What Is Codec in Video Editing?

If you’re new to video editing, you might have heard the term “codec” being thrown around. What exactly is a codec and why is it important in video editing? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about codecs.

What Is a Codec?

A codec, short for “coder-decoder,” is a software or hardware tool that compresses and decompresses digital audio and video files. Codecs are used to reduce the file size of audio and video files, making them easier to store, transfer, and stream.

There are two types of codecs: lossless codecs and lossy codecs. Lossless codecs preserve all the information in the original file while reducing its size. Lossy codecs discard some information from the original file to achieve a smaller size.

Why Are Codecs Important in Video Editing?

Codecs play a crucial role in video editing because they affect the quality of your final output file. When you import a video into your editing software, it’s important to choose the right codec for your project.

Choosing the wrong codec can result in poor image quality or even corrupt files. For example, if you use a lossy codec with high compression on footage that has a lot of movement or detail, you may end up with artifacts or distortion in your final output file.

Common Video Codecs

Here are some common video codecs you might come across in video editing:

  • H.264: This is one of the most widely used codecs for web streaming and Blu-ray discs. It’s a lossy codec that offers high compression rates without sacrificing too much quality.
  • ProRes: This codec was developed by Apple for use in Final Cut Pro.

    It’s a lossless codec that preserves all the information in your original file. It’s often used in professional video production.

  • DNxHD: This codec was developed by Avid for use in its editing software. It’s a lossy codec that offers high-quality compression for HD footage.


In conclusion, codecs are an essential part of video editing. They allow you to compress and decompress digital audio and video files, making them easier to store, transfer, and stream.

Choosing the right codec for your project is crucial for achieving the best quality output file. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing codecs in your next video editing project.