How To Find Codec Of A Mov File?

Greetings VidGods,

How does one find the codec of a mov file?

I'm thinking of buying a ChromeBook and trying to figure out if my mov files will play on it.  ChromeBooks support mov files in these codecs:     MPEG4    --  H264

If it helps, has anyone played videos exported from Hitfilm Express (Mac) on a ChromeBook?

I know that ChromeBooks won't run Hitfilm, or really do any kind of serious video editing.  I'm just concerned with playback of mov files.

Many thanks for your tips!



  • edited August 2019

    I use an app called MediaInfo in the Mac App Store

    The developers website:

    If you don't want to install any software use:

  • Aha!  Thank you.  I actually already have that app, but forgot about it.

    MediaInfo says this for a sample file:

    MPEG-4 (QuickTime): 39.0 MiB, 1mn 44s
    1 Video stream: AVC

    So the codec for that file is MPEG-4, right?


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Yes. In MediaInfo look for the button for a "Tree Report." It's more detailed than the default report and it's what we'd ask a user for if we're trying to troubleshoot. 

    Chances are anything reported as mp4 is h.264 (the actual codec name). AVC is also mp4. So is XAVC. The only tricky thing is an "mp4" file might be h.265 (which Hitfilm can't read), but MediaInfo would tell you this. 

    Why you checking the file, Phil? Is there another issue going on? 

  • "So the codec for that file is MPEG-4, right?"

    "1 Video stream: AVC"

    Your video codec is AVC. AVC also goes by the name H.264. AVC is the ISO standard name. H.264 is the ITU standard name. They are the same joint spec. The MPEG group contributes to ISO specs. ISO specs often have the MPEG name applied/associated.

    There actually isn't an MPEG-4 codec. There are a number of them.

  • Hi guys, thanks as always.

    Ok, so the codec situation is hopelessly arcane, so I'm probably not going to be able to determine whether a file will run in ChromeOS without actually doing it.  Not what I hoped to hear, but certainly useful information.

    Triem, sorry, this isn't really a Hitfilm issue.   Well, I'm trying to learn whether files exported from Hitfilm will run in the media player on ChromeOS.   Or, more precisely, what method of export out of Hitfilm has the best chance of working on ChromeOS. 

    This might be a good issue for the Hitfilm techs to investigate, given the growing popularity of ChromeOS.  I've been investigating this platform recently, and as best I can tell it's going to kick major butt with very many users.  It's no good for video editing and other power nerd stuff, but it's an extremely affordable OS for those who just consume content. 

    Here's an example.  My wife was considering buying a new MacBook, lowest price available $1200.   A $300 ChromeBook will do everything she wants to do, and much more.  A $600 ChromeBook is a high end machine in that environment.  Most users are like my wife, all they want to do is surf the web, check their email, and maybe a few other simple things. 

    The point here is, if videos exported from Hitfilm won't run well on ChromeBooks, a lot of audience will be lost.

    Hitfilm vids may already work great on ChromeBooks, I really have no idea.  That's what I'm trying to learn.   It looks like the solution is going to be to find some kind soul who will test a couple of my vids on their ChromeBook.  I'll ask around on the ChromeBook forum, and report back if I learn anything useful.



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Norman and I are a bit pedantic.

    The actual question is "What's a good format for the Chromebook? Answers are, a Hitfilm render is fine with the YouTube preset from Hitfilm. Anything else? Pretty much anything "mp4" will play on most devices. If in doubt a bounce through Handbrake for 1080p "Norman AVC" will run great on a Chromebook. 

  • Holy cow, what's "pendantic"?   Yet another convoluted esoteric arcane technical term???  :-)

    Actually the question is, will the zillions of vids I've already made and could never be bothered to convert to some other format run on a ChromeBook as they are?   Almost all of these vids are in the .mov format.   They were made with various apps, thus the codecs may differ.

    I think the only way to answer this question is to try.  I could perhaps buy a $100 ChromeBook to test, or maybe I can find a ChromeBook user who will test for me.


  • For any other newbie who might wander in to this thread, this article seems a good introduction to codecs:

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Pedantic is an archaic term that roughly means we can be a little anal retentive about small details that don't matter. "Over-exact" is a literal definition. 

    I can't answer 100% for what will play as I don't have a Chromebook. The fast refresher: MOV is a container that can hold different codecs. A codec defines the actual compression. If an MOV file is in any h.264 codec, it should play. If h.265, it should play. If it's a QuickTime codec, it may not. In that case, use Handbrake to convert to h.264. Everything plays h.264.

    The esoteric variants of h.264 that can be iffy tend towards XAVC on high-end Sony cameras. Chances are you don't have anything "weird." Bottom line, in 2019 anything more recently than 10 old should absolutely play h.264.

  • Thanks Triem, as always.  

    Well, if nothing else, the FXhome developers should find out if exports from Hitfilm will run in ChromeOS, if they haven't already. 

    A great many of my files are Hitfilm exports, from the Quicktime tab.   If these work I'm in pretty good shape with a ChromeBook.


  • It looks like there are a LOT of video players for ChromeBook. player&c=apps

  • The Hitfilm MPEG-4 (.mp4) export presets are as universally compatible as it gets. This includes the Youtube/Vimeo presets as they are specific settings of that preset class.

    This preset class from Hitfilm uses the MP4 file container, with AVC/H.264 video and AAC audio. If something cannot play this container/video/audio output then it is probably junk and you don't want it. That said, you can create files beyond the ability of some hardware to play it. For example, a file with a crazy 100Mbps video bitrate may not play on some hardware like phones and tablets and such. It comes down to the performance of the hardware. A file with that bitrate will also be relatively huge.

    If you keep bitrates sensible you should be fine. For example the Hitfilm Youtube 1080, <= 30p, preset uses a 16Mbps video bitrate. Even 25 should be fine with most any hardware.  Blu-ray video is typically approx <= 27Mbps AVC. The files just keep getting bigger with higher bitrates. Better video quality as well, but at some point human perception just cannot see the quality increases. Finding that magic bitrate for "best" human perceptual quality is a bit of an art. Trial and experience.

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