Yes, as videographers you


Yes, as videographers you all do your absolute best to capture the highest quality. But youTube thrives because of its delivery method. Fast delivery online means compression. While you can certainly rely on their compression, you can do a lot better if you compress your own video files before uploading. For all the scientific settings on compressors these days, it is still an art, and you get to be the artist. Here’s a hint: YouTube’s final output is FLV video, flash video.

First of course, get the highest quality source. Then to get the best online compression use dual pass FLV encoding at a bitrate you feel your audience has the capacity to consume. By not wasting your own or youTube’s time trying to best guess their compressor settings and by you supplying high quality flv files, you will be miles ahead of your competition. This also allows you to upload their absolute limits in terms of filesize restrictions, as creative compression will allow you to put in more minutes of your content than the defaults they allow.

This is what my own compressed video looks like taken from my site.

I then uploaded the very same piece, as an FLV file, directly onto youTube in November or December of 2006.

Compare and contrast the compression both on my site and youTube; youTube does not recompress video when you already have it in Flash. The reason my video is bad is that I tried too many motion backgrounds on it. Also, youTube demands blackbars if your content can’t fill its requirements, so at the youTube section, click the rectangle next to the audio icon, to get it back to its original dimensions. All artifacts are mine; you can do a lot better if your source content does not have a lot of motion, transitions, fades, and other compression causing problems.

You can also see the encoding quality on my website, of 5 different wedding videography samples. These are clips which individual videographers have created. The source material is theirs, in very high quality material and my part is creatively, artistically encoding it so that it looks good to both the videographers and the bride/groom parties. Each has slightly different challenges; some are in black and white, some slow motion, transitions, water and hair, waving flowing cloth.

Short answer:

    1. Compress to FLV before uploading

    2. Upload

If you don’t follow these steps, your final output depends on the guesswork on the part of youTube’s compressor. And it doesn’t care what your video is, it applies the same compression to EVERY one of the 150 thousand videos per day which are uploaded. The same formula applied to cell phone video, digicam video, vcr tape capture, or high end XL2 camcorder footage, like the ads on the right. So be better than your peers, do your homework, and compress to flash FLV format before uploading.
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