So uh. I've been doing a lot of video editing lately, of course (for the music video I'm trying to release soon), and I've had to relearn several huge concepts, and discover some new ones. The major thing on my mind right now is something called "Intermediate Codecs" more or less. Basically, you know how you watch a movie file on your computer? And you know how the file size is all small-ish and compressed and stuff, while still looking good? That's called a delivery codec... basically your movie/pics are compressed to be as small as possible while still looking good, so your hard drive doesn't fill up too fast, or so your browser can download it somewhat quickly.
The thing about delivery codecs, though, is that they take a huge hit in quality when they're rendered. You usually don't notice... but say you had to render something several times, like for instance with what I'm doing - I have to render my video files once to add some motion stabilization and some noise reduction, another after the files have been edited into the actual video, and a 3rd time after I try to color grade them. After 3 renders, the quality starts to look really crappy. Its like a copy of a copy of a copy. And if I were to add special effects and stuff, there would be even more intermediate renders required, especially when you consider that there are many special FX programs that do different things that you might have to use.
Anyway, that's where intermediate lossless codecs come in. They're usually compressed, but NONE of the original data is destroyed. Think of it as putting some files in a .ZIP file on your computer - its smaller, but the data stays intact. There are a ton of lossless formats, and some are faster/slower than others, and some are larger/smaller than others. I've been using one where you store PNG images inside a quicktime .mov file (PNG's are like JPEG pictures, but totally lossless).
It was slow as hell! And freaking bloated!! I swear dude... one freaking clip took me like 8 hours to render. Such an irritation and almost not doable, but I didn't realize there were better options.
Then my bud Alex showed me this cool comparison page that included a codec called Lagarith. Long story short, I spent an entire night testing out different codecs, and eventually came to the conclusion that Lagarith is awesome.
It is seriously so fast in comparison to quicktime PNG.... like TEN TIMES faster... and actually slightly smaller in size too. I still need a huge hard drive to run it... but considering that these intermediate files would be deleted after the final-final render of a project, they're just a temporary burden on my hard drive, which in return for I get awesome render quality between versions. Seriously, with a lossless codec like lagarith, not only is editing faster than a normal file, but I can render and re-render tons and tons of times without losing video quality.
Okay sorry... its late... my rant is over.
I'm just happy I finally found lagarith. Woot!
Edit: oh oh oh... here's a link to that page I was talking about: http://videopia.org/index.php/read/articles-mainmenu-229/576-lossless-codec-quick-survey.html