Getting Started With Video Encoding


Video production can take years to master, and even some of the most experienced videographers learn new things every day. In fact, the entire complexity of pre and post video production is why so many companies choose to outsource the task to agencies who offer video production services. But, if your company has chosen to handle video in house and you’ve now been tasked with encoding the content but don’t know where to start, then keep reading as we are going to run through it now. It might sound like a complicated process, but it’s really simple to understand. 

What Exactly is Video Encoding?

The first thing to be aware of when it comes to video encoding is that it is also known as transcoding. This can throw some people off when they are unsure of what different terms mean, but please rest assured that they mean the exact same thing. Video encoding is the process of changing a video’s format from one to another for the purpose of compatibility. So, in its simplest, video encoding is the process of converting a file into a different digital format. During the video encoding process, the original video is known as the video input. The new format is known as the video output. Video encoding changes the type of video but doesn’t change the video content. For example, you will not encode a piece of video and suddenly have a chunk of footage missing from the middle of it. 

Why Encode a Video?

The most straightforward answer is because different devices require different formats. It is a bit of an inconvenience, and unfortunately, there is no universal format that is suitable for all devices. Computers, mobile phones and tablets all require different formats in order to play video. Different television channels will also have different technical specifications and will need to receive videos in a specific format. But, that’s not all, even different web browsers need specific video formats too. When working with a video that you want to spread as wide as possible, you must have your video in multiple formats. 

How Do You Encode a Video?

There are many different ways in which you can encode a piece of video content. You can get in contact with a video production company who will take care of the encoding for you, or you can do it yourself. There are many different types of software out there that are really easy to use, such as Streamflow and HandBrake. They are very user-friendly; all you need to do is upload the file that you want decoding and let the software do all of the hard work. 

Things to Be Aware Of

The most important thing that you need to remember when changing your video format is always to reduce the quality downwards. You can take away pixels at any point throughout the process of encoding, but you can’t add pixels that never existed in the first place. The most times you encode the same video, the lower the quality will get. A good way to avoid this is by simply capturing your video in the desired format in the first place. However, this is only possible if you know what formats you need from the outset. 

Video Encoding Recapped

And, there you go. Video encoding is the process of converting one video file with a specific format into another. All different devices and software require different digital formats, so it’s essential to know how to encode a video. A codec is a filename that is used to describe a video’s format, and there are many types of codecs that you can convert your video into. There is online software out there that you can use yourself to encode your video, or you can send it off to a video production company to encode it on your behalf. Finally, you should always start your transcoding with a high-quality source and then convert downwards to avoid ending up with a video that is poor quality.