Component video

Useful for capturing, archiving, or temporarily storing video. It has a relatively low compression ratio, so it requires relatively high amounts of disk space.



Useful for good picture quality with 8-bit color. The Graphics codec is intended primarily for use with 8-bit still images but is sometimes useful for video. Because this codec does not achieve high video compression ratios, it is suitable for playback from hard disk, but not from CD-ROM.



Useful for capturing and compressing analog video. This codec results in high-quality playback from hard disk and moderate quality playback from CD-ROM. It supports both spatial and temporal compression of 16-bit video. Data can be recompressed or recompiled later for higher compression ratios with minimal or no quality degradation.



Useful for clips that use large areas of solid colors, such as cartoon animation. The settings determine the degree to which the compression is lossy; 100% quality is lossless. The Animation codec employs an Apple compression algorithm based on run-length encoding. When set for lossless compression, it can be useful for storing title sequences and other motion graphics.


Motion JPEG A and Motion JPEG B

Useful as transcoders, for transferring video-capture files to other computers equipped with video-capture cards, particularly across platforms. These codecs are versions of JPEG implemented by many video-capture cards. Some video-capture cards include chips that accelerate Motion JPEG so that you can edit faster. See the documentation for your video-capture card to determine its degree of support for these codecs.



Useful for still images that contain gradual color changes or that do not contain a high percentage of edges or other sharp detail, like many photographic still images. Photo-JPEG is lossy, but at high quality settings, a compressed image is nearly indistinguishable from the original. Photo-JPEG is symmetrical compression time is nearly equal to decompression time, but compression time is too slow for real-time video.


Photo-JPEG is not recommended for images that will be edited later because it is relatively lossy. However, its high compression ratio and picture quality can make it useful for moving files between systems, or for archiving finished projects.


Note (Mac OS only): Many hardware compression cards use JPEG. With QuickTime 2.5 or higher, the codecs for these cards may not be listed in the Compressor menu unless you hold down the Option key when you click the menu. If you select Photo-JPEG, the correct codec will automatically be used. Also, additional options for some cards are found by holding down the Option or Control key while choosing the codec.



Useful for video conferencing at low data rates; not recommended for general-purpose video editing.


DV - PAL and DV – NTSC

Digital video formats used by PAL and NTSC digital video hardware. These codecs let you transfer clips from a connected DV deck or camera directly into Premiere. They are also useful as transcoders, for transferring digital video across platforms and between computers equipped with digital-video capture cards.



Useful for compressing 24-bit video intended for CD-ROM discs or for downloadable Web video files. This codec attains higher compression ratios and faster playback speeds than the Video codec. You can set the data rate for playback; picture quality drops more noticeably at data rates below 30 KBps. Cinepak is asymmetrical, it decompresses quickly, but compression is slow enough to make it impractical for editing. For best results, use Cinepak only for exporting the final version of a video file.


Sorenson Video

Useful for compressing 24-bit video intended for CD-ROM discs or for downloadable World Wide Web video files. Similar to Cinepak, this newer codec is designed for high quality at data rates under 200 KBps. This codec is capable of better picture quality and smaller files than Cinepak. It requires more compression time than Cinepak, so it is suitable for final export but not for editing. It supports temporal scalability, which lets a movie exported for a high-end computer play back smoothly on a low-end computer.


Planar RGB

A lossless codec effective for frames that use large areas of solid colors, such as animation. It uses run-length encoding and is an alternative to the Animation codec. it is also accessible in Windows when QuickTime is installed.