What is video transcoding and what does it do?

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What is video transcoding and what does it do 1

Understanding the complexities of video processing is essential in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, regardless if you’re a professional or an enthusiast. Video transcoding is a key process in delivering flawless video experiences across different platforms and devices. 

But what exactly is video transcoding and what does it entail? In this post, we will explore the fundamentals of video transcoding, including its purpose, the technology behind it, and its significant impact on how we consume and manage video content in an interconnected world. 

What is video transcoding?

Video transcoding allows for the conversion of video files from one format to another. It guarantees that videos can be viewed across different devices and platforms optimizing file sizes for efficient storage and maintaining the quality. Video content is adjusted to meet specific requirements, whether it’s for streaming, playback, or storage purposes.

How transcoding differs from encoding

Prior to delving further into video transcoding, we should see the difference between encoding and transcoding. So let’s take a look right now:

  • Encoding involves converting raw video content into a digital format suitable for storage and transmission, often including compression to maintain quality and small file size. 
  • Transcoding, on the other side, goes beyond encoding by encompassing decoding and re-encoding of video files. It converts existing encoded videos into diverse formats or resolutions, enhancing their adaptability for different uses.

As we can see, transcoding is much more versatile and complex than encoding.

The purpose of video transcoding

Video transcoding serves important purposes, such as compressing files to reduce size, converting formats, and optimizing content for different devices. Each function is really beneficial to ensure smooth playback and compatibility across any platform and device.

Let’s see this in-depth:

Compression and file size reduction

The idea of transcoding matters when it comes to reducing the size of video files through compression without sacrificing quality. Why does it matter? For instance, streaming platforms need smaller file sizes for quicker loading speeds and less consumption of bandwidth. 

Format conversion

Video transcoding converts formats. A great video conversion tool turns video files into formats that can be played on devices with smooth and uninterrupted playback. This is great since each platform and device has its own preferred video format. For instance, a video that runs smoothly on a desktop computer may not be compatible with a smartphone or gaming console.

Optimization for different devices

Video transcoding customizes video files to suit different devices. The customization involves tweaking resolution, bitrate, and aspect ratio to align with the specifications of a device. Such adjustments guarantee that viewers enjoy optimal viewing experiences no matter what.

How video transcoding works

Let’s delve into the stages of video transcoding, including the tools and software typically used, and examine the different codecs and formats that come into play:

Steps involved in the transcoding process

  1. In the decoding stage, the original video file is transformed into an uncompressed format, eliminating any compression applied during the initial encoding process.
  2. After decoding, the video can go through various processing steps (such as resizing, cropping, or applying filters) to optimize it for its intended purpose.
  3. Once the video has been processed, it’s re-encoded into the desired format. This involves using compression algorithms to reduce the file size and make sure that it is still compatible with the target device or platform.

Finally, the re-encoded video is packaged together with any necessary metadata, subtitles, or audio tracks. This last step will create the file that’s later to be used for playback or distribution.




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