Tip #1015: Guidelines for Planning Media Needs

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1015: Media Planning Guidelines

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Guidelines to plan and use media more efficiently.

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As you plan your next project, here are some media guidelines to help you think about your media and the storage necessary to support smooth playback and editing:

  • If deadlines are extremely tight AND you are not adding a lot of effects, you can edit H.264 or HEVC directly in your NLE. Otherwise, transcode all highly-compressed media into an easier-to-edit intermediate format, such as ProRes, DNx or GoPro Cineform.
  • Always shoot the frame rate you need to deliver. Changing frame rates after production is complete almost always looks “jittery.”
  • Image quality is not lost in transcoding (converting) a highly-compressed video format into ProRes.
  • If the media was shot by a camera, transcode into ProRes 422.
  • If the media was created on a computer, transcode into ProRes 4444.
  • If the media was shot in log or raw formats, edit it natively and do the rough cut using proxies.
  • Proxies are your friend. Use proxies to create a rough cut when using HDR or raw media; or frame sizes larger than 4K.
  • Color grading high-quality 4K HDR media can require over 500 MB / second of data bandwidth! Make sure your storage is fast enough.
  • Always have a reserve budget for more high-performance storage. You’ll need it.
  • Always allow time to test your entire workflow from capture to final output before starting production. It is much easier to find and fix problems when not staring at a looming deadline. “I didn’t have time to test!” is never a good excuse.

Yes, there are exceptions to these rules, but not in most cases.


Here’s an article I wrote that goes into more detail for each of these.

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2 replies
  1. Ron Britton
    Ron Britton says:

    Yes, ProRes is a much bigger bucket, but it’s still a lossy format. Doesn’t the mere act of saving the file under ProRes compress it even more? That’s how JPEG behaves.

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      Apple describes ProRes as “visually lossless.” Yes, there is compression, but far, far less than any version of JPEG; with the possible exception of JPEG2000.



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