Best codec for video playback

I’ve been testing some video codecs lately and every one I tested resulted in a different odd behavior. I used Quicktime uncompressed TIFF files for lower thirds, transitions and logos with excellent results but at the cost of huge files. So not very useful in some use cases when quick exchange is needed and the storage is reduced.

First of all, here are the specs of the rig I’ve tested on:

  • Gigabyte Z370XP SLI
  • Intel Core i5-8600K
  • 2x 8GB DDR4 2400 RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB
    It’s been used in basketball events for streaming (only one 1080p50 channel with an iVGA consumer received by OBS which handles also the decklink input and rtmp streaming) it uses flash templates and some png/mov logos and videos. It doesn’t handle more than 4 to 5 layers at the time and, when video is being played, no flash templates are shown.

I tested Quicktime H.264 video, in some cases the video lags. Sometimes they take some frames to load and the audio clicks briefly. This is the best option so far.
I’ve tested also MXF AVC-Intra and regularly the audio distorts, clips or lags every second or so.
Moving away from inter-frame compressed codecs, with DNxHD the experience was awful. Plain out unplayable. All the above problems and more. JPEG2000 the exact same.

I’m out of ideas here.
I will start testing some multi-channel servers for simultaneous CG and playout and this is crucial for that to work properly. If I can’t make it work on a single-channel server running on a decent hardware, I can’t imagine what the result will be for a 6-channel+ server.

Can someone point me what I’m doing wrong? Any help will be appreciated.

I normally use QuickTime with Animation codec for the things that need an alpha channel. And H264 for the rest. But my PC has 32 GB of RAM and a 6 core Xeon E5 CPU Windows running in 64 bit mode and a dedicated SSD for Caspars template and media folders. AFAIK DNxHD does not work very good. But I can also play ProRes quite nice.

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I wasn’t aware ProRes was working on windows. I’ll give it a try.
Animation caused me some issues with frame-accuracy when seeking, that’s why I moved over TIFF sequence.
I will be testing this on this rig and on a new i9-7900X/P2000 as well and post the results.

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For frame accurate seeking, you need intraframe codecs and should avoid (long) GOP codecs. You should be safe with something like mpeg.

I tried on both the i5 and the i9 hardware and the results were not what I expected.
Actually H.264 video performed better and consumed less CPU than other formats, even in a 6 Fill channel + 1 Fill/Key channel (+1 iVGA channel for preview) configuration it was better suited for video loop playback (LED or LCD displays).
I stuck with H.264 at high bitrates and low keyframe interval.

Here it is working like a charm:

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DNxHD (without alpha) works great for me. I can play up to eight 1080p50 files DNxHD SQ. Alpha in a separate file (+_A) works great as well with DNxHD. 6-Core Xeon 3,5 Ghz, 32GB RAM, Quadro K4000. DNxHD uses less CPU than ProRes does.

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Is there a reason for having so much RAM on the system? Most of the time I can’t come close to use more than 50% of 16GB.
Only Adobe software have managed to fill it up instantly.
32GB seems a bit much but I’ve seen around the forum rigs with 64GB… that’s just overkill IMO.

No CasparCG Reason for that. The machine came like that and I also use it with other boot images for different stuff. And none the less, more is better. @didikunz have you ever had a template or reason that used a bigger amount of RAM ?

I do a lot of development (Flash templates and custom clients) on that machine and I nearly always have at least a Flash/Animate, a Photoshop and a Visual Studio open at the same time, beside Caspar. When I then also open After Effects it starts to become slow. So that is why I think the more RAM you have, the better. And also the more CPU cores the better. As Caspar uses FFMPEG for video playback the CPU has all the work of decoding the video clips.

Hello , Mauro!

The playout software is a CasparCG Client 2.2?

Best regards!


Playout is CasparCG Server 2.1 with custom client

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Hello, Mauro!

The client program is freely downloadable from somewhere?

Best regards!


Not at the moment


…and it would have been good :frowning_face:

Hello Mauro!
I would like a similar client program with four outputs.
Is it possible?
I could ask your help?

Best Regards!


similar than this :
I would like only four channel ones…

what model is it on your CPU?

Xeon E5-1650v2

For video with alpha I would try SpeedHQ. In my opinion it presents good balance of quality, file size and performance.

For videos with alpha , after tests on both Vmix and CasparCG we now run NewTek SpeedHQ 4:4:2:2