An audio video interleave (AVI) compressor is a program that is responsible for making AVI files smaller or converting other files to AVI. For an AVI compressor to work, it must decrease the file’s quality or size so less memory is needed. This program typically can change other file formats into AVI files, but some may lack this feature. The AVI format is used for both audio and video files, so the compressor can work on the audio, video or both to lower the memory. Some AVI compressors subsequently are able to increase the quality of an AVI back to its original level, but this feature is uncommon and the compression may be permanent.
To reduce the amount memory needed by an AVI file, an AVI compressor must reduce the quality, the size or both. A size reduction is often less damaging to the quality, and it just makes the movie window smaller when the AVI is played. If the user tries to increase the size of a reduced window, then he normally will notice quality problems. Quality reduction may reduce the frame rate, so some segments may skip or flow poorly, and there often are artifacts in the video. Video artifacts typically look like slightly discolored squares or rectangles, and they may be distracting.
Most AVI compressor programs also are able to convert other video and audio files to the AVI format. Some can work with any multimedia file format, while others have a limited range of formats they can convert. The compressor normally needs a higher-quality file format to properly compress it into an AVI, but not always. This feature is not included on all AVI compressors.
Unlike some file formats that are exclusively used for video, audio or a mixture of the two, AVI files can be used for all three. The majority of AVI files are video files with audio. Regardless, most AVI compressor programs are able to work with both audio and video streams to ensure the AVI file is properly compressed.
An uncommon feature for an AVI compressor is the ability to add memory to the AVI, or increase its quality. This feature is uncommon because adding quality typically is harder than taking it away. When a compressor is used, the compression normally is permanent. To compensate for this, many users make a copy of an AVI before compressing it; otherwise, there may be no way to retrieve the high-quality version from before the compression.