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tenofnine

Uploading to YouTube to get the best quality: Resolution, bitrate and whatnot

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I think this is relevant information to many of us, deserving its own topic,  so I've split the topic started on the Video Thread, so further discussion can continue here without derailing The Video Thread ;)

Also a good opportunity to "publicize" our brand new "Video-making and gear" sub-forum, where subjects such as these (as well as action & 360 cameras, recording tricks and tips, editing, rendering, etc.) can be discussed until your heart's content, questions asked ("How did you do that?!"), etc.

--travsformation--

 

On 2/26/2020 at 2:14 AM, Marty Backe said:

You get best results with YouTube by applying the correct compression, not by playing with the quality. Use two-pass variable bit rate compression. This results in higher compression for the elements of each frame that don't move a lot and lower compression for what does (trees, etc.). Upscaling, etc. is a waste of time, IMHO.

But doesn't Youtube use a far superior codec for anything 2K and above (usually guaranteed if you upload in 4K), I recently saw a few motocross vloggers posting about this.

Edited by travsformation

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3 hours ago, tenofnine said:

But doesn't Youtube use a far superior codec for anything 2K and above (usually guaranteed if you upload in 4K), I recently saw a few motocross vloggers posting about this.

Those kind of details I don't know :confused1:

Edited by Marty Backe

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3 hours ago, Mike Sacristan said:

YouTube streams at a much higher bitrate at 4k.

This means that watching 1080p content that is upscaled to 4K will look better if viewed at 4k.
Here is an exaggerated example I did with a prores 4k file.

This topic was discussed a few hundred videos ago... or probably as an off-topic post in some other part of the forum.

Marty's answer is the most correct though.

Bitrates can be found here:
https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en

OK, I'm going to try this on one of my HD videos, upload at 4K. The downside is that generating 4K videos takes an exponentially longer amount of time and the uploads are huge :(

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4 hours ago, Mike Sacristan said:

YouTube streams at a much higher bitrate at 4k.

This means that watching 1080p content that is upscaled to 4K will look better if viewed at 4k.
Here is an exaggerated example I did with a prores 4k file.

This topic was discussed a few hundred videos ago... or probably as an off-topic post in some other part of the forum.

Marty's answer is the most correct though.

Bitrates can be found here:
https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en

 

 

Well yes of course it's at a higher bit rate it's a massive amount more data for the inflated video dimensions. It's of course important to make your video the best quality possible before uploading, but Youtube still won't care unless it's over 1440p. It will still degrade the quality by giving you a worse codec and processing.

Here is the codec used for your video (i.e. anything above 1440p) it's vp09 a much higher bitrate and variable multipass codec. To illustrate I watched it at 480p, still getting the premium bitrate and codec.

vp09.JPG.55a2fe0d4a2b83b6f35f7aea368c5634.JPG

Here is a shot of Marty's stats when uploaded at 1080p as he did, the avc1 codec has been around since the beginning of youtube, it's really bad and limits bitrate and is only single pass.

1640567466_marty1080p.JPG.a1457778a8b8b6081d06005ec5ae325a.JPG

 

The difference is very noticable; artifacts, color, clarity, etc.

Edited by tenofnine

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2 hours ago, tenofnine said:

Well yes of course it's at a higher bit rate it's a massive amount more data for the inflated video dimensions. It's of course important to make your video the best quality possible before uploading, but Youtube still won't care unless it's over 1440p. It will still degrade the quality by giving you a worse codec and processing.

Here is the codec used for your video (i.e. anything above 1440p) it's vp09 a much higher bitrate and variable multipass codec. To illustrate I watched it at 480p, still getting the premium bitrate and codec.

vp09.JPG.55a2fe0d4a2b83b6f35f7aea368c5634.JPG

Here is a shot of Marty's stats when uploaded at 1080p as he did, the avc1 codec has been around since the beginning of youtube, it's really bad and limits bitrate and is only single pass.

1640567466_marty1080p.JPG.a1457778a8b8b6081d06005ec5ae325a.JPG

 

The difference is very noticable; artifacts, color, clarity, etc.

How about this one?

 

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48 minutes ago, Mike Sacristan said:

How about this one?

 

There are ways to force vp09, but the quality is inline with an avc1 encoded video.

Your bit rate is about 4,450 kbps from the 1.1 GB file size on youtube, but the quality doesn't match that bitrate. This is problably due to low light and camera quality, but there wasn't a lot going on. It does look good for what it is, but there is still artifact and compression that I don't see on 4K motocross vids that have like 10x as much image traffic from frame to frame (trees, terrain, dirt, motion, etc)

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5 hours ago, tenofnine said:

Well yes of course it's at a higher bit rate it's a massive amount more data for the inflated video dimensions. It's of course important to make your video the best quality possible before uploading, but Youtube still won't care unless it's over 1440p. It will still degrade the quality by giving you a worse codec and processing.

Here is the codec used for your video (i.e. anything above 1440p) it's vp09 a much higher bitrate and variable multipass codec. To illustrate I watched it at 480p, still getting the premium bitrate and codec.

vp09.JPG.55a2fe0d4a2b83b6f35f7aea368c5634.JPG

Here is a shot of Marty's stats when uploaded at 1080p as he did, the avc1 codec has been around since the beginning of youtube, it's really bad and limits bitrate and is only single pass.

1640567466_marty1080p.JPG.a1457778a8b8b6081d06005ec5ae325a.JPG

 

The difference is very noticable; artifacts, color, clarity, etc.

I'm using Adobe Premiere and use presets along with some adjustments to said presets. As I type this I don't even know if I can pick the codec used (probably can). 

But whatever you are looking at is the YouTube supplied video and whatever codec they use. Right?

I'm all ears if I can improve my video quality.

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23 minutes ago, tenofnine said:

What you do for your videos actually works really well for your scenery. You always have good light since you live in Cali, you have a good camera, you export your videos with an optimal bit rate and you don't have tons of variance in image from frame to frame (trees and other really close fast moving background)

What I did was simply right click on the youtube video and bring up "stats for nerds" which is available to everyone. Tells you most of the metadata you'd want to see. And you can also easily download youtube videos (as I'm sure a lot do on these forums) to see just how Youtube compresses a video and serves it to you. Youtube decides between 2 codecs to either conserve video size (avc1) or allow for higher image quality (vp09) and it's dependent on the dimensions and bitrate of the file uploaded.

It is very much a hassle to upload massive native 4k files but the result are extremely different. HOWEVER....unless you are shooting on a DSLR or some cinema grade camera like Lock Prod does...it's almost not worth it (and even he only uploads in 1080p). Most people who shoot with 360 or action cameras only really see the difference when they are moving fast past trees and background traffic.

You can force the better vp09 codec at 1080p but it doesn't mean you are going to get the same processing with that codec as 1440p or 4K videos. I think your footage looks great Marty, I wouldn't worry about it.

Thanks! I can now sleep better tonight :thumbup:

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4 hours ago, tenofnine said:

You can force the better vp09 codec at 1080p but it doesn't mean you are going to get the same processing with that codec as 1440p or 4K videos

If we're talking about tricking Youtube into using a more advanced, multi-pass codec as opposed to a "legacy", single-pass one, I'd be very interested in finding out how :)

What's the difference in processing from 1080p to 1440p or 4K? (both using vp09). Higher bitrates?

For footage recorded in 5.7K with an Insta360 OneX but reframed to 1080p (non-VR), for instance, is it really worth upscaling to 4K before uploading, or can good enough quality be obtained by forcing vp09? (better than with avc1, at least)

Edited by travsformation

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9 hours ago, travsformation said:

For footage recorded in 5.7K with an Insta360 OneX but reframed to 1080p (non-VR), for instance, is it really worth upscaling to 4K before uploading, or can good enough quality be obtained by forcing vp09? (better than with avc1, at least)

From my understanding, the only way to force vp09 is to upload 4k (or 1440) files. Since those are 6 times larger than 1080 in my example, it's hard to say it's worth the extra disk space (bits) for storage plus the extra overhead (time) for processing and bandwidth (time) to upload. Here are the screen shots of my simple example:

1080 video directly uploaded and encoded by YouTube in avc1:

Ridin-1080-avc1.jpg

Lots of artifacts, trees blurry, etc.

2160 (4k) video uploaded and encoded by Youtube in vp09:

Ridin-2160-vp09.jpg

Definitely crisper lines, fewer artifacts, etc.

Now the question, what about 1080 in vp09? When I downgrade that same video to 1080 but it displays in the video in vp09 how does it look?

Ridin-1080-vp09.jpg

So, for someone who is going to view it in 1080 anyway, it looks a bit better than acv1 1080, but not by much. Also, anyone viewing on a phone or other device probably won't see much difference at all. 

I guess it comes down to how much time, disk space, and patience you have to try to get YouTube to give you the optimized codec. It would look nicer, but I'm questioning how hard I want to work for that. As it is, reframing, exporting, editing, re-exporting, then uploading is kind of a chore. :efefc8626c:

Everyone has to make their own call on this unless someone else has a tip to improve quality and bypass the codec enforcer.

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1 hour ago, ZenRyder said:

As it is, reframing, exporting, editing, re-exporting, then uploading is kind of a chore.

That's for sure...

Thanks for sharing the comparison! 4K is definitely crisper, but when put in 1080p, the difference isn't that notable comapred to avc1...and supposedly, that 1080p is using vp09, right?

I was hoping maybe there'd be a way of forcing vp09 on 1080p videos, just to see if there's a difference (vs. avc1), and if it's worth it. I'm not sure upscaling to 4K is worth it just for the sake of that extra quality...

Edited by travsformation

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1 minute ago, travsformation said:

.and supposedly, that 1080p is using vp09, right?

Yes, it shows on the screenshot that it IS using vp09.

2 minutes ago, travsformation said:

I was hoping maybe there'd be a way of forcing vp09 on 1080p videos, just to see if there's a difference (vs. avc1), and if it's worth it

That is exactly what is happening when you are viewing a 4k (2160) video, but choose HD (1080) from the bitrate choice when watching on YouTube. It gives you the vp09 encoded video in the 1080 format. So, that is what you're looking at. It's a 4k video but downgradeD via YouTube to 1080 and streamed to you in vp09.

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22 minutes ago, ZenRyder said:

Yes, it shows on the screenshot that it IS using vp09.

Ooops....didn't look close enough :whistling:

22 minutes ago, ZenRyder said:

That is exactly what is happening when you are viewing a 4k (2160) video, but choose HD (1080) from the bitrate choice when watching on YouTube. It gives you the vp09 encoded video in the 1080 format. So, that is what you're looking at. It's a 4k video but downgradeD via YouTube to 1080 and streamed to you in vp09.

The 4K downscaled to 1080p is a slight improvement over the original 1080p avc1 content, but only slight. That's why I'd like to find a way of tricking Youtube to process my content with vp09, just to gain that little edge, without having to upload it in 4K... Seemed like @tenofnine had a way of doing that, or was it by uploading in upscaled 4k?

16 hours ago, tenofnine said:

You can force the better vp09 codec at 1080p but it doesn't mean you are going to get the same processing with that codec as 1440p or 4K videos

If not, I can always export my 1080p content to an upscaled 4K with Premiere, then upload it to Youtube and export it again in 1080p for my personal collection...although that's a lot of rendering, not sure it's worth it...

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Posted (edited)

According to this (source), Youtube should theoretically use vp9 for anything at 50-60 fps, regardless of resolution.

2020-03-01-13-46-34-2-Unlock-the-Best-Vi

I'm doing a few tests to see if I can fool Youtube into processing 1080p content @30 fps with vp9. If I succeed, I'll upscale the same video in Premiere to 1440p (I've read that 1440p should be enough to force vp9), upload it to Youtube and compare the quality to the native 1080p that I've hopefully managed to get in vp9, and see if the additional bitrate I get with 1440p actually yields a significant enough quality improvement to justify the increased rendering times...

Will post results as soon as I've got them :)

Edited by travsformation

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Forcing vp09 on 1080p content (@ 25 fps) failed. I'd read that by editing the video (trimming it), it forced it to be re-processed, and in that case, vp09 was used, but it wasn't the case: my video's still in avc1. So I upscaled it 1440p with Premiere and re-uploaded, and did get vp09. Here's a comparison.

1080p, avc1:

2020-03-01-14-56-06-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

1440p, vp09:

2020-03-01-16-07-21-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

1080p, avc1:

2020-03-01-14-56-43-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

1440p, vp09:

2020-03-01-16-09-42-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

1080p, avc1:

2020-03-01-16-12-25-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

1440p, vp09:

2020-03-01-16-11-35-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

1080p, avc1:

2020-03-01-14-57-45-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

1440p, vp09:

2020-03-01-16-16-11-18-XL-Forest-to-Beac

In this particular case, the difference is negligible, if even apparent...

Which brings me to my next point: export codec & format: all of the content above was exported and uploaded as h265/HEVC.

I've been using h265/HEVC, which overall, is a much more advanced codec that yields better results and smaller files sizes. I export my files (after reframing) with Insta360 Studio, in h365 @ 18 Mbps (ignoring the app's warning that only 2/3 the bitrate is required to achieve the same quality. Overkill perhaps?). I then edit with Premiere, and export also in h265, with "Maximum render quality", "render at maximum depth" enabled, VBR (1-pass), a target bitrate of 18 Mbps (to match the source) and quality set to "highest".

Youtube accepts h265, but I'm unaware of whether it processes h264 and h265 content differently (vp9 is a "direct competitor" of h265). On the other hand, when upscaling to 1440p in Premiere, it caps my bitrate to 25 Mbps, while with h264 I could go all the way up to 135 Mbps, 2-pass encording if I wanted to. Still, upscaling from 1080p to 1440p is a 25% increase in resolution, which I compensated by increasing bitrate to 25 Mbps (28% bitrate increase), so it should be more or less balanced out. Perhaps sharpening the video a little would have improved the overall output quality when upscaling (although I'm not too fond of Premiere's sharpen filter, it only seems tho sharpen white elements or things in front of a white background).

Any suggestions on the best codec / bitrate combo to use?

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3 hours ago, travsformation said:

Youtube accepts h265, but I'm unaware of whether it processes h264 and h265 content differently

I've heard that H.265 is not rendered well by YouTube. I, like you, felt that I should use the latest technology. However, I noticed from my experience that the conversion by YouTube left many artifacts and the quality was not as good. 

I then changed to H.264 and the quality was much improved. I agree that natively the H.265 uses less space and may be technically superior. But the quality is lost in the YouTube import/conversion. 

That has been my experience. 

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14 minutes ago, ZenRyder said:

I've heard that H.265 is not rendered well by YouTube. I, like you, felt that I should use the latest technology. However, I noticed from my experience that the conversion by YouTube left many artifacts and the quality was not as good. 

I then changed to H.264 and the quality was much improved. I agree that natively the H.265 uses less space and may be technically superior. But the quality is lost in the YouTube import/conversion. 

That has been my experience. 

Thanks!

I'll try h264 from now on then. What bitrate do you export at (when reframing?). I hear 16-20 Mbps should be enough...I don't know if any more is overkill.

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Hello! I need help! I just poste a very high quality video to youtube and it looks completely pixelated! I did the stats for nerds and the codecs is avc, how can I change it to vp09? You used to be able to by changing editing the video in "enhancements," but that feature is no longer available. Any ideas? I have to post this video today! Thanks so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1vPFQ63BoY

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After reviewing this and trying out many different resolutions and bit rates, this is what I recommend based on YouTube specs and what works in the real world.

Resolution: 2k = 2560x1440

Frame rate: 30 fps

Bit rate: 17 mbps - 20 mbps

This gets you the smallest sizes files, but still more resolution and detail than most people need. This will get you the vp09 format. Check out the stats for nerds on the video I just uploaded:

A couple more tips:

Upload the file as Unlisted at first. The reason is that when it is first uploaded, the HiRes files take a while for YouTube to optimize into the 2K format. So, when you first upload them, they are low res or HD only. Wait until the hi res format is available and you see it loading with vp09. Then publish it so your first viewers don't see poor quality video.

Put in plenty of keywords so people can find your video. 

Good luck!

 

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