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Do I Need Uncompressed Editing?

If you are doing work for broadcast delivery, you may want to consider capturing and editing in an uncompressed format.

Digital video cameras all use some sort of compression on the video file before saving, or the data files would be enormous. Even though the source video may have been compressed, in an uncompressed workflow, further image degradation is kept to a minimum and graphics and compositing will remain cleaner.

AJA and Black Magic Design offer capture and playback cards for uncompressed workflows. For Mac users, the ProRes 422 codec offers an alternative to uncompressed video, which lowers overhead while maintaining the quality.

Note that some HD camcorders will output an uncompressed signal via HDMI or HD-SDI during a live shoot, passing the video direct from the imaging chip before any compression is added. In a studio setting, you could get true uncompressed video into your edit system this way. Once the video has been recorded to tape or flash card though, it has been compressed and you can’t get all the quality back.

For hobby, event and corporate work being delivered on DVD, Blu-ray or the internet, compressed HD formats can look great and the end user might see no benefit to an uncompressed workflow, since the delivery format is highly compressed and the content may also be downsized.

If producing content for broadcast, always check with the broadcaster to get their official requirements regarding workflow and delivery formats that are acceptable to their standards.

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Do I Need Uncompressed Editing?