She hasn't met a movie format that she liked.
FE Home page > FE Video Demos page > This Movie Video-Audio-Container Formats page
! Preliminary ! A few more video-audio-container examples
may be added occasionally --- and more info on 'players' may be added.
< Go to MOVIE SAMPLES (video-audio-container samples) below. >
(Skip the Introduction)
Anyone who has been creating and converting movie files around the years 2000 to 2011 knows that the movie file formats (for video, audio, container) are still in a state of change. 'Codecs' (coders and de-coders) for movie files are still being devised --- to reduce file sizes as much as possible while keeping quality (video and audio) at an appealing level.
In contrast, image file formats (and their coding and decoding algorithms) have been pretty settled since the late 1990's --- with JPEG, PNG, and GIF formats being popular and stable. The SVG (scalable vector graphics) format is perhaps the main example of a 'less-than-a-movie' image file format that may still see some changes in features and in coding and decoding algorithms.
[Well ... there IS the area of 3D models and their viewers, in the mix of visual presentation possibilities. That area is in a great state of flux also.]
Just when there seemed to be a 'light at the end of the tunnel' in the search for minimal-sized-high-quality video-audio recording formats, the popularity of 3D movies indicates that there may be a push to develop better 'codecs' for new-and-improved 3D movie files --- with the need to reduce file sizes as much as possible while maintaining high-quality 3D video and bazillion channel audio.
So, instead of movie formats perhaps settling down to about 3 highly desirable, relatively compact formats within the next 5 years (by 2016), it looks like it might be about 10 years (about 2021) before we see a 'stabilization' of movie formats.
And if holographic-like movies become feasible around that time, we may see a further string of developments in movie (video and audio) formats to handle moving 3D scenes that we can walk around (and walk within).
Will animation formats EVER settle down?
Some semblance of video-audio order, via YouTube :
The phenomenon of popular movies being made available, in large numbers, from sites like YouTube, for playing on computers of various types (desktops, laptops, netbooks, pads, pods, game-boxes, and phones) has created some order out of the video-audio chaos.
The YouTube site takes movies, submitted in various formats, and converts them to a YouTube-standard format --- of reasonable size (for relatively fast downloading) and of reasonable quality (video and audio).
Note: The YouTube 'standard' format for video encoding has actually changed at least a couple of times in the 2005-2011 time frame. And the 'standard' will probably change again, as noted at the bottom of this web page.
You can find many comments on the web from people who have uploaded their movies to YouTube only to find that there are various types of problems in the audio or video, after their submission goes through the YouTube conversion process.
Those people know (now) that the movie file scene is populated with so many video-and-audio formatting possibilities that it can make for some trying times in making movies playable on commonly available movie players. Player examples :
These players (QuickTime, Windows Media Player, Mplayer, Flash-players) are usually available in two forms :
Some of the newer video formats (such as H.264) are still (in 2011) undergoing enhancements (feature additions). The movie-player developers are continually coming out with new versions of their players to handle the recent additions and enhancements in formats --- and, more specifically, to handle the additions and changes in the IMPLEMENTATION of those formats in de-coders.
[It's one thing to have IDEA(s) for a new video/audio format --- it's another thing to IMPLEMENT the idea(s) well in computer code.]
In order to have a good chance of playing most movie files that you might encounter, it is best to try to keep your movie players up to date, with release levels at least as high as these (circa 2010-2011) :
There may be some separate decoder libraries that these players use. Those libraries may also need to be installed or updated.
I am getting close to explaining the intent of this web page, but first a little more background information.
The 3 formats of movie files :
It was mentioned on the FE Video Demos page that, besides the video format and the audio format within a movie file, there is also the 'container' format --- that is, the format that is used to 'interleave' the video and the audio data together.
Here is an introduction to 'containers' for video and audio (Wikipedia) --- with links to info on coding formats for video and audio.
Often movie files are referred to by the 'container' name, without specifying the format of the video and audio streams within the container.
One man, who makes movie files for others and who is often frustrated that they specify a container format but no format for the video and audio, explains it this way.
The container is like the bread on a sandwich. If you ordered a sandwich you would not simply specify the bread that you want, like 'whole wheat' (the 'container').
You would also need to specify the contents of the sandwich ... such as peanut butter and jelly ... or turkey and lettuce ... or ham and cheese (video and audio).
Actually, this man should probably have his customers specify which player(s) (and which version) the customer has in mind for playing the movie file. That would probably be much easier for the customer to specify than the video and audio formats.
Furthermore, this would probably be more likely to result in a satisfied customer --- avoiding 'but you said'/'but I meant' arguments.
You could probably find this guy's web site by Googling on the terms 'movie sandwich bread container video'.
The 3 formats --- video, audio, and container --- are used to organize the following list of movie samples.
The Intent of this page :
This page is intended to point out movie file formats (specifically, the combinations of video, audio, and container formats) that are playable on at least one of the several popular movie players mentioned above. The combinations that are presented are based on specific examples of playable movies.
I have run the 'ffmpeg -i' command on various movie clips collected from the web and other sources, and I have assembled the ffmpeg output for the various movie file formats below. The movie clips are ones that I have found playable in at least one of the several movie players mentioned above.
The ffmpeg outputs are shown below, in order by the triplets comprised of video-audio-container format abbreviations. Hence the sample ffmpeg outputs are basically in order by the first of the 3 formats, the video stream format.
The first 2 lines of the ffmpeg output (the lines that start with 'Input' and 'Duration') are mostly 'container' info. The last 2 lines ('Stream #0.0' and 'Stream #0.1') are mostly video and audio info.
I have not found a REALLY good explanation of the 'tbr', 'tbn', and 'tbc' values that show on the 'Video' lines of the 'ffmpeg -i' output. If I ever find a REAL good explanation, I may put it here.
In the mean time, you can try Googling ffmpeg tbr tbn tbc.
You can use the Find Text facility of your web browser to quickly locate examples below. For example, if you want to look for samples of 'flv' containers, you could search for '-FLV' or '-flv'. And if you want to look for samples involving mp3 audio, you could search for '-MP3-' or '-mp3-'.
The main container formats include ASF (closed source, Microsoft may claim royalty rights to all implementations), AVI (early Microsoft), FLV ('Flash', closed source, Adobe may claim royalty rights to all implementations), MKV (Matroska, open standard), MP4 (a Motion Pictures Experts Group standard, MPEG-4 part 14 ; similar to MOV and 3GP container formats), MPEG (an older Motion Pictures Experts Group standard), OGG (open spec of xiph.org), WEBM (Google, open, Matroska-based).
The main video formats include H.264 (a standard for Blu-ray; used by YouTube ; said to be the best, around 2010-2011), MPEG1 (Motion Picture Experts' early standard, CD era ; said to be the most widely compatible world-wide, circa 2011), MPEG2 (Motion Picture Experts' later standard, DVD era), MPEG4 (Motion Picture Experts' recent standard, into the Blu-ray era), Sorenson (proprietary ; several versions ; used for a while in some Flash container movies), Theora (open spec of xiph.org ; not as small file sizes as H264 and VP8), VP6 and VP7 (On2 proprietary), VP8 (Google is opening the spec, after acquiring On2), WMV2 and WMV3 (Microsoft may claim royalty rights to all implementations, hence 'encumbered').
The main audio formats include AAC (designed as improvement on MP3 ; an audio standard for iPhone, iPod, iPad, Nintendo, PlayStation, and more), MP2 (Motion Picture Experts' standard, MPEG-1 'Layer 2'), MP3 (Motion Picture Experts' standard, MPEG-1 'Layer 3'), PCM (method of converting analog signals to digital ; a high-quality standard used in CD, DVD, Blu-ray audio recording), VORBIS (open spec of xiph.org ; unencumbered by patents ; produces small files), WMAV2 and WMAV3 (designed for voice playback applications ; Microsoft may claim royalty rights to all implementations, hence 'encumbered').
SAMPLE PLAYABLE MOVIE FORMATS : (at least 10 different types)
(video-audio-container - sorted by video format)
FLV(Sorenson)-MP3-FLV : (from a web page circa 2008)
The 'Totem' player showed that the 'flv' video data is in a Sorenson format.
H264-AAC-FLV : (a YouTube file circa 2010)
H264-AAC-FLV : (an ffmpeg conversion from H264-PCM-MKV)
H264-AAC-MP4 : (an ffmpeg conversion from H264-PCM-MKV - uploadable to YouTube)
'ffmpeg' probably lists the 'mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2' container formats together because their coding/decoding algorithms are quite similar, if not the same.
H264-PCM(s16le)-MKV : (a 'lossless' recording ; an ffmpeg 'x11grab')
MPEG1VIDEO-MP2-MPEG : (from a web page circa 2008)
MPEG1VIDEO-MP2-MPEG : (an ffmpeg conversion from H264-PCM-MKV)
(Note: Each of these 'mpeg' containers of data are in a '.mpg' suffix file, instead of '.mpeg'.)
MPEG4-MP3-AVI : (an ffmpeg conversion from H264-PCM-MKV)
MPEG4-PCM-AVI : (from a web page circa 2009)
THEORA-VORBIS-OGG : ('ripped' from a DVD, for backup,
in case the DVD were to be scratched)
(Note: This 'ogg' container is in a '.ogv' suffix file, instead of '.ogg'.)
VP6F-MP3-FLV : (from a web page circa 2009)
WMV2-WMAV2-ASF : (from a web page circa 2008)
(Note: This 'asf' container format is in a '.wmv' suffix file, instead of '.asf'. Furthermore, the audio data is in Stream #0.0, while most other movie file formats have video in that stream.)
THE MOVIE SAMPLES - SORTED by CONTAINER FORMAT :
Since many movies are 'type-cast' according to their container format (flash, mpeg, avi, etc.), here is a list of the above video-audio-container combinations, sorted by container format. There are exceptions to this verbal type-casting. Sometimes the video format is used, as indicated in some examples detailed below this list.
The several FLV (FLash Video) container 'combos' in this list are probably indicative of YouTube videos changing their 'standard' of video and audio encoding over the years. For example, YouTube may have migrated over the years from Sorenson to VP6 to H264 video encoding. So you may find that old YouTube videos use Sorenson or VP6 for video encoding, and recent (2010-2011) YouTube videos use H264 video encoding.
The name confusion (and avoiding it)
Note that you hardly ever hear of people referring to movies as being ASF or MKV (Matroska) movies. Rather you hear/read of 'wmv' or 'h.264' movies --- the video encoding rather than the container encoding.
I believe this inconsistency in 'typing' of movies leads to lots of confusion --- for example, sometimes referring to an H264-xxx-MKV movie as a Matroska movie and other times referring to it as an H.264 movie. Further, sometimes OGG files are referred to as 'ogv' or Theora files. And ASF files are usually referred to as 'wmv' files. And then there's the phenomenon of the internals (video and audio encoding) in 'flv' files changing over the years.
This is why, in these web pages, I have tried to avoid a lot of the confusion about movie formats by using the triplet --- video-audio-container formats.
'ffmpeg' formats :
The utility program 'ffmpeg' is a popular program (with libraries of coders and decoders) used to convert and create movie (video-only and video-with-audio) and audio files.
For reference, below is the output of the command 'ffmpeg -formats' (circa 2010).
Although this output is a rather jumbled list of 'container' and 'video' and 'audio' format 'codecs' (coders and decocers), the output indicates the ffmpeg-supported container formats and the ffmpeg video and audio codecs.
The names can be confusing. For example, there is an 'flv' CONTAINER format and an 'flv' VIDEO format (Flash Video). Admittedly, this list is not easy to decipher at first (or second) glance. But it is a fairly compact list that shows the wide variety of video, audio, and container formats that were developed up to about 2009.
Note that there are a heck of a lot more formats (video, audio, AND container) than seen in the ten or so 'popular' movie examples seen above.
For more info on 'ffmpeg' than the Wikipedia 'FFmpeg' page, this ffmpeg FAQ page can be very helpful. It includes examples of coding for movies playable on iPod and PSP (Play Station Portable) --- as well as parameters to use for high-quality MPEG-4 (Blu-ray-1080p, 3D) and MPEG-2 (DVD and hi-def-720p TV) and MPEG-1 (CD and low-def-480i TV) video --- and for interlaced video.
For even more info on 'ffmpeg', this ffmpeg DOC page may be helpful.
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Page was created 2011 May 16.