Open Source Video Codecs – FFmpeg/FFV1

In the search for the perfect video preservation codec, an interesting contender has surfaced.

Traditionally, (and with many good reasons) the JPEG2000 codec has been the “go-to” for many media archivists.  Certainly I’ve been asked to output this format for many projects and the features of this codec make it an excellent for preservation copies.

But recently, I’m getting more and more requests to utilize the FFmpeg/FFV1 codec.  The lossless compression claim is very compelling along with the open source architecture.  One could argue that perhaps these files will have a longer shelf life and won’t immediately fade into digital obsolescence.

To give you an idea of compression rates, recently I digitized some video at 10-bit uncompressed which produces a file size of approximately 100 GB per content hour.  When I encoded the files to ffv1, the file size drops to about 25 GB per content hour.  This particular project I delivered in an .mkv wrapper, but certainly an .avi wrapper also works well.

While setting up the FFmpeg compressor can be a bit of a chore, once you get going, I think it’s worth the effort.

For more info on FFmpeg, click here