JPEG, TIFF and BMP, there are different video formats.

Each of these can be compressed in different ways. Some are compressed to get a small file size, at the expense of image quality, whilst others are designed to produce the best image quality possible, though often creating large files in the process.

The codec is the form of compression that has been used for the video, and for the audio.

And breathe – that’s the brief overview of some key terms but to to learn more about the different types of video file and format, be sure to check out the video above.

You’ll also learn why you should be recording at the best possible quality available to you, particularly when it comes to editing.