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Helping you save space, a video compression codec can reduce unnecessary frames from files so you can store more videos.

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What is Video Compression?

Video compression is the process of using a codec to go through your video files to reduce or eliminate unnecessary files. This makes your video files smaller, so you can store more video on your NVR hard drive or camera’s MicroSD card.

There are two main types of compression, H.264 and MJPEG, while MPEG4 is an older version. Almost all IP surveillance camera come with a video compression codec.

How Video Compression Works

To compress your files, the codec looks for unnecessary files or frames it can reduce or eliminate without impacting the final version of the video. This process is done automatically by your surveillance camera, but you can often choose which style of video compression to use and the compression level within the video:

  • H.264 compression – this is the newest, and most efficient video compression codec, and it works by taking small groups of frames and evaluating them together as a series to eliminate duplicate content that appears in each frame without changing
  • MJPEG compression – also called motion JPEG, works by evaluating each frame of the video, compressing them, and sending them as individual JPEG images
  • MPEG4 compression – this is an older style of video compression, and has largely been replaced by H.264

If you are also recording audio with your surveillance video, the audio files will be compressed separately from the video.

For cameras that have multiple video streams, your camera may also be able to use multiple video compression codec’s or different levels of compression. This allows you to configure on stream for mobile viewing, one stream for live viewing, and one stream for long-term storage.

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How Video Compression Can Help You

Video compression is a valuable tool when your video surveillance system has bandwidth and storage limitations, since video files can be extremely large if they are long clips or recorded in megapixel resolution. If your video is compressed too much, though, the image quality can be compromised—our surveillance experts can help you find the best balance of compression and image quality.

By compressing the video files your system can more easily send the files over your network without significant delays or slowing it down, which is especially important for mobile viewing with a smart phone or tablet.

Compressed video files also take up less space on your hard drive, allowing you to store more videos or keep the files for longer periods of time.

Video compression codec’s are available in video surveillance systems and IP security cameras from top manufactures including Optica, Axis, and Mobotix.

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