Editing And Video Codecs

Codecs Overview, Editing Package Information


Premiere is my main editing package, although I use Camtasia a lot too. Editing programs are very easy to use when compared to the complexity of 3d. Lightworks is a free open source editor which has a great reputation too.

Try not to rely too much on editing in Maya using the camera Sequencer. Maya generally won’t play back in full speed and it can be a nightmare of keeping track of 3d as well as a non linear edit! Keep it simple as possible in Maya and export playblasts to do the edit.

I’ve found much to my horror that many people like to edit in After Effects, or worse in Nuke. Please do not edit in After Effects. AE isn’t made for editing, it doesn’t playback quickly and sound isn’t nice in it either. However it depends on what you’re doing. If you’re making a very short reel with only a couple of shots it can be ok… but only in very rare circumstances. In short… use an editor!!

Premiere (Adobe)
My main supported editor is Premiere, although admittedly I do most of my editing in Camtasia (for my screen recordings). Premiere is great because it’s it the Adobe Creative Cloud which I’ve found most students have. So it works well with AE and Photoshop. It’s a fully functioning professional editor.

Price: Subscription with Adobe CC

Premiere (Adobe)

I’ll add Premiere training in the future.

Final Cut
Final Cut used to be the leading editing package but in recent years it’s sort of stumbled with the release of Final Cut X which completely reworked the way the editor was designed. That and because it’s only available on MacOSX has lead to it’s waining popularity.

Final Cut (Apple Only)

Lightworks (Free Open Source)
I’ve been told that Lightworks is a great open source option for editing. Since I own Adobe CC as do many people there’s been little need for me to offer training for Lightworks, however it’s been reported to be great.

There can be a small fee to use pro codecs, but for students this won’t be the case.

Price: Free

Lightworks (Opensource)

Camtasia (Screen Recording)
Camtasia is my preferred screen recording program and I can’t vouch for it enough. It comes with a complete easy to use editor. Although there are some features missing it can be a great program to do a quick rough cut in, especially because you can screen grab too.

Price: MacOSX $150 PC $300 (roughly)

Camtasia (Techsmith)



Web Codecs are made to be as small in file size as possible, whilst maintaining the highest quality. The mother of all web codecs is


H.264 is the codec used by Youtube and Vimeo. It has the smallest file sizes for image quality. H.264 is on all modern computers and most video programs will support it. However there’s a couple of things you’ll need to know.

– H.264 is not an editing codec, it will be slow on cuts. (see section on Editing Codecs below)
– H.264 is a lossy codec it will degrade your image quality and may affect your colours. There’s a lot of information around about optimising colours for the web. Adobe Media Encoder help would be a good place to start if you are having major troubles with colours.
– Best to render uncompressed .tif sequences or with lossless compression types to save your final renders. Compression is a big area and there’s a lot of info around.



To upload to Youtube or Vimeo…

1. Export to H.264 Codec use the highest compression setting.
2. Upload to Youtube or Vimeo.
3. Done



To edit efficiently it’s best to use video codecs that are best for editing. Best to use…

Avid DNxHD

Avid DNxHD is a free codec designed for editing. Super fast playback and good across cuts. DNxHD most probably will not be on your computer by default. You’ll need to download it and you’ll need to be careful not to share your movies with other people as they may not be able to play DNxHD compressed videos without also downloading the codec.

Avid Codec Download

Install the codec first. Make sure you restart your program then render your image sequences to the Avid Codec.

Pro Res
It’s also worth mentioning Pro Res which has been a default in the video editing world. Proves is a Final Cut codec but because it’s been closely aligned with Mac and only owners of Final Cut I don’t promote it.


Andrew Silke


Adobe Premiere

Last Updated

July 2015

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