Compression Options

The cap­ture win­dow has options to change the encod­ing method that is used while cap­tur­ing the movie. The encod­ing method is referred to as a codec. Codec stands for com­pres­sion / decom­pres­sion and is the way in which the data is stored (com­pressed) and pre­sent­ed (decom­pressed).

For many cap­ture work­flows, the native codec used by the source might not pro­duce the opti­mal results, so a dif­fer­ent codec might be cho­sen to use dur­ing cap­ture. This is com­mon to reduce the file size. For exam­ple, the DV codec pro­duces very good qual­i­ty video, but the file size is quite large. So, as a way of reduc­ing the file size, cap­ture using the H.264 or MPEG-4 codec option. While the qual­i­ty is not as good, it is much eas­i­er to trans­fer and store the small­er files.

While choos­ing dif­fer­ent codecs from the native ones is a great option, be aware that it requires more CPU to recom­press the files on the fly. We rec­om­mend doing a lot of test­ing to guar­an­tee that the options used dur­ing cap­ture will work through the entire span of the video work­flow. You might find that your com­put­er is not pow­er­ful enough to han­dle cap­ture, recom­pres­sion and cod­ing at the same time. You could also find that the cho­sen video codec will not work in some third par­ty soft­ware involved in your workflow.

Video Codecs

There are 3 codec choic­es for the video com­po­nent of cap­ture apart from the device’s native video codec. These are designed by Apple to pro­duce the best results pos­si­ble. The video codec options can be accessed by click­ing on the drop down menu to the right of the video source drop down.

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Device Native – The cap­ture will use the set­tings that are com­ing from the source. We rec­om­mend using this option in most cas­es as it reduces the load on the cpu and results in the high­est qual­i­ty pos­si­ble. A com­mon native codec is DV. DV files will be 13.76GB per hour.

Apple Intermediate – This is a codec designed by Apple to be an inter­me­di­ate for­mat in an HDV work­flow. This codec pro­duces very large and high qual­i­ty video files while not requir­ing a lot of cpu work to do so. Files are rough­ly 20GB per hour. This is a great codec to use when you want a high qual­i­ty mas­ter that will be used to cre­ate oth­er videos such as for iPod or stream­ing over the internet.

H.264 – This option com­press­es the video into the H.264 codec, a deriv­a­tive of MPEG- There are 4 options while using this codec, the options only change the frame size thus reduc­ing the file size. We rec­om­mend using the H.264 SD for stan­dard def­i­n­i­tion video sources or H.264 HD 720 option for high def­i­n­i­tion video sources for most occa­sions. The data rate will vary accord­ing to images being processed.

MPEG-4 – This option com­press­es into the MPEG-4 codec. Like H.264, there are 3 options, each one uses a dif­fer­ent frame thus result­ing in a small­er file. This has tra­di­tion­al­ly been the codec of choice for cap­tur­ing good qual­i­ty files with rel­a­tive­ly small file sizes. Files will be rough­ly 2GB per hour. H.264 will super­sede this codec in the future.

Audio Codecs

And there are 3 choic­es for the audio com­po­nent of cap­ture apart from the device’s native audio codec. Generally speak­ing, audio codec set­tings are large­ly ignored as when com­pared to video, main­ly because the size of the audio com­po­nent is insignif­i­cant to that of video. For the most part using the Device Native set­tings will be per­fect. However to save a lit­tle space, using AAC High Quality is a good option.

Next to the audio source drop down menu are the com­pres­sion options. By default, the menu selec­tion is set to Device Native.

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  • Device Native – This will cap­ture using what­ev­er the device is outputting.
  • AAC High Quality – This deliv­ers a CD qual­i­ty audio track at 128kbps.
  • AAC Voice Quality – This deliv­ers a low qual­i­ty audio track at 32kbps.
  • Apple Lossless – This deliv­ers a very high qual­i­ty audio track that is quite large in size depend­ing on the audio that is being record­ed. This is a good option to use if record­ing using exter­nal micro­phones and audio is real­ly impor­tant to the video.