Most Commonly Used Video File Formats

Most Commonly Used Video File Formats

Videos are becoming the primary marketing tool used by the majority of businesses. Additionally, websites with videos tend to convert visitors more often and rank higher in search engine results. Another SEO optimization method is using OCR API to scan and extract a video’s captions and annotations automatically.

You can learn more about OCR APIs using a Guide to OCR. But… why are video file formats important?

Video file formats of the video become a crucial factor because different platforms support different video file formats. You must be familiar with how each video format functions if you want your videos to be successful across all platforms. A video format used for web development, for instance, will differ from the one used for social networking.

I will take you through some of the most commonly used video file formats, so you can choose the perfect format for you.


Professionals often want to save and store videos they record on a computer or another device. They can save videos in a variety of ways in video format files to open and play on a variety of systems. You might find it useful to learn about the many video formats available if you record or edit videos as part of your work.

What Is A Video File Format? 

A video format is a video’s visual and audio components stored in a file. A video format has a container and a codec, which are its two main parts. A container includes a video’s metadata, including the audio, images, and subtitles, and it also explains the file’s data structure. A codec is a device that compresses the video file before it is put in a container to encode and decode the data on the file, including audio and video. Depending on the codec and container, you can use a variety of video formats.

What Is A Codec?

Since video files may be rather huge, codecs came in to make it simpler to store and transfer them. A video codec reduces or compresses a digital file so that it may be distributed and stored more conveniently. Encoders and decoders, the two primary parts of a codec, cooperate to reduce the size of the video file. For example, you should decode an H.264 codec if you use an H.264 codec to encode it. The common codec for video compression is H.264.


The encoder is the component of the codec responsible for handling file compression.


After a video file has undergone compression, the decoder part of a video codec gets it ready for viewing. It unzips it into the chosen video container after decompression.

What Are Containers?

Coded information is an output of an encoder. A container collects this information along with metadata. You can send audio and video content between locations using containers. The internet or a storage medium like a hard disk or pen drive might be the medium. Every container will have different properties. 

What’s The Difference Between Codec And Containers?

Codecs and container file formats are sometimes difficult to distinguish from one another. The overall lack of standards, perplexing marketing jargon, and file extensions are some of the causes of this. 

Codecs and containers are both crucial components of the finished product you give, but they are also extremely similar. The primary distinction between the two is that a codec compresses your video file, while a container is the delivery format to transport the finished product for playing.

For example, an MP4 container can include the AVC and HEVC codecs, among others. Similarly, AVC and MP3, and other codecs can be in an F4V container. The two distinct containers are MP4 and F4V. 


What Is The Best Video Compression Codec?

Your spending plan and content will determine which video codec is ideal for you. In this section, we’ll talk about some of the most popular codecs and how they work with various digital video formats.


Today, especially when it comes to video streaming services, this is the codec that is most frequently used with digital videos. When it comes to video distribution, the H.264 is incredibly adaptable, since it can be played on practically any device.


H.265 codec is a competitor of H.264. H.265 is competing to take the place of the H.264 codec as the industry standard, but it has yet to do so. Even though H.264 is still more popular, H.265 still provides reduced bandwidth streaming.


AV1’s main advantage is that it is open-source. The AV1 video codec is incredibly effective, but it isn’t completely integrated throughout all media yet. However, it’s an excellent choice for a small budget.


The VP9 video codec was created by Google. All of their products, including Chrome, Android, and YouTube, support it. Since this free codec uses the same bit rate as H.265, it gives excellent results.

What Are The Different Video File Formats?

Commonly used video file formats

When developing and publishing video material, a variety of various video file types are available to you. We’ll go through the characteristics of the most common video file formats so you can decide which one best suits your requirements.


Microsoft created and published Audio Visual Interleave (AVI) in 1992. As one of the older file formats, it does not permit further compression, which results in a big file size that makes it inappropriate for online streaming transfer.

But because of its excellent quality, the video is perfect for archiving. Because of this, people view it as a stable video format. The preferred file format for cameras from companies like Nikon is AVI. Additionally, it works with Google Drive, Windows Media Player, and other cross-platform media players.


Adobe Systems created FLV, sometimes referred to as the Flash Video file format, in 2003. Most people use Adobe Flash Player, FLV, because all devices and browsers support this. These videos are perfect for YouTube and other online video sites, since they have very minimal file sizes and are easy to download.

Adobe Flash Player mainly gained popularity because users can install it as a plugin on web browsers. However, customers shelved this pair due to poor performance. The format’s creators eventually decided to stop supporting the Flash player in December 2020. The F4V video format eventually replaced the FLV format.


Apple originally designed MOV, or QuickTime Movie, file format in 1998 for use with QuickTime. This file type supports text, picture, audio, and video, much like MP4. However, compared to MP4, MOV files are bigger and offer better video quality.

As a result, these are most appropriate for professional editing. It is compatible with macOS. These files may be converted into various file formats and are available in .mov or .qtt formats.


MP4 came out in 2001, and it is one of the earlier video file formats. You can store videos, pictures, text, and audio files in this file type. Since MP4s can create high-quality video files with relatively modest file sizes, they are the better option for practically all digital devices and platforms.


WMV is a product of Microsoft. As WMV offers superior compression and smaller file sizes than the MP4 format, a lot of people frequently use it for video streaming.

Why Should You Use Filestack To Convert Video File Formats?

The best video file format to use relies on the intended use of the video. For example, if the video will be seen online, pick a format that is compatible with the majority of browsers.

You frequently need to convert between file formats, however, there are some circumstances in which using one file format over the other is preferable. Use Filestack’s audio and video transcoding API to convert audio or video files dynamically. The API for Filestack also allows for other operations, like cropping or resizing video files, extracting thumbnails from videos, and more.

Start using Filestack now for free.

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