Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Sagar Kumar Sahu
If you are into video editing as I am then you might have come across this term:- Video compression. It is often seen while working on projects or collaborating with teammates. That is why, the video compression concept is an important factor for video editing. It impacts file size, storage capacity, quality, and smoothness of the video.
If you want to produce visually engaging content then it is quite obvious that video editing is a challenging procedure. It requires modifying and fine-tuning video footage. Video compression is also important for preparing video files for editing workflows which can promote teamwork among editors.
That is why, this article is about the impact of video compression on collaborative procedures, file management, and efficiency in video editing workflows.
What Is Video Compression?
Compression of video files is the process used to reduce their file sizes. Here, the main aim is to make videos easier to render, store, share, and upload without taking up too much disk space and time. For example, If you shoot a 10-minute video in 4K resolution then it raw file can be as big as 50 GB. But after compression, it can reduce this size down into something more manageable. So in short, compression breaks this big file down into more manageable pieces
There are two general categories of compression: lossy and lossless.
Lossy Compression: This form of file reduction is the most frequently used. It shrinks file sizes by cutting some video data out. Loss in quality can range from barely noticeable to quite notable. It depends on how aggressively the compression process is used. I often use this when I want to send quick previews to clients or teammates quickly. It uploads and downloads quickly but it may not deliver top-tier quality results.
Lossless Compression: Lossless compression preserves all video data. File size will still decrease but not as significantly. That is why, quality remains untouched. So when working on high-stakes projects such as advertisements or short films I always go for lossless compression. And yes, it means larger files which may take longer to share but the quality remains uncompromised.
Why Video Compression Is Needed
Video compression may seem unnecessary at first, but let me give you some insight. Video compression serves a number of important purposes: –
File Size Reduction: File size reduction should be one of the top considerations when producing video. Even one hour of uncompressed 1080p can consume over 150GB of storage space when uncompressed (not including all takes, versions, or projects you may be working on). I remember my cousin working on a documentary where we had over 2 terabytes of footage. But compressing saved us from having to constantly manage hard drives.
Upload and Download Speed: Just like any other field, Time is the most important in video editing. A smaller file size will ensure a quicker upload/download experience. So tight deadlines may not put pressure on you as often.
Sharing and Collaboration: If you are working in teams, then you might feel difficulty while sharing large files. Not only because of time limitations but also because many online collaboration platforms impose size restrictions or automatically compress the file you upload. That is why, to make the work faster and more efficient, compression is necessary.
Streaming: If you are creating videos for online platforms then compressed files are essential for smooth streaming. I once uploaded an uncompressed video onto a streaming service and experienced such severe buffering that I found the video unwatchable.
Cost-Efficiency: Storing large files needs more expensive and space-consuming storage. Video compression does not only save space but also money in the long run.
Video Editing Workflow
I have mentioned some video editing steps that I and my friends generally follow. Let me tell you that I have tried to oversimplify all the steps. Each step is complex process and it presents its own set of challenges. You can overcome the challenges by practice and constant learning:
Preparation: This is the first stage and I usually start by gathering all my raw files, scripts, and any other relevant materials that I will require for editing. I generally create folders to organize everything. It helps me drag and drop elements that I need for video editing.
Assembly: Here you have to create a rough cut. Arrange all of your clips on a timeline but don’t focus on perfection yet. It is done to get an understanding of flow and structure.
Editing: When assembly is complete, the fun really begins. There are many things you have to do like cutting, trimming, and arranging clips to tell your story. Other stuff like adding transitions, effects, and creative elements can make your video more attractive. I often create multiple versions and here file size becomes increasingly relevant.
Sound Design: It includes adding music, voiceovers, and effects. Although this step might appear very simple, this process generally takes much more time than expected. Working closely with sound designers on this process also requires exchanging large audio files.
Color Grading: Color Grading refers to the process of altering or correcting the hues within your video project. One of the final stages that can have a huge effect on the mood and feel of a production. Compressed files are good in this step if working with a colorist on collaborative efforts.
Rendering and Export: After you have completed your video editing, the final step here is rendering and exporting it as one file. Depending on your requirements and preference for compression options, different forms might be selected here.
The Impact of Video Compression on Editing Workflows:
By now, I hope you are well aware of what video compression is and why you must use it. But how does it directly affect the actual editing process?
File Size Reduction:
Video files can be large and consume significant storage space. Video compressor tools allow editors to reduce file sizes without compromising on quality. Smaller file sizes enable faster file transfers, smoother playback, and efficient storage management.
You can quickly drag and drop files into your editing software without waiting for manual upload. Personally, I have noticed that my video editing software runs smoother when dealing with compressed files.
Increased Editing Speed:
Compressed video files are easier to work with and use fewer processing resources while editing. That means editing performance will be enhanced, rendering times will be sped up, and the workflow will be more effective. It means the editors can make real-time modifications, preview effects, and move easily around the timeline.
Compatibility with Editing Software:
The video compressor may help in compatibility with many video editing programs. Editors can avoid problems like file import difficulties. Sometimes, the editing software converts the video into file formats they support but if you compress a video, then you can avoid that. It will save you time and also extra barriers will be removed.
Preservation of Visual Quality:
Editors can work with compressed files without suffering a heavy loss of detail. But the video compression should be effective with proper technique so that it can maintain a high degree of visual quality. By maintaining the quality of the footage when editing, you can make sure the final output satisfies the required requirements.
The Role of Video Compression in Collaboration:
File Sharing and Transfers:
As compressed video files are smaller in size, team members can easily share and transfer them more quickly. If you do a little bit of research, you will get to know that, Compressed files also come in handy for collaboration platforms and cloud-based storage services because they use less bandwidth and more storage space.
Control and Revision Management:
In the process of collaborative editing, many team members focus on various aspects of a video project. That is why, the video compression process helps in effective version control and revision management. This means it makes things easy to keep track of changes, evaluate different revisions, and go back to old updates whenever necessary.
Seamless Collaboration Across Locations:
Video compression makes it easier for teams to work together effectively across geographical distances in today’s globalized and remote work contexts. Remote team members can participate in real-time, give input, and make modifications using compressed video files because they can be shared and accessed remotely.
Collaboration with Clients and Stakeholders:
When working with clients and other stakeholders who might not have access to fast internet or sophisticated video editing tools, the video compressor tool is essential. Even non-technical stakeholders can Simply share compressed videos for assessment. It provides smooth collaboration and effective feedback gathering.
Improved Collaboration Feedback Loops:
Team members can smoothly share and review compressed files. And this improves the communication among the team members. Editors can rapidly share new versions, make appropriate changes, and receive prompt feedback which improves the entire collaborative process.
Enhanced Project Organization and Management:
Project management and organization are streamlined with the use of video compression. Editors can store and manage a greater volume of video assets smoothly without any worries. As compressed files take up less storage space, it is quite easy and fast to manage video libraries and project archives for a more structured and organized workflow.
Simplified Distribution and Delivery:
The distribution and transmission of edited videos depend heavily on effective video compression. Since compressed files use less bandwidth and load more quickly for users, they are more suited for streaming services, video-sharing websites, and online platforms.
Problems with Over-Compression
Even though compression has a lot of benefits, excess of something is always bad. Over-compression is a real concern, and here is why:
- Loss of Quality: The main issue is a significant loss in video quality. Over-compressed videos can display artifacts, blurring, or even pixelation that was not present in the original file. I once had a project where I tried to make the file size super small for easy sharing but I over-compressed the video. When played back, the visual quality was so poor it was practically unusable. The potential drop in quality is mainly seen in lossy compression.
- Audio Sync Issues: Over-compression can affect not just the video but also the audio. You can experience lag between the audio and video. I remember working on a music video(just doing time pass) but the audio got slightly out of sync due to over-compression. It took a considerable amount of time to fix it in post-production.
- Limited Scalability: If you ever need to use the footage for a larger display or high-resolution format, the quality will not be good at all after over-compression. You will see pixelated quality on a big screen.
- Editing Constraints: Heavily compressed files can be harder to edit. For example, some compression techniques limit how precisely you can cut or trim a video. It is kind of forcing you to make cuts at specific points that the compression algorithm allows. This can make the editing process frustrating.
- Computational Burden: Highly compressed files can sometimes demand more CPU of your computer, especially if they are using a complex compression algorithm. Your software has to decompress these files in real time as you edit which may slow down your workflow. It is very important if you are working on a less powerful machine.
Workflows and teamwork in video editing rely heavily on video compression. It enables effective team collaboration, quick file transfers, enhanced editing performance, and efficient team storage. The editing process is optimized and productivity is increased via video compression. It shrinks file sizes without sacrificing visual quality(If done properly).
The significance of video compression will be important in maintaining effective workflows and productive collaborative video projects.