Image Processing Reference
Choosing the Right Codec
It is time to look at the map and choose a route. This chapter is all about choices. My
choices would not necessarily be your choices. Some advisors may recommend that you
buy products from one manufacturer to solve all your problems. I believe that the situa-
tion is more complex than that.
The major products all have benefits and disadvantages. Assessing their pros and
cons here will facilitate your choosing the right compression tool and surrounding it with
“best-of-breed” supporting applications.
No single product will be suitable for every occasion. Constructing a workflow from
a selection of products chosen as the best for each part of the process will yield a better-
quality result. Integration is the key, so checking out the import and export capabilities of
your tools is very important.
Developing a clear strategy for your business goals is vital. Making an informed
choice when selecting the most appropriate technology is the next priority. Do the neces-
sary research well before placing an order and writing out a check.
Not All Codecs Are Created Equal
There are two main kinds of codec, and the information in this section applies equally to
still images, video, and audio.
During the production process your focus is on workflow, re-use, archiving, and
issues where quality is the dominant factor. To afford a large enough capacity in your stor-
age system, some compression is likely to be required. The codecs you might use in a pro-
duction workflow are lossless or so nearly lossless that it makes no difference.
Compression is beneficial for more efficient archiving and quicker transfers from place to
place. These are production codecs.
When you deliver a finished product, the consumer is not expected to continue
working on the content, so the issues of quality recede and compression ratio or cost of
storage and transfer becomes paramount. These are the codecs you use to squash your