|Introduction | Sustainability Factors | Content Categories | Format Descriptions | Contact|
|Full name||AVI (Audio Video Interleaved)|
|Description||File format for moving image content that wraps a video bitstream with other data chunks, e.g., audio.|
|Production phase||Often a middle-state format, e.g., the video source when producing lower-resolution streaming versions; sometimes a final state format for enduser delivery.|
|Relationship to other formats|
|Subtype of||RIFF, Microsoft Resource Interchange File Format|
|Has subtype||AVI_Cinepak, AVI, Cinepak Codec|
|Has subtype||AVI_DivX, AVI, DivX codec|
|Has subtype||AVI_DV, AVI, DV Digital Video|
|Has subtype||AVI_Indeo, AVI, Indeo Codec|
|Has subtype||AVI_MJPEG, AVI, MJPEG Codec|
|Has subtype||AVI_J2K, AVI, JPEG 2000 Codec|
|Has subtype||AVI files containing streams produced by other video codecs, including uncompressed and lossless video, not documented at this time.|
|Has subtype||AVI_OpenDML (format extensions). Not documented at this time.|
|May contain||WAVE, WAVE Audio File Format|
|May contain||MP3_CBR, MP3 Audio Encoding, Constant Bit Rate|
|LC experience or existing holdings||American Memory produced AVI_Indeo files in 1992 and 1993, using version 3.1 or 3.2 of the Indeo codec, at 15 fps and 320x240 pixels, and yielding a data rate of about 188 Kb/s. These AVI files were retired and replaced by MPEG-1 and QuickTime files in 1994 and 1995.|
|LC preference||For preservation reformatting, the Library of Congress' Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation has chosen losslessy-compressed JPEG 2000 encoded video wrapped in MXF. In 1992 and 1993, American Memory produced AVI_Indeo at 15 fps and 320x240 pixels. These files were retired and replaced by other formats beginning in 1994.|
Fully documented. Proprietary file format developed by Microsoft and IBM as part of RIFF, the Resource Interchange File Format for Windows 3.1.
For information about the disclosure of information about the bitstreams wrapped by AVI, see the descriptions of individual codecs listed under Relationships, above.
Specifications available from third parties; for example, the Multimedia Programming Interface and Data Specifications 1.0 (Issued as a joint design by IBM Corporation and Microsoft Corporation, August 1991), is available online from http://www.kk.iij4u.or.jp/~kondo/wave/mpidata.txt and other sites. Additional information may be found at John McGowan's AVI Overview (http://www.jmcgowan.com/avi.html) and http://www.opennet.ru/docs/formats/avi.txt. Documentation of the OpenDML extensions available from Morgan Multimedia (http://www.morgan-multimedia.com/download/odmlff2.pdf). Some additional citations in Useful references below.
Widely adopted for video production and filemaking. Adoption may not extend to all permitted codecs and other features.
One commentator wrote in 2000 that the introduction of Microsoft's Advanced System Format or ASF had "pushed to one side" the OpenDML effort, which dates from 1996-97. At the time of this writing (2011), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) uses AVI as the preservation master format for their reformatted video materials. For more information see NARA's Digitization Products and Services.
|Licensing and patents||[Unknown, probably none]|
Technical information in header chunks (e.g., hdrl, movi, and others); descriptive metadata may appear in a RIFF INFO chunk.
|Technical protection considerations||None|
|Normal rendering||Good support.|
|Clarity (high image resolution)||
Moderate to good, given that this is a format typically used for compression and that most implementations do not support interlaced video. Outcome will depend on the type and level of compression, and the encoder used. Extent of use of uncompressed video bitstream unknown. High resolution work is limited in the Windows environment due to file size limits (2 GB with FAT 16 technology; theoretical 8 GB with later technologies).
The OpenDML extensions were intended to increase quality in professional applications by supporting the representation of interlaced video (60 fields per second), 24 fps for content from motion picture film, and other features.
|Functionality beyond normal rendering||Good to excellent, given that the options for audio are those available in the MP3_CBR and WAVE formats.|
|Internet Media Type||video/vnd.avi
||From http://www.iana.org/assignments/wave-avi-codec-registry/wave-avi-codec-registry.xml. No examples found in IANA MIME Media Types.|
|Internet Media Type||video/avi
|Selected from The File Extension Source.|
|Magic numbers||Hex: 52 49 46 46 xx xx xx xx 41 56 49 20 4C 49 53 54
|From Gary Kessler's File Signatures Table.|
|Microsoft FOURCC||Not applicable.||Varies according to the video codec selected; see, for example the archived version of the Microsoft registry mounted by IANA.|
|Microsoft WAVE format registry||Not applicable.||Varies according to the video codec selected; see, for example the archived version of the Microsoft registry mounted by IANA.|
|History||Format created by Microsoft and introduced with Windows 3.1. In its first version, picture size was limited to 160x120 pixels and 15 frames per second; over time, capabilities were extended to larger picture sizes and higher frame rates.|