The following is an article from my friends at WorshipFilms.com that I thought would be of interest and benefit for you. Enjoy!
Todayâ€™s digitized videos come in an array of file formats.Â Â Letâ€™s take a look at the most popular ones, and briefly discuss their differences..AVI files.Â Â AVI stands for audio/video interleaved.Â Â This file format is the most popular computer video format, and it is defined by Microsoft.Â Â The file sizes tend to be large compared to some of the other formats.Â Â These files will play in most of the popular media players.Â Â Generally, they are used to edit video or when a high resolution version of the video is needed.
.MPG, .M1V, .M2V files.Â Â MPG (or MPEG) stands for Moving Picture Experts Group.Â Â This file type utilizes standards that have been, and are being, developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group.Â Â They are a common file type and are generally much smaller in size than .AVI files.
.MPG most commonly denotes a file with MPEG-1 compression.Â Â The most common resolution for this file type is 352×240, but other resolutions may be used (most of the MPEG-1 files produced by WorshipFilms are 800×600).Â Â .M1V usually denotes a video with MPEG-1 compression that does not contain any audio.Â Â MPEG-1 files will play in almost any media player.Â Â They are generally used when limiting the file size is the main objective.
One confusing element is that .MPG can also denote a file that utilizes MPEG-2 compression.Â Â These files are generally higher in resolution (most commonly 720×480), and are often used in the creation of DVDs.Â Â .M2V generally denotes a video with MPEG-2 compression that does not contain any audio.Â Â The file size of MPEG-2 files is generally larger than MPEG-1 files.Â Â MPEG-2 files will only play in media players that have a MPEG-2 video codec installed.
.MOV, .QT files.Â Â These files extensions denote a Quicktime media file.Â Â Apple Computer developed this file type for the creation and viewing of media content.Â Â Generally, most media players will play a Quicktime file that is version 2.0 or earlier, but later versions require player software that is proprietary to Apple.Â Â File sizes are generally comparable or slightly larger when compared to MPEG-1 files (depending on compression settings).
.WMV files.Â Â WMV stands for Windows Media Video, and refers to a video codec set developed by Microsoft.Â Â In earlier versions, Microsoft utilized a form of MPEG-4 technology in developing this codec, but later versions has relied more on Microsoftâ€™s own technology.Â Â It is a widely used file format on the internet because of its relatively small file size, and is now used in other media players beyond Windows Media Player.
.ASF files.Â Â ASF is short for Advanced Streaming Format.Â Â It is a very compressed format that contains streaming audio, video, slide shows, and synchronized events.Â Â It provides a continuous stream of data, so that even lengthy videos begin playing almost immediately.Â Â It is not necessary for the entire file to download first.Â Â This is a popular internet file format, especially for online seminars or other lengthy subjects.
.RM files (also .RA or .RAM).Â Â A .RM file is a Real Media file, which (of course) is played in Real Media Player.Â Â These files are generally intended to be used as streaming files, and cannot be played in other media players.
.MP4 files (or .M4V).Â Â MP4, or MPEG-4 is a format developed by the Motion Picture Experts Group that allows you to combine multiple media streams into one file.Â Â Initially, the MPEG-4 format looked a lot like the Apple Quicktime format, but has since been significantly changed and improved upon.Â Â It is an end-user format that is used most often for streaming applications and mobile devices (PDAâ€™s, cell phones, etc.).Â Â The great appeal of this format is its general quality level in relation to its small file size.
Hopefully, this will serve as a basic reference for you on video file formats, and help you to more quickly identify file types in the future.