YouTube is muddying my videos
July 5, 2010 3:23 PM   Subscribe

My programming tutorials look terrible on YouTube. I wouldn't care except that it's hard to read the code. This isn't just the way YouTube is. I am looking at other people's tutorials, and I can read their code. How do I encode/upload videos so that they look as good as possible?

I am using ScreenFlow to make the recordings. I am saving as H.264 at 1280×720 (YouTube's recommendation). The videos look crisp on my computer but unwatchable on YouTube. What's the secret? I need advice like this, but updated for HD.
posted by grumblebee to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Response by poster: Okay. I am an idiot and I've now wasted my weekly question. LEARN from my mistakes, children. Half an hour after I uploaded, and HD, high-resolution version of my video appeared. Previously, there was only a low-res copy. I didn't know that YouTube uploaded different versions, one by one.
posted by grumblebee at 3:28 PM on July 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had exactly this same problem a few weeks ago and did not know that YouTube was doing this either.
posted by jessamyn at 3:52 PM on July 5, 2010

Response by poster: YouTube is like the guest that comes to your dinner party without bringing a bottle of wine. You get all offended. Then, an hour later, he says, "Oh, man! I totally forgot. I brought you this amazing champagne, but I accidentally left it in my car. I'll go get it. Be right back." And then you feel like an idiot for being pissed.
posted by grumblebee at 4:04 PM on July 5, 2010 [5 favorites]

Yeah, YouTube has to process the video multiple times to get multiple quality levels. They'll appear one by one, with each one taking a little longer than the last typically.
posted by Rendus at 5:43 PM on July 5, 2010

I installed ClickToFlash some time ago, and in there it has an option to make youtube serve up the H.264 version of the video. The aspect ratio was way off on my video. I tried several tips and tricks, but in the end once I enabled the Flash versions the various videos look fine.

I mention this because it will affect how you preview your H.264 videos.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:01 PM on July 5, 2010

It looks as if you're uploading movies showing your whole screen. People sometimes drop the screen resolution down or only screencap part of the screen. You lose real-estate, but it means that any text shown on the video is bigger.
posted by seanyboy at 4:33 AM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah, I agree that the whole-screen thing was foolish. It's one of a number of mistakes I made. I am going to re-record those videos.
posted by grumblebee at 4:41 AM on July 6, 2010

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