If I render a video over and over with the same codec with the same software, does the video loss quality?

I'm asking because to save space on my Harddrive when I have a clip I want to use I encode it with H.264. So my raw capture could be 100GB's but once I've edited it to the clips I want and then encode it can I re open that and edit it again and render it without it losing quality.

Sorry if this doesn't make sense D:

  • For more details, the phenomenon you are inquiring about is called Generational Loss. Jul 23, 2016 at 14:43
  • @Professor Sparkles: I initially wrote my answer as a comment, but could not figure out how to properly insert a hyperlink as you did. I wrote it as an answer because I knew it would link Generational Loss to the intended target. Jul 25, 2016 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


The question's not entirely clear, but, yes, each new generation of the rendered file will lose some quality if you use the previous generation as the source, but not if you use the initial H264.

To elaborate, let's call your raw capture as Generation 1 or Gen1. Then your H.264 transcode is Gen2. Now, after editing with Gen2, your export is Gen3. Now, if you open Gen3 and edit that, then the new export will be Gen4 and will have lost some quality (certainly mathematically, maybe not subjectively). But if you reopen Gen2 and edit it in a different way and export it (with the same settings) then the new file will also be Gen3 quality.

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