Supported Video Formats

Video Formats

These formats are primarily used for compressing rendered sequences into a playable movie (they can also be used to make plain audio files).

A codec is a little routine that compresses the video so that it will fit on a DVD, or be able to be streamed out over the Internet, over a cable, or just be a reasonable file size. Codecs compress the channels of a video down to save space and enable continuous playback. Lossy codecs make smaller files at the expense of image quality. Some codecs, like H.264, are great for larger images. Codecs are used to encode and decode the movie, and so must be present on both the encoding machine (Blender) and the target machine. The results of the encoding are stored in a container file.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of codecs, including XviD, H.264, DivX, Microsoft, and so on. Each has advantages and disadvantages and compatibility with different players on different operating systems.


Most codecs can only compress the RGB or YUV color space, but some support the Alpha channel as well. Codecs that support RGBA include:

AVI Codec
AVI codec compression. Available codecs are operating-system dependent. When an AVI codec is initially chosen, the codec dialog is automatically launched. The codec can be changed directly using the Set Codec button which appears (AVI Codec settings.).
AVI Jpeg
AVI but with Jpeg compression. Lossy, smaller files but not as small as you can get with a Codec compression algorithm. Jpeg compression is also the one used in the DV format used in digital camcorders.
Audio-Video Interlaced (AVI) uncompressed frames.
Blender puts out frames upon request as part of a render farm. The port number is specified in the User Preferences.
Encodes movies with the H.264 codec.
Encodes movies with the MPEG codec.
Ogg Theora
Encodes movies with the Theora codec as Ogg files.
Apple’s Quicktime .mov file. The Quicktime codec dialog is available when this codec is installed on macOS. See Quicktime in Video Containers.
Encodes movies with the Xvid codec.

Video Containers

MPEG-1: .mpg, .mpeg
A standard for lossy compression of video and audio. It is designed to compress VHS-quality raw digital video and CD audio down to 1.5 Mbit/s.
MPEG-2: .dvd, .vob, .mpg, .mpeg
A standard for “the generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information”. It describes a combination of lossy video compression and lossy audio data compression methods which permit storage and transmission of movies using currently available storage media and transmission bandwidth.
MPEG-4(DivX): .mp4, .mpg, .mpeg
Absorbs many of the features of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and other related standards, and adds new features.
AVI: .avi
A derivative of the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF), which divides a file’s data into blocks, or “chunks”.
Quicktime: .mov
A multi-tracked format. QuickTime and MP4 container formats can use the same MPEG-4 formats; they are mostly interchangeable in a QuickTime-only environment. MP4, being an international standard, has more support.
DV: .dv
An intraframe video compression scheme, which uses the discrete cosine transform (DCT) to compress video on a frame-by-frame basis. Audio is stored uncompressed.
H.264: .avi for now.
A standard for video compression, and is currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of high definition video.
Xvid: .avi for now
A video codec library following the MPEG-4 standard. It uses ASP features such as b-frames, global and quarter pixel motion compensation, lumi masking, Trellis quantization, and H.263, MPEG and custom quantization matrices. Xvid is a primary competitor of the DivX Pro Codec.
Ogg: .ogg, .ogv
A free lossy video compression format. It is developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation and distributed without licensing fees.
Matroska: .mkv
An open standard free container format, a file format that can hold an unlimited number of video, audio, picture or subtitle tracks in one file.
Flash: .flv
A container file format used to deliver video over the Internet using Adobe Flash Player.
Wav: .wav
An uncompressed (or lightly compressed) Microsoft and IBM audio file format.
Mp3: .mp3
A highly-compressed, patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression. It is a common audio format for consumer audio storage, as well as a de facto standard of digital audio compression for the transfer and playback of music on digital audio players.

Video Codecs

For audio-only encoding.
See Video Formats.
See Video Formats.
See Video Formats.
Lossless video codec created by Ben Rudiak-Gould which is meant to replace uncompressed YCbCr as a video capture format.
See Video Formats.
See Video Formats.
See Video Formats.
See Ogg in Video Formats.
Flash Video
See Video Formats.
FFmpeg video codec #1
A.K.A. FFV1, a loss-less intra-frame video codec. It can use either variable length coding or arithmetic coding for entropy coding. The encoder and decoder are part of the free, open-source library libavcodec in FFmpeg.

Audio Containers

A lossy audio compression format defined by ISO/IEC 11172-3.
See MP3 in Video Formats (above).
Audio Codec 3, an audio compression technology developed by Dolby Laboratories.
Advanced Audio Codec, a standardized, lossy compression and encoding scheme for digital audio. – AAC generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at similar bit rates.
An open-standard, highly-compressed format comparable to MP3 or AAC. – Vorbis generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at similar bit rates.
Free Lossless Audio Codec. Digital audio compressed by FLAC’s algorithm can typically be reduced to 50-60% of its original size, and decompressed into an identical copy of the original audio data.
Pulse Code Modulation, a method used to digitally represent sampled analog signals. It is the standard form for digital audio in computers and various Blu-ray, Compact Disc and DVD formats, as well as other uses such as digital telephone systems.

Known Limitations

Video Output Size

Some codecs impose limitations on output size, H.264, for example requires both the height and width to be divisible by 2.