Best Video Formats to Use in Different Situations

As you’re probably aware there is no single format that is ‘best’ for all situations. Instead, the format that you need to use in any given situation will depend on several factors including its compatibility, compression, and the features that it supports.

If you want to know what the best video formats are to use in different situations right now, there are several that you should look at:

  • Uploading videos to online platforms

In most cases, the best format to use if you upload a video to an online platform is MP4 with H.264. That being said you should look into the specifications that it recommends as each online platform will normally have its own set of guidelines. For example, you can refer to YouTube’s recommended upload settings.

As a rule, you should always follow the specifications recommended by the platform you want to upload your video to. That will ensure you don’t face any issues during or after the upload.

  • Distributing videos via other means

If you intend to distribute your videos via other means such as file transfers or by providing a file download – the best format is normally MP4 with H.264. In such situations, your focus will be on making sure recipients can view the video without any issues, and so you’ll want a video format that is widely-supported on various devices and platforms.

  • Burning video DVDs

To create a video DVD the video needs to be encoded in the MPEG-2 format and must also follow strict DVD specifications. If it does not it may not be able to be played on most DVD players.

  • Publishing HTML5 videos

The HTML5 video element allows for various formats to be used, but the most common nowadays is MP4 with H.264 or WebM with VP8 or VP9. The ‘best’ format really boils down to a question of compatibility and bandwidth.

Simply put MP4 with H.264 is the only HTML5 video format that is supported by all major browsers. However, WebM with VP8 or VP9 has better compression and will reduce the bandwidth requirement.

In many cases, WebM with VP8 or VP9 is used for HTML5 video to conserve bandwidth, and MP4 with H.264 is provided as a fallback to cater to browsers that can’t view it.

  • Reducing video file sizes

If the sole focus is on reducing the video file size to make a video easier to store or transfer, HEVC (H.265) is one of the better formats to use. However, you will need to check to make sure the device that you want to view it on supports HEVC.

Older mobile devices, in particular, may have a problem with HEVC as they won’t have hardware support for it. That will mean that the video will need to use software decoding, which will consume a lot of power.

The same tightrope needs to be walked for any other formats with better compression than MP4 with H.264, such as WebM with VP9, or the new AV1 format. In general, HEVC has wider support than them right now, however.

Once you decide on a video format based on the situation you’re going to use it in, you should be able to convert the video easily enough. For example, you could use Movavi Video Converter and follow the steps at

It should be noted that some of the specific formats mentioned above may eventually be replaced at some point or other as newer formats become more widely-used. However, as things stand the list is a good reference point for the best video format to use in any given situation.