The Benefits of Uncompressed Video: Revealed

By Elena Parapounsky | December 23, 2022

So, you want to be a streamer?

In recent years, live streaming has become one of the most popular forms of online content, and streaming has boomed as a career path in its own right — growing from a niche form of entertainment to a multibillion-dollar industry.

But how does one get started streaming content?

(Image Credit: Unsplash)

All you need to get started is a camera and streaming software. Of course, professionals might use an entire assortment of accessories, but these are the essentials.

You can easily download streaming software for free, but finding the perfect streaming camera may prove to be a challenge for many. Before choosing a camera, consider whether streaming in high definition is important to you. If you value quality, consider using uncompressed video. Let’s take a look at what exactly that entails.

What is uncompressed video?

If you’ve heard the term “raw video,” you might think that’s another way of describing uncompressed video, but that’s not quite true. Raw video is the uninterpreted information captured by a recording device’s image sensor before it’s been transformed into a video file. Think of it like a film negative that still has to be developed. All raw video is uncompressed, but not all uncompressed video is raw.

Uncompressed video is digital video that falls into two categories: either it’s never been compressed, or it was created by decompressing a previously compressed video. It is an unaltered, full-resolution video. Every captured pixel is accounted for, which means the video is of the absolute highest quality possible. But it also creates files with much larger file sizes as a result.

Meanwhile, a compressed video that was processed with a lossy compression method (such as MJPEG or H.264) will have slightly off-color gradients, image noise, and a lower resolution. This is because lossy compression removes some of the information from the original video to reduce the file size. This type of compression deletes this information permanently, meaning that the original video can’t be recreated without using some computer trickery.

What are the benefits?

By every measure other than file size, uncompressed video is far superior to its compressed counterpart. The process of compression smears noise, reduces shadow information, and loosens sharpness, all of which results in a noticeably lower-quality video. So if you’re interested in producing video content and you want the best quality possible, using uncompressed video is a must.

That leads us to a major reason why uncompressed video is preferable for video editing. Uncompressed video gives videographers more flexibility in how they edit because it’s easier to apply post-production techniques, and much of a video’s value is often added in post. Color correction, special effects, chroma keying, and filters work best with as much file data as possible.

(Image Credit: Unsplash)

Now, it’s true that since uncompressed videos contain so much information, they have huge file sizes. For instance, a 60-minute video in uncompressed 1080p at 60 frames per second would take up around 400 gigabytes. An uncompressed 4K video of the same length would be over a terabyte! Thankfully, our need for compression is decreasing as storage continually increases in capacity and affordability, so using uncompressed video is becoming more and more accessible by the minute.

How do I record a video in uncompressed 4K?

Now, let’s talk about how you can produce your own high-quality, uncompressed video content. Typically, you would need either a DSLR or mirrorless camera, and one of those would cost you thousands of dollars… but wait!

Enter the NexiGo Iris, a webcam that’s one of the first to feature an HDMI port. This unique attribute allows it to stream video in uncompressed 4K quality. Simply plug an HDMI cable into the port and connect it to a capture card, then plug the capture card into your computer’s USB port.

(Image Credit: Elgato)

Capture cards are devices that encode video and audio signals from an external source like a webcam to a format that your PC can stream, while also providing the option to keep the original video uncompressed. Using just a capture card and a webcam with an HDMI output, you can stream and record in true 4K quality! This means that you can achieve video streaming and recording quality that is usually only attainable by high-end professionals using expensive cameras, at a fraction of the cost.

Bottom line: uncompressed video is the way to go if you want to get the most out of your footage. And if you’re looking to stream and record your own high-quality video content, then the Iris could be a game-changer. We hope that you learned a little bit more about uncompressed video, what it has to offer, and how you can make use of it. Check out our weekly blog for more tech insights and news!

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