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Best Format for Archiving a Digital Video

- I've created some digital video content that is, primarily, intended for online viewing only (it's a web series). However, it would be wise (in my experience) to archive the videos offline for future use (e.g. Blu-ray video creation). I've got the audio masters rendered to 24-bit FLAC files but I am not sure of what format is best for encoding the videos. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Differing from those analog videos which package the signal into virtual cassette or records, digital videos such as online streaming videos will be practically untraceable if not being saved in time. It is wise that, we archive our digital video to some formats that are supported by varied platforms for various uses. Due to a fact that different video formats are supported by different platforms, we will inevitably face the selection of video formats each time we play our digital video on a platform to ensure that the videos can be played successfully. Then what is the best format for archiving?

How to choose a proper format for archiving your video? In this post, you will get to know the complete guide on how to choose the best format for digital video archiving:

Part 1: Things You Need to Know to Archive a Digital Video

Before finding the best format for archiving to archive a digital video, some technical stuff you need to know about in advance, which can help you make a better decision on archiving your digital video later:

1. Codec and container. Video container format (MKV, MP4, AVI, MOV and FLV, etc) refers to which the video data is stored, while video codec (H.264, HEVC, and MPEG-1/2, etc.) functions compressing the video data.

2. Lossy compression and lossless compression.

    Lossy compression is a data compression method that makes compromise on some information to achieve a relatively small file size, such as asf, h.264. Although named in lossy, it doesn't mean many data loss in the compression. Actually, with its proper compression, the loss is so trivial that is indistinguishable to human eyes. Most video and audio are lossy compressed, but they produce very high compression levels.
    Lossless compression, on the contrary, doesn't make the loss of any data during its compression process. However, it results in a relatively larger file size.

3. Arrange your new content a home. After your digital videos are archived, they will need somewhere to be stored and you can easily get access to it. Tidy up your disk and make a room for the newcomers.

Now that you've known some technical tips on archiving a digital video, next we will see what is the best format for archiving.

Part 2: Pick Up the Best Formats for Archiving a Digital Video

The truth is there is no one "best" best archiving video format for all cases. You need to know some commonly used formats which are compatible to different platforms and diversified devices, and then pick up the best archiving video format for your own case. Let's have a look at these popular formats below, and learn where can they be adapted for:

    FLV: FLV file uses h.263 encoding with extension of .flv. The formed file is characterized by small size, fast loading speed, and easiness to transfer and share. In general, the flv file is packaged in the SWF player. Besides, .flv can prevent the original address form being downloaded easily so as to protect the copyright.
    SWF: SWF file, also known as flash files, is used for multimedia, vector graphics and Adobe Flash formats of ActionScript. It's also widely applied to webpage design, animation production etc.
    RMVB: RMVB boasts features of closed source and high compression rate. "VB" refers to the variable bitrate which can reduce the bitrate in the film segment with little or simple picture change; on the contrary, it can improve the bitrate in the film segment with large picture change or dynamic picture to achieve a balance between file size and image quality. RMVB is very popular in the transmission of Asian films, especially animation and Chinese films.
    MKV: MKV file is compatible and supports multi-track, multi subtitle, soft subtitle, paragraph, etc. It's also equipped with variable frame rate, error detection, and repairability, strong fault tolerance. MKV uses open-source multimedia packaging format and easy to play without copyright restrictions. Therefore, it doesn't exist in the officially released videos.
    3GP: This format is for the successful playback of the video of 3G mobile phones on 2G and 4G mobile phones. 3GP file is with small size and strong mobility, which is suitable for mobile devices.
    AVI: It's the most commonly used audio and video file format characterized by good image quality and audio fidelity, high compression capacity, smooth running on Windows PC and efficient playback of AVI files stored on hard disk and optical disk. It uses MPEG-2 compression, a lossy one. AVI is the most basic and commonly used file format on Windows.
    MP4: MP4 file is greatly compatible. It adopts different coding algorithms for different objects to improve compression efficiency and allows flexible allocation of code rate between different objects, more bytes for important objects, and less bytes for secondary objects to achieve better results at low code rate. MP4 adopts MPEG-4 compression to store videos that need to be played on mobile devices. A narrow bandwidth is adopted by MPEG-4 to obtain the best image quality with the least data through the frame reconstruction technology, compression and transmission of data. Its main applications: online streaming, video phone, CD, TV broadcasting.

Part 3: Rapid Access to the Best Format for Archiving a Digital Video

Sometimes you may not find a proper format for video archiving. And it will take quite a long time to get an appropriate one. Therefore, you need a video file converter to help you get things done. The powerful tool I often use is VideoProc.


VideoProc is one-stop video processing software featured by video format conversion. Not only does it support the import of more than 370 video container formats, but it provides you with up to 420 output video formats.

There're all kinds of video formats that clearly classified in the column of Target Format in VideoProc for you to get faster access to your intended output format. And next, we'll show you the concrete steps on video format conversion with VideoProc.

Free Download VideoProc to Convert Any Video to the Best Format for Archiving!

After you have downloaded and installed VideoProc on your Windows or Mac , follow simple 4 steps to convert your video format to the best format for archiving.

Step 1: Launch VideoProc then click Video on its launching interface.

Video Processing

Step 2: Click +Video on the top toolbar and then import one or multiple videos (batch processing is allowed by clicking +Video Folder).

You can also drag and drop videos to the center blank area. If your videos are well-packed into one video folder, you then can click the +Video Folder button next to the +Video button.

Add Pending Video

Step 3: Choose an archived format for your digital video at the bottom toolbar.

After you've finished importing the video to its center panel, the pending video will be highlighted in blue. Now you can choose the best format to archive - For users who care much about a better quality, we recommend you pick up the lossless format. If you want the digital video to be archived in a DVD, ISO image and MPEG-2, both formats are recommended. Otherwise, the AVI format is a good choice for you. For whom has mountains of video file to be archived thus call for a relative smaller file size, we recommend you MP4 format (HEVC codec recommended). MP4 (HEVC), the lossy format, has a high compression rate which can reduce the lossy to the minimum stage and retain the good quality of the archived video.

Archiving Format Selction

Step 4: Tap RUN on the bottom right to start the conversion.


To sum up, the selection of the best format for archiving a digital video should be based on comprehensive consideration of both quality and its file size. With the powerful assistance of some media converter tool, you can convert the digital video file to any format that is best to be archived on your device. If you worried about choosing the best format for archiving digital video before you get to know VideoProc, you can wipe your worries out of your mind now. Free download VideoProc and archive your digital video with the most suitable format anywhere you require for.


Nicole Moore

Nicole Moore is a self-motivated, creative copywriter with four years of marketing and advertising experience, specializing in video, audio, images, advertisements, news digital content etc. With a partiality for travelling and shooting, Nicole also loves video post-production and is keen on sharing her video processing tips and latest masterpieces to social media.

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