Compress your stop motion: Codecs, Containers, Wrappers & Video Formats

by Joost | Last Updated: June 28, 2022
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Any digital film or video is a combination of ones and zeros. You can play around with that data a lot to make a large file smaller with no visible difference.

There are different technologies, trade names and standards. Fortunately, there are a number of presets that make the choice easier, and soon the Adobe Media Encoder will take even more work off your hands.

Compress your stop motion: Codecs, Containers, Wrappers & Video Formats

In this article we explain the basics as simply as possible and perhaps there will be a more technical follow-up on this topic.

Compression

Because uncompressed video uses way too much data, information is simplified to make distribution easier. The higher the compression, the smaller the file.

You will then lose more image information. This usually involves lossy compression, with loss of quality. Lossless compression is not commonly used for video distribution, only during the production process.

Codecs

This is the method to shrink the data, i.e. the compression algorithm. A distinction is made between audio and video. The better the algorithm, the less the loss of quality.

Playmobil petting zoo stop motion
Playmobil petting zoo stop motion

It does entail a higher processor load to “unpack” the image and sound again.

Popular formats: Xvid Divx MP4 H264

Container / Wrapper

The container adds information to the video such as metadata, subtitles and indexes for DVD or Blu-Ray discs.

It is not part of the image or sound, it is a kind of paper around the candy. By the way, there are codecs that have the same name as the container such as: MPEG MPG WMV

In the film industry, the MXF (camera recording) and MOV (ProRes recording/editing) are widely used wrappers. In multimedia land and online, the MP4 is the most common container format.

These terms in themselves do not say much about quality. That depends on the profile being used. For example, you should pay attention to the degree of compression. The resolution may also differ.

An HD 720p file with less compression can sometimes be nicer than a Full HD 1080p file with a higher compression.

During a production, use the highest possible quality for as long as possible and determine the final destination and quality during the distribution phase.

Compression settings for stop motion

These settings are the basis. Of course it depends on the source material. It makes no sense to encode 20Mbps or ProRes if the source material was only 12Mbps.

 High Quality Vimeo / YoutubeDownload Preview / MobileBackup / Master (Professional)
ContainerMP4MP4MOV
CodecH.264H.264ProRes 4444 / DNxHD HQX 10-bit
Frame RateOriginalOriginalOriginal
Frame SizeOriginalHalf ResolutionOriginal
Bit Rate20Mbps3MbpsOriginal
Audio FormatAACAACUncompressed
Audio Bitrate320kbps128kbpsOriginal
Filesize+/- 120 MB per minute+/- 20 MB per minuteGBs per minute


1 MB = 1 MegaByte – 1 Mb = 1 Megabit – 1 MegaByte = 8 Megabit

Keep in mind that video services like YouTube will re-encode the video clips you upload to different formats and resolutions based on various presets.