Art Adams admits he doesn’t know much about codecs but he offers a few rules of thumb he uses to when selecting a codec for a project.
Everything I know about codecs could fit on the head of a dime. That’s after compression, of course. Prior to compression I think we’re talking a knowledge base that’s about the size of a deck of cards.
There are some people (Adam Wilt) who know enough about codecs that they could design and build them. I know just enough to be dangerous and keep myself out of trouble, mostly. Here’s what I know, in a compressed nutshell.
This seems like a no-brainer, and it is, but keep in mind that there’s considerable pressure to keep bitrates down not just in post but especially on the set, where data has to be backed up before being shipped off to editorial. That often means spending a few hundred dollars more while a data manager goes into overtime making sure all the footage lands, intact, on two or more drives. Some producers would rather spend less on overtime and settle on images that are good enough rather than excellent, and indeed there are projects where good enough really is good enough. (The trick is to recognize those projects when they come along and act accordingly.)
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