Best Codec for Youtube Videos?
June 13, 2006 8:18 AM   Subscribe

What is the optimal Quicktime Codec to use when compressing Quicktime movies for You Tube?

I use Sorenson3 encoding because I'm told that this is best for the web, but I wonder if this holds true for Quicktime files that have been uploaded to Youtube or Myspace or Google Videos and converted to Flash. Also, do certain types of content hold up better with one type of codec rather than another? For example, shooting an outdoor basketball game verses an indoor wedding.
posted by sswiller to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I've had some great experience in creating high quality video using the 3ivx codec.
posted by CXImran at 8:55 AM on June 13, 2006

Instead of trying to optimize for the best quality case, I would try to optimize for the most common case and assume YouTube et al will strive to make their transormation pipeline work best for the largest percentage of videos. Many people will be using the built-in "export to iPod" feature of QuickTime because it's easy and is what's used on iTunes. That encoding uses the MPEG-4 codec at 320x240, I believe.

A few months ago I uploaded the same file encoded with a variety of codecs to YouTube. The scene was a static background with some foreground movement. All the videos looked the same with the only noticable difference being the longer upload times for the better encodings. So now I just pick the quick-n-easy "to iPod" encoding with the default settings.
posted by todbot at 10:19 AM on June 13, 2006

If I had a high-quality source (like DV video), I'd take them at their word that MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid, etc) at QVGA resolution (320x240) gives the best results. Then I'd do an encode that targeted their max file size (100MB). If my source had already been heavily compressed, I'd probably just upload it without re-encoding.

Clip length matters, but 100MB is probably enough for 10-20 minutes of pretty good quality MPEG4 video at 320x240.

Some clips might not need the full filesize to get the best results. For example, a clip with a static background and some foreground movement probably doesn't need a very high bitrate. Something with a lot of motion and transitions would probably benifit from the maximum bitrate.
posted by Good Brain at 10:35 AM on June 13, 2006

I agree with todbot -- ipod flavor.
posted by omnidrew at 11:26 AM on June 13, 2006

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