Video encoding questions

Tried looking this up myself, but suffered quickly from information overload. Perhaps somone here is a video-guru?

I wish to compare these formats, in terms of best quality at the smallest filesize, with video having a priority over audio. I have never even heard of some of these!

3gp, .mp4, .amr, .rm, .ram, .ra and .rv

I would also like to know of some good, free tools for encoding into these formats, or rather into the format that “wins”, I have tried the programs on Reals site for the rm etc, but their demo has so many features missing that it becomes pointless.

I wouldn’t know how to compare them but you can find programs that use them at if you have a PC… that site has shareware/freeware & updates of just about anything.

I would avoid the Real Audio format like the plague and stick with MPEG or DivX as the most widesppread.

^^^ What he said.

First off, I’m no video expert, but I’ve dabbled enough to know that your question isn’t directly answerable.

It is kinds like asking, “What race car is the fastest”, in that the answer really depends on the racing conditions. Is this a quarter mile down a dragstrip, around a two mile oval, through a road course, or across sand dunes? The answer really depends on what you want to do with it.

Even more generally, the relationship between file size and quality is direct, but the file format is less relevent.

I was not familiar with all the file formats you listed. Some quick research tells me that some are very specialized. For example, 3GP appears to be related to mobile phone services, particularly on GPRS networks. AMR is an audio codec format for digital speech. Except for MP4, all the others are RealMedia formats (realaudio, realvideo, realmedia).

All the Real formats are designed for streaming. Generally, these aren’t the high quality options - unless you are planning to stream.

MP4 uses MPG4, which the same format used by Windows Media. Quality versus file size is controlled by decisions such as resolution and frame rate, but are not driven strictly on the file format, but more the codec used (and each manufacturer of the codec has different quality attributes).

In my experience, the “best” is not one format for all purposes. The answer depends on your purpose, and if your needs are unusual, you may only figure out what is “best” by trial and error.

Perhaps if you relate what you eventually want to accomplish, we could be more helpful.

AzCowboy, sorry for being obtuse, I was convinced I had said what it was for :slight_smile: As you say, the more obscure formats are related to mobile services. My new cellphone (which I will soon get and be able to test on) plays video. Playback of the formats mentioned is supported. I assume they mean for the real-media to be used as support for video-conferencing through the phones vid-cam.

Since you can save the r-m files to use even for non-streaming purposes I was thinking that would be one option, and since we don’t know yet how the whole codec thing will work (for example if there will be a divx codec for the platform), it would be straight-up mp4. I guess they would be the main two I was thinking of.

Sailor, myself, and a few others were just talking about similar subjects in this thread. Check out for encoding tools, although if you’re looking for something to use with a cell phone, I doubt they’ll have exactly what you’re looking for.