When you’ve finished creating and editing a video and you begin the export process, you will be faced with a choice of formats for the video.

The format you choose is important because it will determine what platforms it can be played back on.  Whatever your intended distribution channels are, whether this is on video sharing sites, social media, a website or even on bigger screens at live events, there will be an ideal video format.

We’ve put together a guide to some of the most popular video formats and what each type is most suitable for.

MP4/MPEG-4 (Moving Pictures Expert Group 4)

The first file type in our video format guide is probably the most familiar. MP4 is one of the most universally accepted video formats, which makes it a safe choice for many different applications. However, MP4 videos work particularly well for online sharing. 

MP4 compresses high-quality videos into a fairly small file size, making it quicker and easier to upload to online sharing platforms and social media, as well as being quicker to load for the viewers. As well as online platforms, MP4 is supported by most editing software and even offline presentation programs such as PowerPoint.

WMV (Windows Media Video)

WMV is a Microsoft-developed video format and, as such, is the main file type supported for videos by Windows. However, this also means that it is not compatible by default with Apple operating systems. If you do wish to use WMV files on an Apple device, you will need to download a compatible media player. Like MP4, WMV is a good choice for online sharing as it has great compression abilities and a relatively small file size.

MOV (Apple QuickTime Movie)

MOV files are intended for use on Apple’s QuickTime player. However, QuickTime can also be downloaded onto non-Apple devices such as Windows. MOV files can contain very high-quality videos, but they also take up the drive space to match. MOV files are suitable for large screen use such as on television sets via USB or on offline computer monitors, but they can also be uploaded to certain social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, provided the file size is less than 4GB.

AVI (Audio Video Interleave)

AVI is compatible with many different devices and operating systems, such as Windows, Linux and Mac, and is also the default file type for storing videos on a computer. AVI is a great video format for HD projects intended for larger screens because they are very high-quality files. 

This means AVI is a good choice for TV playback (via USB) as well as on a computer. However, unlike the previous video formats, AVI files don’t compress very well, so need a lot of drive space and are often unsuitable for streaming purposes.


The final file type in our guide to video formats is one intended for a specific application. WebM files are great for use on websites, as that is what they are intended for. This type of video format can be embedded directly into a webpage without the assistance of a plugin, which is usually required for other video file types. WebM files can be used across all the major web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.

That concludes our video format guide. Remember, the best format for your video will depend on your needs and the channels you intend to distribute it on. The right format could be the one that provides the smallest file size for online sharing, the one with the highest video quality, or the one that can be used on most devices. While you ideally want the maximum quality and the smallest file size in most applications, often a compromise will need to be made. If you need any help with creating, editing and exporting video content that is suitable for a particular platform, you can view our services or get in touch.