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Lesson 7. Video Standards and Fundamentals > Wrappers and File Formats

Wrappers and File Formats

It’s possible to record a raw stream of compressed video data to disk, and iMovie does just that: it takes DV data coming across FireWire and stores it in DV stream files. Most programs, though, want to see a more structured file format, and that’s where “wrappers” come in. Wrapper formats add metadata—data about data—to the raw video stream, making it easier for programs to manipulate video and audio information. Wrapper formats can carry information about audio sample rates, timecode, and similar information that makes it much easier for FCP to read the file correctly and keep its media synchronized. Wrappers can (and often do) contain multiple streams or tracks of information: a video track, two or more audio tracks, and a timecode track are common.

QuickTime, AVI, Windows Media, and Real are all wrapper formats.


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