So Wednesday I scrolled through the Google Reader roll and I found out, thanks to OStatic, that the Theora video codec reached the 1.0 release. What is Theora? It’s part of the same community at Xiph.org that hosts the the Vorbis codec for audio. What is Vorbis? It’s a completely open source audio compression technology brought up in response to Fraunhofer Gesellschaft’s announcement of charging for the license of the MP3 codec. So Theora follows in that same tradition and is a completely open sourced video codec.
Usually when projects from work come down my pike, I use ffmpeg to transcode video between formats. I don’t get that much exposure to the high powered equipment that the producers use to export video. But when some deadlines must be met, I usually get the task of taking some media, whether it’s from Beta, DVD, or others, and spitting it out to their requirements.
The two machines that compete for my time is a Windows 2000 workstation and a build of Ubuntu Studio Linux. The nice thing about the W2k build is that I can capture video from Beta with relative ease. For moving media around bitwise, the Linux build with ffmpeg works out way better. Batch processing on the Linux machine makes it a snap to script up custom projects and let them roll. What I haven’t had to opportunity to do is to work with Theora.
Theora and Vorbis haven’t had the kind of uptake MP3 has had in the media arena, mainly due to being late in the game. When I take on projects, I’ll still probably stick with ffmpeg. My interest is piqueued however, and I may just drop in the new 1.0 release of Theora to see if I can gain any improvements compared to my other methods of turning out video. That’s the great thing about open source, you’re free to work with and it gives you room for improvement for a low cost.