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Which MPEG-2 video file format should I use?

Posted on 2014-08-28
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Last Modified: 2014-09-04
Hello,

I have edited my first Movie using 'AVS Video Editor' and I have decided to save my movies in the MPEG-2 format.

After choosing MPEG-2, 'AVS Video Editor' presents me with the following choices in a drop-down menu:

a) DVD  NTSC compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps)
b) DVD     PAL compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x576, 25fps)
c) Video: MPEG-1, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps
d) Video: MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps
e) HD  Video 1080p - (MPEG-2, 15000kbps, 1920x1080, 29.97fps)
f) HD  Video 720p - (MPEG-2, 9000kbps, 1280x720, 29.97fps)

Which of these formats should I use? My first instinct tells me that I probably should use:
Video: MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's what's important to me (and why I think that option d) might be the best option for me to choose):

- I don't want to deal with a lot of different file formats in the future. I like to keep things as simple as I possibly can. Ideally I want to choose one file format (a, b, c, d, e or f) and stick with it for good.

- All my movies are in standard DVD quality (saved as .vob files) and I don't intend to switch to BlueRay (or similar) anytime in the future. Normal DVD quality is good enough for me.
Since normal DVDs are not in HD (as far as I know, but please correct me if I'm wrong???), then there's probably no point in saving them in either:
e) HD  Video 1080p - (MPEG-2, 15000kbps, 1920x1080, 29.97fps)
or
f) HD  Video 720p - (MPEG-2, 9000kbps, 1280x720, 29.97fps)

- I don't want to compress the movies (.vob files) any further. I have plenty of disc space and it's more important to me that I maintain the best picture quality (and keep as many features as) possible.
NOTE: My goal is to 'archive' my movies (after editing in AVS Video Editor) with the LEAST loss in quality and features (e.g. subtitles). Once 'archived', I can convert and/or compress them at any time in the future to fit on the newest smartphone, ipad or whatever, ... or to view them on a large screen.

Summary:
AVS  Video Editor forces me to choose one of these six video formats and I simply want to make the right choice. Ideally I don't want to loose any of the movie's features or settle for a lesser picture quality. I also want to choose the most common file format, which will be widely supported for many years to come. As long as I save my movies in a file format that is widely supported (for many years), I can convert them in the future for whatever device I end up purchasing.

Many thanks in advance for your help,

HA
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Question by:H A
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 40291682
'e' is the highest quality but you have to 'burn' it to BlueRay.  'a' is the DVD format for the US.  But your real limit on quality is the format that it was recorded in.  You can't get better than that.  And if you have plenty of disk space then you should probably keep the original format because it will contain everything that is available for that video.
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Assisted Solution

by:Merete
Merete earned 200 total points
ID: 40291812
When saving it in mpeg2 which is a DVD format that is why you are offered those options for mpeg2.

After choosing MPEG-2, 'AVS Video Editor' presents me with the following choices in a drop-down menu:
a) DVD  NTSC compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps)<< this should author it to a DVD you don't want this.
b) DVD     PAL compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x576, 25fps)<< same thing as above
c) Video: MPEG-1, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps<< stand alone video lesser quality smaller in size.
d) Video: MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps<< stand alone video higher quality DVD quality.
e) HD  Video 1080p - (MPEG-2, 15000kbps, 1920x1080, 29.97fps)<<< choose this one.
f) HD  Video 720p - (MPEG-2, 9000kbps, 1280x720, 29.97fps)<< or this one

Which of these formats should I use? My first instinct tells me that I probably should use:
Video: MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps<< this kind of states for DVD will it progress to next step and start authoring it to DVD?

When you choose mpeg2 you have basically chosen a DVD format but that has not been authored to DVD which changes it name to Vob.
For the purposes of burning a DVD video> this process is called Authoring, it takes your video regardless of what format converts to DVD compliant format mpeg2 adds in chapters marks menus and headers so that the ifo and bup files ( lasor pointers) can read the structure of the DVD.
It will then burn to  DVD disc and finalise it.

When you just want to keep a video in mpeg 2 format alone use the one I arrowed.
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Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 40292717
I agree with Dave Baldwin.  It doesn't make sense to upsample the video into a higher quality format.  You're just going to waste disk space.  Most TVs and video players already allow you to resize on the fly.
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Author Comment

by:H A
ID: 40293578
MERETE:
Thanks for suggesting e) or f).



DAVE and SERIALBAND:
Do I understand correctly that you wouldn't use e) or f) as this would be 'upsampling' the video into a higher quality format? Which format would you use? Should I use d) as I don't want to author the movies to DVD but keep them as simple files (e.g.  .mpg) on my hard drive?
NOTE: I have ripped all my DVDs using DVD Shrink and I saved them 'uncompressed' to a  .vob file (4.35GB) on my hard drive.


DAVE: I couldn't agree more, ... I have plenty of disk space and would love to contain everything that is available for that video. That's my goal.
My problem is, that after editing, 'AVS  Video Editor' doesn't allow me to save the file in the original format (.vob). That's why I'm forced to look for the 'next best' option. What I've learned so far is, that storing it in 'stand-alone MPEG-2' might be the best way to achieve my goal. I don't want to 'author' it to a DVD or Blue-Ray structure (or similar) unless I really have to. This said, if using a different file format (MP4, Quicktime, AVi, ...)  is the best way to achieve my goal then please let me know and  I will re-consider.


Many thanks in advance,

Heiko
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40293917
Hello HA,
To answer this.>>I understand correctly that you wouldn't use e) or f) as this would be 'upsampling' the video into a higher quality format? <<<  No you are not upsampling, you already have an mpeg2 it is just called a Vob.
The reason they are called vobs is a distinction between an mpeg2 off a DVD disc and the mpeg 2 on a DVD Video disc.
Your AVS editor cannot save it again as a Vob unless it authors it to a DVD structure.

To explain, when you have a VOB on a DVD Disc it includes some of the information for the contents of the DVD structure (as per my screen shot of the DVD structure in the other question..) , it's so that the lasor can find and read the appropriate chapter/s in sequential that's why copying out single files of vobs saved  to a DVD Structure to HDD those vobs are connected to the other files on the DVD. or in your case VIDEO_TS folder.
Saving the vob after you edited it as mpeg2 contains all the relative information/audio. condensed correctly as a stand alone video clip.
The only the reason they have different names is the way the Video Editors and DVD rom have been programmed to recognise different video formats. It's all about ownership/codecs and playing methods.
I really answered that in your other question.
After editing, which file type should I use to archive the movies?
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/MultiMedia_Applications/Q_28506024.html
Vobs
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Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 40293923
VOB files are just containers for MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 video formats.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VOB

What size is your original Video dimension?  Is it 720x480?  Then you should just use that.  That's the original DVD resolution.

http://hometheater.about.com/od/blurayandhddvd/f/blurayhddvd2.htm

e) & f) are BluRay.  Upscaling in the file will just cause you to create larger files with no real benefit in image quality.
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Author Comment

by:H A
ID: 40294059
SERIALBAND:
My original Video dimension is 720x576 (I'm living in Europe).

Only option b) is in 720x576,   ... which will (if I understood this correctly) author it to a DVD structure (which I don't really want).

Will I have to choose between:
b) which keeps my video dimension at 720x576,  ... but unfortunately autors the movie to a DVD structure
AND
d) which saves my movie as a  'stand-alone MPEG-2' (which I would prefer rather than authoring it to a DVD structure),  ... but unfortunately will change the video dimension to 720x480 (which probably won't make much difference).

Do I understand this correctly or did I get it wrong?

Being in my position, would you choose a), b), c), d), e) or f) ?  Or would you choose a different file format altogether?

Thanks in advance,

HA
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Author Comment

by:H A
ID: 40294826
Note:
I have tried to save a small sample clip in a), b) and d).  
All three files have the .mpeg file extension.

a) Ended up being              62.6MB in size,
b)                                         62.5MB
and c)                                  66.2MB
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40294976
Yep, that's because you chose the format mpeg then it offers mpeg for
a) DVD  NTSC compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps)
b) DVD     PAL compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x576, 25fps)
c) Video: MPEG-1, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps
d) Video: MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps
e) HD  Video 1080p - (MPEG-2, 15000kbps, 1920x1080, 29.97fps)
f) HD  Video 720p - (MPEG-2, 9000kbps, 1280x720, 29.97fps)
-----
These are called profiles in your Avs video editor
If you choose AVI it will offer all the avi types divx avi for TV for DVD etc
If you choose MP4 same thing it will offer you all the different types for mp4 for TV or DVD or Ipad etc
The only area that is changed  for the output video is the video scale/aspect ratio
 it will still be an mpeg or mp4 or avi etc.
Like in a DVD the video scale is 720x480? so when you choose mpeg2 for ipad it may make the video scale smaller but will still be an mpeg 2. Understand?
640x480  4.3 aspect ratio is a web size wide screen is different again.
The video scale / aspect ratio determines is how big the size of the movie screen will be on your device..
I use 640 x 480 with 4.3  for my divx avi as it plays at full screen just fine.
What is the Aspect Ratio? (4:3, 16:9, 21:9, CinemaWide)
https://www.rtings.com/info/what-is-the-aspect-ratio-4-3-16-9-21-9-cinemawide
If it helps HA there are many video tutorials on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a5_hYRiglY
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=AVS+Video+Editor+saving+formats
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Author Comment

by:H A
ID: 40295812
Thanks Merete for all the information and tips!

I just want to wait for Dave Baldwin's and Serialband's reply and then I will close this thread. I'm just looking for a second (or third) opinion on this.

Thanks again,

H.A.
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Assisted Solution

by:nickg5
nickg5 earned 200 total points
ID: 40303595
Media is such a low cost per disc, why not burn one in each of the 6 formats offered to you.
Then play on your car DVD player, pc, table top unit, etc. and compare the 6.
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Author Comment

by:H A
ID: 40303655
nickg5,

Thanks for your comment! At the moment I have only a 17" PC monitor and my little iPod Classic with a tiny screen. Almost any format will look good on those two screens. But who knows, maybe in a few years I will have a much larger screen or an apple TV. I simply don't know what devicesI will buy in the future or which media players these devices will use. That's why I agree with what's been suggested in this thread, that I should try to stay as close as possible to the original format because this should contain everything that is available for that video.

I can always 'downgrade' at any point in the future and that's what I want. I don't want to 'downgrade' (or 'downscale') at this stage. At this time. I have plenty of disc space and therefore I want to 'stay as close to the original (with all it's functions) as possible'.

Many thanks in advance,

HA
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Accepted Solution

by:
TobiasHolm earned 1600 total points
ID: 40303997
Hi!

Use B.
>b) DVD     PAL compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x576, 25fps)

This will produce a mpeg-file with the same resolution as your original files which would be your best option. It won't author a DVD data structure as earlier suggested. The B option is your best option!

/Tobias
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Author Closing Comment

by:H A
ID: 40304115
Thanks Tobias!
And thanks for the explanation why you would choose option b).
This was the concern I had with option a) and b), ... that it would author a DVD data structure (which might cause problems later on when playing the movie on certain devices).


NOTE:  I HAVE ALSO POSTED THE FOLLOWING QUESTION AS A SEPARATE QUESTION ON EE.  PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK, ...OR YOU CAN ALSO  ANSWER HERE.  WHICHEVER YOU PREFER.  MANY THANKS IN ADVANCE!
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/MultiMedia_Applications/Q_28511767.html


Can I ask you one last question?
Let's assume I was in the States (720x480 scale). When would I then choose option a) and when would I choose option d)?

a) DVD  NTSC compatible - (MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps)
d) Video: MPEG-2, 4000kbps, 720x480, 29.97fps, Audio: 224kbps

Both are MPEG-2, ... both are 720x480, ... etc.
The only difference seems to be the 'Prefix' DVD and VIDEO.
When would I choose 'DVD' and in which situation would I use 'VIDEO' ? What difference would it make?

Many thanks,

HA
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