Compare 50 Intermediate Codecs on One Page

Compare 50 Intermediate Codecs on One Page

This is a companion post to our mega-article on codecs: How to Choose the Right Codec for Every Project. Take a look at that if you haven’t seen it yet!

We’ve pulled together a list of the most common intermediate codecs used in video postproduction, so that you can compare codecs against each other. We’re talking intermediate codecs, so we’re not covering camera codecs. Each company publishes their own specifications in different formats, but we’ve scoured the Internet and brought them all into a single page. If you want to compare ProRes vs DNxHD, ProRes vs Cineform, DNxHD vs. DPX, or any other combination, you’ve come to the right place. This table can help you choose the right codec for each project.

Make good use of the filtering and sorting functions! Try typing “10-bit” or “4:2:2 10-bit” into the box below:

Notes:

  • I chose to list 1080p and UHD since they are the most common image sizes, but all of these codecs can handle many other frame sizes as well.
  • I also threw in one flavor of h.264 for reference, though it is not a good choice for an intermediate codec!
  • For Variable Bitrate codecs, the numbers listed are averages, though the actual number may be slightly higher or lower, depending on the complexity of the project.

*ProRes can be created on a PC, but only using certain specialized tools (purchase necessary) or with unsupported (and sometimes buggy) reverse-engineered encoders. The rest of these codecs can be created on a Mac or a PC with any standard video software. For a much deeper discussion of this topic, please see this article.

Is there another codec you wish I had included? Please let me know!

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Written by David Kong

Filmmaker, teacher, coder. Director of Content at Frame.io. You can learn more about my various adventures at www.davidkong.net

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