MP4 or MPG

Which is a better format for preserving home made video? I want to convert form AVI to either MP4 or MPG, but need advice on which is preferred.

Also, is there a better format that either of those?

Thanks.
fshaw818Asked:
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
You are generally better off keeping your original video.  Conversion from one format to another is usually a lossy process.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcoding
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cesarmecCommented:
In general you can change any video format and have some losses, but there are programs that help you maintain the quality of video, this is the case WinAVI Converter, there are other more, but this program generl will help you maintain the best quality the vidio and take it into the format you need.
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fshaw818Author Commented:
I have a fairly good video conversion program (Any Video Converter Pro), but my question is "which" format is best for converting AVI to a smaller format?
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andytagonistCommented:
can we ask why you want to convert from a very widely used format to other widely used formats--assuming you know there will be a degradation of quality involved?  i agree with DaveBladwin, you will generally be better off leaving it as is...

and for what purpose are you trying to convert to those specific formats?  are you trying to make DVDs?  or just archiving.  for pure & simple archiving, leave it as is.  for making player-compatible DVDs, i prefer Nero Vision.  it's wizard based and works nicely for me.  
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cesarmecCommented:
I would recommend the MP4 format; because the 3GP format is very small and is normally used for cell
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NrisimhaCommented:

Sorry but WinAVI Converter is an fast convertor that makes terrible videos if you choose that converted file has less than 900 MB.

That is not question of format like AVI, MP4 or MPEG. It is a question of quality and for AVI or MP4 you can use the same codec H.264 for encoding your files and the AVI and MP4 will have the same quality if you choose the same settings for codding.
Anyway, old MPEG format has an extremely high bitrate and the final files are extremelly BIG.

Try to imagine the real situation - all DVD videos are encoded with MPEG codec and the movie that has duration 2 hours need about 6 GB of space on DVD disc !!!

In the same time you can rip and convert DVD VOB files into AVI H.264 file that has the 99% of original quality of DVD VOB files, but it needs only 800 - 900 MB for AVI or MP4 file with a EXCELLENT QUALITY !!!

That is truth. But, the choice is your.

For additional questions ask freely. We are here.


Nrisimha


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andytagonistCommented:
None of them are necessarily smaller than the other unless you sacrifice quality.  stick with AVI.
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BovskiCommented:
MPG is dead hand has been for a long time(when was the last time you watched a VideoCD) even MPEG2 is nearly dead still used on DVD's but not really anything else.

AVI is getting a bit old now but still supported are you changing for changes sake ? MP4 is ok though not as flexible as the MKV container in what you can put in it.
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fshaw818Author Commented:
Not exactly what I was looking for, but no worth pursuing. I'm surprised that the substance of the question was not acknowledged by any of those who answered. SPACE is the issue...AVI is much larger than MP4. Right? There are many reasons to convert to a smaller format...I thought it would be possible got get some expert input.
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fshaw818Author Commented:
I'm "accepting" the solutions / comments offered not because the question was answered, but because I appreciate the time of those commenting.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
We took 'preserving' as meaning keeping the quality as the 'essence of the question.  Virtually every conversion and all of those to smaller sizes are lossy meaning that they lose quality.  You question didn't mention SPACE or size.
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NrisimhaCommented:

Not exactly what I was looking for, but no worth pursuing. I'm surprised that the substance of the question was not acknowledged by any of those who answered. SPACE is the issue.

Well, you have got the FULL answer, but it will be good for you to be opened for experimenting in video converting and to be acceptable to can accept the advices about video converting from experts.
Knowledge without a practice is a "DEAD" knowledge, but the worst is "knowledge" with prejudices and assumptions.

I must repeat my post:

"That is not question of format like AVI, MP4 or MPEG. It is a question of quality and for AVI or MP4 you can use the same codec H.264 for encoding your files and the AVI and MP4 will have the same quality if you choose the same settings for codding.
Anyway, old MPEG format has an extremely high bitrate and the final files are extremelly BIG.

Try to imagine the real situation - all DVD videos are encoded with MPEG codec and the movie that has duration 2 hours need about 6 GB of space on DVD disc !!!

In the same time you can rip and convert DVD VOB files into AVI H.264 file that has the 99% of original quality of DVD VOB files, but it needs only 800 - 900 MB for AVI or MP4 file with a EXCELLENT QUALITY !!!

That is truth. But, the choice is your.

For additional questions ask freely. We are here."


AVI is much larger than MP4. Right?

Of course NOT. This is a FIRST MISTAKE that confirm to me that you didn't read well my post. But, you can understand THIS only if you have video converting experience !!! Or ... accept advices from the experts !
If you have never seen an AVI file that has 700 MB total size and video stream encoded with XVID codec and audio stream MP3 encoded and in the SAME TIME also the AVI file WITH SAME QUALITY that has a size ONLY 450 - 500 MB, then I can't help you - because you will not BELIEVE ME that AVI file with 450 - 540 MB encoded with H.264 codec has the same quality as AVI that has size 700 MB and is encoded with XVID codec !!! The important is a kind of CODEC that will make video with smaller size and same quality.
Any man can ask yourself - how is it possible ??? I have explained that in my post, but you can't understand it if you don't know what is Apple's H.264 commercial codec or FREE X.264 codec ( in fact they are "the same" )  !!!

This codec enables that from DVD that has size 6 GB and MPEG2 encoded, you can get AVI file with X.264 encoded video and MP3 encoded audio that has VERY GOOD QUALITY and not the size of 900 MB like AVI encoded with XVID, but size that is 660 - 700 GB !!!

And who can say to me that I DON'T UNDERSTAND the question of the SPACE for all those file? But in the same time the QUALITY MUST BE HIGH and equal to quality of those AVI files that are encoded with XVID !!!

I can't post here a links with a websites with AVI MOVIES that little children can download, because it is against the RULES of this EE web site!
But on such sites you can see this - the AVI movies that are encoded with XVID have minimal size of 700 MB and AVI movies encoded with X.264 have the size of 450 - 500 MB.
I'm talking about the SAME MOVIE that has the SAME DURATION, but AVI XVID has resolution usually 720x405 pixels ( aspect ratio 16:9 ), but these SMALLER AVI movies encoded with X.264 codec with 540 MB have resolution even 1280x720 pixels !!!

Is it enough for you to see that FORMAT is not a problem? The answer for making BETTER QUALITY and LESS SIZE movie with AVI or MP4 container is - make it with the best codecs !!!

The some history facts:

- MPEG2 is old codec that use HIGH BITRATE and makes a files that needs for average movie any DVD with 4.7 GB space,
- when is made DivX codec it was commercial codec and is even today. As the answer, independent group of programmers MADE A FREE XviD codec that is similar, but better than DivX. Many people think that "it is the same codec", but isn't. The XviD has something that is called "motion vector estimation". The DivX has only 1 motion vector and Xvid has 3 motions vectors.
That means in the scenes of the movie when the action is VERY, VERY FAST the XviD will give a better results. In fact, the people were watching for many years the DivX or XviD movies that have 700 MB and such movies ( that can be burned on the CD with 700 MB size ) on the their TVs via DVD players. In the same time other people were watching original  DVD movies with 4.3 GB size encoded with MPEG2 codec.
The DIFFERENCE IN SIZE IS OBVIOUS !!!
- and know something that will be interesting for you FSHAW818:
the Apple company made first video with a new format and that was MP4 format. This format had a video encoded with their NEW H.264 codec and audio encoded with their NEW AAC ( Advanced Audio Codec ) codec. That was REVOLUTION in making videos, because such video was 27% SMALLER IN SIZE than DIVX or XVID AVI video and THE QUALITY WAS SAME !
But, there are people even today which have a VERY GOOD knowledge of computers, that think that MP4 is even today "better format than AVI format". And of course, they are totally wrong !!! WHY?
Because, they HAVE NEVER MADE an AVI or MP4 movie with this NEW H.264 codec !!!
All that they know is that "MP4 is better format than AVI", because they have heard about MP4 format that is used in Apple's mobile devices and usually they are "VERY, VERY GOOD INFORMED about such formats", because they always read a daily computer's news in their most liked daily newspapers and that is not all - they buy every month the best two computers magazines in their state and read these magazines from cover to back!!!
It is OK. But such people can have ENORMOUS knowledge about "these things", but they haven't a minimum of EXPERIENCE !!!
So, how to explain anything about VIDEO CONVERTING to such people?
Well, a good news are that 90% of them then WANT to hear and LEARN something about video converting from EXPERTS like in THIS EE Forum !!! The bad news are that 10% of them stay to live "with their newspapers knowledge" without a minimum knowledge of video converting !
WHY? Because they want to PROVE their "SUPERIORITY" with their "newspapers knowledge".
For such people I have to say just that - continue to read my post !
- after Apple made it's H.264 video codec and it is also today commercial codec, the independent group of programmers experts made a FREE codec ( that is based on H.264 codec ) with same purpose - TO MAKE A SMALLER VIDEO with a SAME QUALITY !
But, here is an surprise - this codec not only make an video smaller and PUT IT in an MP4 container!
They make a codec that can simply encoded an VIDEO with X.264 codec and then SAVE THE VIDEO in the AVI container !!!
So, today the AVI and MP4 files can have SAME VIDEO AND AUDIO !!! But, some video recording software programs and Video Players will not play MP4 file if there is MP3 audio in such MP4 file !!!
Because, that video software request the original Apple standards - MP4 file that has video encoded with H.264 or X.264 codec and audio encoded with AAC codec !!!
This is a silly, but ... you know ... on the mobile phones it became a rule to play just such MP4 video.
In the same time you can use AVI file that has H.264 or X.264 video encoded and is MORE flexible with audio codecs - you can use either AAC encoded audio, MP3  encoded audio or AC3  encoded audio !!! And such AVI file can be watched with any PC Video Player and can be opened in any video software ( not as MP4 that some programs as Camtasia Studio can import, but you can't hear audio if is MP3 or AC3 encoded ).


There are many reasons to convert to a smaller format...I thought it would be possible got get some expert input.

Yes, you are right. But, what do you think - why did I spend a lots of my time to learn how to convert videos?
Because you and me have the same reason - to get a SMALLER file size and in the same time to have VERY GOOD quality !!!
Here is an problem that arised recently - people use different TVs not only differ in company that made TV, but some people are watching their videos on TV screen with aspect ratio 4:3 and resolution that is around 640x480 pixels ( it is not the same for different TVs ), some people are watching their movies on PC monitors with 17" screen and with aspect ratio 4:3 and resolution 1024x768 pixels. But, many of them are watching their videos on their LCD monitors or LCD TVs that have aspect ratio 16:9 and resolution 1280x720 pixels or even 1920x1080 pixels with different screen size - some have 24" devices, some have LCD TVs with 42" screen.

That is a problem - the same video can't be watched well on the monitors and TVs with a 42" screens as can be watched at 24" screens !!!
So, we are again at beginning - my neighbors have LCD TV with 42" screen and they set the resolution to 1920x1080 pixels and the videos don't look good on such screen with high resolution.
And why I said that we are at beginning? Because, if they want to watch a VERY HIGH QUALITY movies then they MUST to buy a Blue-Ray disc with 25 GB or with 48 GB !!!

OK. That is enough - I was talking with myself two hours while I was typing this text.

And simple advice - if you are really interested in making a GOOD MP4 or AVI files that are smaller in size and you want to "experiment" with simple video tool then read this post on our EE Forum:

How so I make a video file smaller ?

The result will be AVI, MP4 or FLV file with video that is encoded with free X.264 codec and audio that is encoded with MP3 audio. SMALLER than input file.
So,  this is a tool ONLY FOR EXPERIMENTAL USE for making MP4 and FLV files, because the audio is MP3 encoded. Although you can play these MP4 or FLV files with your PC Video Player.
For these experiments first use only video files that have duration less than 45 minutes.

If you choose output format to be AVI, then you will get correct AVI file that is smaller in size and has good quality. And you can freely choose an quality factor and experiment to get a smaller file with good quality.

And finally, if you need default MP4 or FLV file I can write a new script like that in the mentioned link and put it here.


best regards

Nrisimha
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fshaw818Author Commented:
Thanks for the long answer, but again you missed the point and purpose of my question. The container and CODEC are not the same thing.

I'll accept the problem as my problem because as you  pointed out I'm too stupid to ask the question correctly.

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andytagonistCommented:
We're just trying to help. No one said you were stupid at all. I didn't read & absorb that incredibly long answer, but I'm pretty sure everyone is just trying to get the question straight before we go off on a tangent.

Personally, I'm still trying to figure out which is most important to you--size or quality...

Maybe you can take all of what everyone has said here and maybe rephrase the question.

-Andy
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fshaw818Author Commented:
Or better yet, I'l just drop the question / issue and waste no more time of the experts. I honestly do appreciate the effort and assistance provided.

Please! No more comments or replies. I feel uncomfortable have anyone spend additional time on this as it was pointed out I don't have the knowledge / background needed comprehend the answers so graciously provided.

Again, thank to all who attempted to assist.  



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NrisimhaCommented:

Thanks for the long answer, but again you missed the point and purpose of my question. The container and CODEC are not the same thing.

I have to seriously ask you - are you joking with me?

After my post where I have explained to you types of codecs and types of video formats you put something in my mouth that I have never said in my life - "Thanks for the long answer, but again you missed the point and purpose of my question. The container and CODEC are not the same thing."

Do you think that I convert files from AVI to FLV, MOV to AVI or AVI to MP4 and chose a different codecs that have names as XVID, DIVX, H.264, X.264 for video encoding and MP3 or AC3 or AAC codecs for audio encoding and IN THE SAME TIME I CHOOSE OUTPUT FORMAT ( CONTAINER )  that can be AVI or FLV or MP4 or MOV or WMV and after conversion I proudly say - "THE CODECS AND FORMATS ( CONTAINERS ) ARE THE SAME" ?

And do you think that I use a term CONTAINER if I at the same time distinct very, very good what is MP4 or AVI or FLV or MOV or WMV container, and what are the types of VIDEO AND AUDIO CODECS?

In your claim "The container and CODEC are not the same thing" you pointed out your opinion about my knowledge.
You said that I claim that a CODEC that is a "piece of software" that has sometimes only 0.4 - 5 MB and use mathematical algorithms for video conversion is THE SAME as an MP4 video file that has 2700 MB !!!
Great. I can't believe that you use such TRICKS on that Forum, but ... it is a possible.

Now I can say this - you didn't read my post carefully !!! Because to claim such nonsense that I said to you that "codec is the same as format" can only claim a person who take only 30 seconds for reading my post !!!

I'll accept the problem as my problem because as you  pointed out I'm too stupid to ask the question correctly.

No, but I don't like a RHETORICAL questions when the question contains in the same time an answer or claim that I HAVE TO CONFIRM although this claim IS NOT CORRECT !!!
That means you don't expect from us to give you advices or suggestions, but you only ask that we confirm "YOUR OPINION" and say to you that you are right.

But I can't say that you are right when you asked a question like this - "..AVI is much larger than MP4. Right?"

Sorry, but this is not a truth. And I can't confirm this as correct claim. This was the reason why yesterday I wrote a such long, long post to try explain you what is the point.


I didn't said such thing that "you are a stupid". It is a lie. But opposite - you have to make experiments !!! And I have never given SUCH ADVICE to a person that I consider such person "that is a stupid" !!! So called "stupid person" will not be able to accept any of my advices, because such person doesn't understand even how to open an video convertor !!!
You have missed the most important - I gave you a link where you can download the only 2 files for video converting and you can get a SMALLER video files with VERY HIGH video quality.
That was also your intention, don't forget that !!!

So, I will ask you only this - is it a problem for you to download a 3 MB ZIP file with only 2 files and put an home video that has duration less than 15 minutes and these 2 files into an empty folder and run the script that asks you only these - name of the input file, quality factor that for your first try can be 27 and to enter  the output format and for that you have to enter a word MP4, then press Enter key and conversion will start?
You don't even have to be at your computer during this conversion that can be finished for less than 9 minutes if you have dual-core processor or even less for quad-core processor, because this is a video convertor that use ALL processors cores.

In less than 2 hours you can make more than 15 conversions with different quality factors, without any effort, because you can do something else during the conversion that is "in background" !!! Such 120 minutes experience is a better than my post yesterday that I was writing more than 120 minutes !!!



with my best regards

Nrisimha
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NrisimhaCommented:

OK.

regards

Nrisimha
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