Engagemedia has posted a great, lengthy, detailed report on free and open video formats and tools. The report is a roadmap for people who want to make non-proprietary videos that anyone can make a player for without paying royalties or being saddled with restrictions on playing and copying. The report pays special attention to usability, laying out a path for video-makers that makes use of the easiest tools out there. From the executive summary:
Codecs and Containers
The use of two FOSS video and audio codec combinations are recommended:
* Xvid/LAME Use of the Xvid codec for video and LAME codec for audio in the medium term as both codecs are well developed and generally well supported but are encumbered with patent issues that mean they may be plagued with legal issues into the future.
* Ogg Theora/Vorbis Use of the Ogg format, Theora video codec and Vorbis audio codec as they are patent-free technologies that have seen great improvements in usability and the number and quality of tools available to create and play them is increasing.
There are many good FOSS players of both Xvid/LAME and Ogg Theora/Vorbis available, some more suitable for certain purposes than others. However the recommendation is that Transmission projects promote the use of one player application primarily, VLC, in order to share documentation and training resources more easily by adopting the same software:
* VLC Use VLC as it is highly-developed FOSS media player for FOSS codecs available on all platforms.