Compare 50 Intermediate Codecs on One Page

Compare 50 Intermediate Codecs on One Page

In this article we’ll give you the ability to compare codecs. Fifty of them, in fact. And if that’s not enough, you’ll find a lot more detail in 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!

If you’re curious about how many codecs there are, check out the list on Wikipedia.

We’ve pulled together a list of the most common intermediate codecs used in video postproduction. So now you can compare codecs against each other. And we’re talking intermediate codecs, here, we’re not covering camera codecs.

Because companies publish their own specifications in different formats, it can be difficult to compare codecs directly. So we’ve scoured the Internet and brought them all into a single page. So, if you want to compare codecs like 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.

Filtered view

Most importantly, make sure that you check the filtering and sorting functions to compare codecs. Try typing “10-bit” or “4:2:2 10-bit” into the box below,

Things to note

Firstly, I’m listing 1080p and UHD since they are the most common image sizes. But all of these codecs can handle many other frame sizes as well.

Secondly, there’s also one flavor of h.264 for reference, though it is not a good choice for an intermediate codec!

And finally, for Variable Bitrate codecs, the numbers listed are averages. The actual number may be slightly higher or lower, depending on the complexity of the project.

Codec Frame size Mb/s (24p) GB/hr (24p) Bitrate type Lossyness Chroma Bit depth Create on Mac/PC
H.264 HD (YouTube settings) 1920 x 1080 8 4 Variable 5 High 4:2:0 8-bit Yes
H.264 UHD (YouTube settings) 3840 x 2160 40 18 Variable 5 High 4:2:0 8-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit HD Film Scan 1920 x 1080 100 45 Variable 3 Minor 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit HD Film Scan 2 1920 x 1080 180 81 Variable 2 Minimal 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit HD High 1920 x 1080 85 38 Variable 4 Some 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit HD Low 1920 x 1080 60 27 Variable 5 High 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit HD Medium 1920 x 1080 75 34 Variable 4 Some 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
DNxHD 80 1920 x 1080 80 36 Constant 5 High 4:2:2 8-bit Yes
DNxHD HQ (a.k.a DNxHD 175) 1920 x 1080 175 79 Constant 3 Minor 4:2:2 8-bit Yes
DNxHD HQX (a.k.a DNxHD 175x) 1920 x 1080 175 79 Constant 3 Minor 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
DNxHD LB (a.k.a DNxHD 36) 1920 x 1080 36 16 Constant 5 High 4:2:2 8-bit Yes
DNxHD SQ (a.k.a DNxHD 115) 1920 x 1080 115 52 Constant 4 Some 4:2:2 8-bit Yes
ProRes 422 (HD) 1920 x 1080 117 53 Variable 4 Some 4:2:2 10-bit No*
ProRes 422 HQ (HD) 1920 x 1080 176 79 Variable 3 Minor 4:2:2 10-bit No*
ProRes 422 LT (HD) 1920 x 1080 82 37 Variable 5 High 4:2:2 10-bit No*
ProRes 422 Proxy (HD) 1920 x 1080 36 16 Variable 5 High 4:2:2 10-bit No*
Cineform 10-bit UHD Film Scan 3840 x 2160 310 140 Variable 3 Minor 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit UHD Film Scan 2 3840 x 2160 580 261 Variable 2 Minimal 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit UHD High 3840 x 2160 260 117 Variable 4 Some 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit UHD Low 3840 x 2160 190 86 Variable 5 High 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
Cineform 10-bit UHD Medium 3840 x 2160 230 104 Variable 4 Some 4:2:2 10-bit Yes
DNxHR HQ 3840 x 2160 699 315 Constant 3 Minor 4:2:2 8-bit Yes
DNxHR HQX 3840 x 2160 699 315 Constant 3 Minor 4:2:2 12-bit Yes
DNxHR LB 3840 x 2160 144 65 Constant 5 High 4:2:2 8-bit Yes
DNxHR SQ 3840 x 2160 456 205 Constant 4 Some 4:2:2 8-bit Yes
ProRes 422 (UHD) 3840 x 2160 471 212 Variable 4 Some 4:2:2 10-bit No*
ProRes 422 HQ (UHD) 3840 x 2160 707 318 Variable 3 Minor 4:2:2 10-bit No*
ProRes 422 LT (UHD) 3840 x 2160 328 148 Variable 4 Some 4:2:2 10-bit No*
ProRes 422 Proxy (UHD) 3840 x 2160 145 65 Variable 5 High 4:2:2 10-bit No*
Cineform 12-bit HD Film Scan 1920 x 1080 230 104 Variable 2 Minimal 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit HD Film Scan 2 1920 x 1080 365 164 Variable 3 Minor 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit HD High 1920 x 1080 195 88 Variable 4 Some 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit HD Low 1920 x 1080 130 59 Variable 5 High 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit HD Medium 1920 x 1080 160 72 Variable 4 Some 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
DNxHD 444 (a.k.a DNxHD 350x) 1920 x 1080 350 158 Constant 2 Minimal 4:4:4 10-bit Yes
DPX HD (uncompresssed) 1920 x 1080 1590 716 Constant 1 None 4:4:4 10-bit Yes
ProRes 4444 (HD) (no alpha) 1920 x 1080 264 119 Variable 2 Minimal 4:4:4 12-bit No*
ProRes 4444 XQ (HD) (no alpha) 1920 x 1080 396 178 Variable 2 Minimal 4:4:4 12-bit No*
Uncompressed HD 10-bit 4:4:4 1920 x 1080 1490 671 Constant 1 None 4:4:4 10-bit Yes
Uncompressed HD 8-bit 4:4:4 1920 x 1080 1192 536 Constant 1 None 4:4:4 8-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit UHD Film Scan 3840 x 2160 750 338 Variable 3 Minor 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit UHD Film Scan 2 3840 x 2160 1210 545 Variable 2 Minimal 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit UHD High 3840 x 2160 630 284 Variable 4 Some 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit UHD Low 3840 x 2160 445 200 Variable 5 High 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
Cineform 12-bit UHD Medium 3840 x 2160 515 232 Variable 4 Some 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
DNxHR 444 3840 x 2160 1399 630 Constant 2 Minimal 4:4:4 12-bit Yes
DPX UHD (uncompressed) 3840 x 2160 6370 2867 Constant 1 None 4:4:4 10-bit Yes
ProRes 4444 (UHD) (w/o alpha) 3840 x 2160 1061 477 Variable 2 Minimal 4:4:4 12-bit No*
ProRes 4444 XQ (UHD ) (w/o alpha) 3840 x 2160 1591 716 Variable 2 Minimal 4:4:4 12-bit No*
Uncompressed UHD 10-bit 4:4:4 3840 x 2160 5970 2687 Constant 1 None 4:4:4 10-bit Yes
Uncompressed UHD 8-bit 4:4:4 3840 x 2160 4780 2151 Constant 1 None 4:4:4 8-bit Yes

(*) While you can create ProRes on a PC, you need to buy specialized tools. Or use unsupported and sometimes buggy reverse-engineered encoders. Other than that, you can create the rest of these codecs on a Mac or a PC with any standard video software. For a much deeper discussion of this topic, please see this article.

To sum up, did we miss anything? Maybe you can think of another codec you wish I had included? Please let me know!

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Written by David Kong

Filmmaker, teacher, coder. Head of Product Intelligence. You can learn more about my various adventures at www.davidkong.net

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