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What is a good VJ codec / file format?

We have found that QuickTime PhotoPNG is great for VJ’s, has good response when playing; backwards, forwards, randomly and scratching. It also supports alpha channel. However heavy alpha channels can dramatically increase file sizes and load on the playback system, resulting in playback not being very smooth on lower specification systems. If alpha channel is not required then QuickTime PhotoJPEG gives good results. Like QuickTime PhotoPNG this has a good response when playing; backwards, forwards, randomly, scratching and adjusting speed. DivX or XVID give better compression ratio and smaller file sizes but at the cost of greater load on the CPU and scratch response is poor.

If you don''t intend to scratch, reverse, pause, random frame play, or adjust speed then using a different file format like H.264 will give you much smaller file sizes but not great for VJ''s that like mashing it up. However, that said setting ''Key all Frames'' in compression settings is recommend for real time video manipulation if the codec has this option. Codecs for example H.264 can give good results when setting ''Key all Frames'' allowing better control for VJ''s but at the cost of file size.
For more information and test results carried out on different file formats with VJing in mind take a look at this site.
Also an interesting discussion about H.264 being the new favourite for some VJ''s


If you have a file format you would like to see supported on please get in touch via the contact us link. If enough people request a particular codec file format, we will support it. Some VJ software and media server developers are creating new codecs, we will be looking into supporting these, if they become popular, are open source and well supported by other software developers.



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