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Pre-Processing for Video-Sharing Sites

YouTube Technical Specs


While YouTube can ingest many formats of video, it works best when you pre-compress your files. Uploading a Flash video file is one of YouTube's most preferred input formats. Here are a few technical specs to keep in mind.

Resolution: Export at a square pixel size.
HD: 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080
SD: 640 X 480 or 640 X 360 (widescreen)

Frame Rate: Preserve the frame rate of the original. Progressive frame rates without interlacing are preferable.

Video Codec: YouTube strongly prefers H.264 video. As such, stick with the newer F4V presets.

Audio Codec: MP3 or AAC preferred
Stick with 44.1 kHz Stereo audio or sync issues can occur

Duration: Standard accounts are limited to clips under 15 minutes. We have seen some clips that run a few seconds over make it through.

File Size: The uploaded file must be below 2GB in size. While this is not a hard target to hit, pre-compressing will cut down on upload time and delays in launching the clip.
If you use the optional Advanced Uploader files need to be less than 20GB in size.


Here are a few more practical tips:
  • Aspect Ratio – Make sure to compensate for nonsquare pixels. Additionally, avoid adding letterboxing or pillarboxing bars. These are automatically added by the YouTube player. Adding your own can create a double-bar effect (called windowboxing) and make the video screen smaller.
  • Frame Rate – Load the videos in the correct frame rate. If you are using a video format with pulldown inserted (which is often the case for 24p tape-based formats) be sure to remove it in your nonlinear editor or compression tool.
  • Resolution – YouTube supports up to 1080p for regular accounts. They have also begun experimenting with 3D and higher resolution content from digital cinema. Try to go with the largest size you have access to.
  • Testing – Make sure you load a test clip up before you post your "real" clip. This can be an excerpt or a clip you set to private. Once a video is released, there is no way to update it with a new clip. You'll have to remove the old one and release a new one, hence giving up on viewers and rankings.


Facebook Technical Specs


Just like YouTube, Facebook is very accepting of many technical formats. There is even more motivation to pre-process your footage though because Facebook has significantly lower file size limits. Here are a few technical specs to keep in mind.

Resolution: Export at a square pixel size.
HD: 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080
SD: 640 X 480 or 640 X 360 (widescreen)

Frame Rate: Preserve the frame rate of the original. Progressive frame rates without interlacing are preferable.

Video Codec: Facebook recommends the older flv format with On2 VP6 encoding.

Audio Codec: MP3 or AAC preferred
Stick with 44.1 kHz Stereo audio or sync issues can occur

Duration: Standard accounts are limited to clips under 20 minutes. Loading up HD (or even SD) clips of this duration is not possible without pre-processing the footage and capping the data rate.

File Size: The uploaded file must be below 100 MB in size. You must pre-process the video with compression software before uploading, or your video will time out after a few seconds are uploaded.

Here are a few more practical tips:
  • Aspect Ratio – Make sure to compensate for nonsquare pixels. Facebook can handle video between a 16x9 and a 9x6 aspect ratio. This means that vertical clips can be uploaded. This is done to support the upload of video from mobile phones, many of which are held in a portrait orientation when shooting.
  • Frame Rate – Load the videos in the correct frame rate. If you are using a video format with pulldown inserted (which is often the case for 24p tape-based formats) be sure to remove it in your nonlinear editor or compression tool.
  • Resolution – Facebook supports up to 1080p for regular accounts. The embeddable player is limited to stand definition resolutions. High definition video is only viewable on the Facebook site.
  • Testing – Be sure to upload a short test clip before loading your real clips. Existing videos cannot be updated once they are loaded.
  • Tagging – To increase the number of potential viewers, tag your video with people who appear in the video or contributed to its making. In order to tag you must be "friends" with the person on Facebook.
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© 2010 Richard Harrington LLC