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I voted other above. I like and my personal preference is rendering a copy back to AVCHD. I can burn the file to DVD to play on a Blu Ray hassle free, and use the file to upload to Youtube. This is if I have time. This process is time consuming, ads and extra rendering, and takes Youtube a while to re-encode. But is seems to look the best to me. Here is a sample below. It is in 360p here, but still looks good. I noticed that some of the H.264 encoded files don’t seem to re-encode as well. They look good in 720, but at the lower resolutions, not so much. As up here in Wisconsin the fastest connection one can get is still pretty crappy, I know most of my videos are not being viewed in HD and I want them to look as good as possible in the lower resolution settings. One will notice that the resolution settings on the video will go all the way to 1080p.
If I am in a hurry, I have a few different things I will do dependingt on the story and how fast I want to get it out.
For absolute breaking footage, I will upload the raw AVCHD (M2TS) file with no editing or re-encoding. This is just to get the footage up fast.
Example here ..
If I have some time but I want to get the story out (editing, rendered, uploaded, and then trans-coded) fast, I will render out to a 720p h.264 setting …
… or if for say CNN Ireport, a custom setting I have that I call HD Light. Basically, it’s an H.264 that is set just higher than standard 480p. I like 800X450, at about 2.5 Mbps data-rate. It is just big enough to appear to look like the video came from a full HD file, but since the providor or server will not play or display HD (Like CNN Ireport, you local news local boy video page, ETC) it doesn’t pay to take the time or bandwidth to send them an HD video file just to have downgrade it to 480.
Here is an example on Vimeo, and one on CNN.
Well good luck and good rendering … Ah … that didn’t sound right. Well, just .. good luck and good shooting.