Lagarith codec: Preserving video file quality like it was lossless


Video editing can be a destructive business, especially when carried out over multiple sessions. Every time you save your movie with a regular lossy codec, the quality degrades just a little, and it'll only get worse over time.

You could get around this by saving the videos uncompressed, of course, but the resulting files would be huge, and slow to load and save. It's a much better idea to install and work with a lossless codec, instead -- and Lagarith is one of the best.


The codec is easy to install, and should immediately become available to any program that can use your installed Windows codecs. One small complication is that Lagarith's multi-threading isn't enabled by default, so we'd recommend using the codec Settings button in your editor to turn that on, but otherwise there's really nothing to do. Just tell your editor to use Lagarith in your video container of choice and it'll automatically go to work, crunching your uncompressed videos to a more manageable size.

How effective can this be? We tested it on the Windows 7 sample video, "Wildlife.wmv." In its normal, compressed form this was a mere 25MB. Save it with uncompressed video and MP3 audio and the file ballooned to 2.32GB (and this for only 30 seconds of footage: a full home movie would be considerably more). Use Lagarith, though, and the file size dropped to 417MB, saving more than 80% over the uncompressed version.

But that's not all. While saving uncompressed files seems like it should be quick, as there's no processing involved, the reality is that the extra hard drive activity required to access them will slow you down, and so using Lagarith may offer a real performance boost. Our test video saved uncompressed in 104 seconds, for instance; saving with Lagarith instead cut this to 35 seconds, around a third of the time.

And what's more, after a lengthy gap, the author has returned to Lagarith this year and begun updating it again. There have been five releases between February and May alone, ramping up speeds, fixing bugs and generally enhancing the program. So if you're looking for a fast and efficient lossless codec then Lagarith is definitely worth a try; go take it for a test run, see how it works on your system.

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