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Perpetuated Myths - codecs, compression and transcoding

  By digitalbasin
Compression is the great boogieman word of digital production and has a direct set of correlations in the minds of too many producers
Compression equals quality loss. Transcoding means quality loss. Mpeg is bad. Long GOP is bad. 4:2:0 is bad.

Right...?  Wrong and its about time the myths were dispensed with.

Compression is not of itself a bad thing. There are two key points here:
1. Compression technologies have advanced enormously over just the past five years and extraordinary reductions in file size are possible with no reductions in visible quality.
2. Compression is a fact of production. Unless you are George Lucas shooting 4:4:4 uncompressed then you will be dealing with compressed material from an increasing variety of compressed formats. AVCHD, HDV, DVCProHD, DV, XDCAM, XDCAMHD, IMX, Digibeta, HDCAM SR are ALL compressed in various ways. Anyway you slice it compression is a fact of production life and despite what seems to be a commonly held vibe, it is not the end of the world.

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