What is Video Encoding and How it Works? A Quick Guide.

By The Zype Team on October 20, 2021
Please note that MAZ Systems is now happy to be part of Zype’s suite of online video solutions, and we’re currently in the process of updating our blog content. If you’re a current customer in need of support for your applications, please visit our help center or contact us for assistance.

The landscape of video technology has witnessed a massive transformation in recent years. Gone are the days when you needed a VHS or DVD player to watch a video. Today, it’s possible to stream high-resolution videos through the internet on any device of your choice.

But if you’re new to the world of video content creation and streaming, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the vast terminology and technology.

You may wonder—What is video encoding, and how is it any different from transcoding? How does video encoding work? In what scenario do you need to encode a video? What is the best video encoder?

This is a tiny glimpse of the questions that’ll start racing through your mind the moment you think about video encoding.

So, let’s delve deeper into the concept of video encoding and try to understand what it’s all about. 

Let’s get started.

What is Video Encoding?

Simply put, video encoding can be defined as the technique of compressing a digital video file to reduce its size.

In other words, encoding a video involves using compression techniques to convert it into a smaller file.

What Does it Mean to Encode a Video?

Before you understand what video encoding is, it’s important to have a clear idea of how motion pictures are captured. Every RAW digital video is a collection of still images recorded at a specific frame rate.

For instance, if you record footage at 30 frames per second (fps), it’ll comprise 30 still photographs per second of the video. That means a small two-minute video will include a whopping 3,600 still frames.

This, in turn, will result in a huge file size, making it difficult to stream the video or store it.

That’s where video encoding steps into the picture. It provides a way to compress a video file without compromising its quality. It converts the RAW file, comprising a series of still frames, into a single continuous video.

Video Encoding vs. Transcoding

Even the most seasoned video creators often use the terms “encoding” and “transcoding” interchangeably. 

But there’s a significant difference between both these technologies.

Unlike video encoding, transcoding is the process of converting a video file from one codec format to another. It involves decoding a video from one codec format and encoding it into another.

Encoding refers to the initial compression of a RAW video file after it’s been captured. On the other hand, transcoding involves creating multiple copies of the same video file in different sizes and formats.

Transcoding is what makes it possible for people to stream videos on any device, even while they’re on the move.

How Does Video Encoding Work?

Video encoding starts as soon as you record a video using any camera. Most smartphones and camcorders use the H.264 codec format to encode digital video.

The process of video encoding involves analyzing individual frames of a video to detect identical frames. Video encoder software is designed to identify and eliminate identical frames, thus reducing the file size without degrading quality.

How to Encode Video Files?

The simplest way of encoding a video file is to use a video encoder tool. A simple online search will help you find a wide array of useful video encoder software.

But if you’re planning to launch a streaming platform, run-of-the-mill video encoding services won’t make the cut. Instead, you need to find an advanced video hosting provider, such as MAZ, that offers in-built encoding features.

Final Thoughts on Video Encoding

Video encoding is the technology that makes it possible to stream digital videos over the internet. While it does result in some loss of quality, it helps cut down the buffering time. Additionally, it lets you stream your videos on any internet connection, irrespective of its speed and bandwidth.

If you’re building an OTT streaming platform, make sure you invest in a video hosting service that comes with built-in encoding capabilities.

Get in touch with us to schedule a demo of MAZ and understand whether it’s the right fit for your streaming service.

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