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Video Encoding

This article will only discuss modern HD (>= 720p) video encoding. For SD video these instructions could still be loosely followed, or you could just use whatever random codec looks good to you.

The current state of the art in video compression is the H.264 / AVC video codec, with the AAC audio codec, inside the MP4 container format.

Intermediate Footage Handling (Lossless Encoding)

Just as it is favorable to edit music in the lossless FLAC format, and to edit images in lossless formats like PNG, it is a very good idea to edit your video in a lossless format. Any file in the workflow that is not the final product for distribution should ideally be lossless.

Two good lossless video codecs are Lagarith and Huffyuv.

Of course also try not to change resolutions or frame rates of footage during your workflow, unless you intend to.

General Encoding Parameters

These are from the YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications.
Try to match your program's settings as close as possible. Lots of the options will probably not even show up in most programs.

Container: .mp4

  • No Edit Lists
  • Fast Start / Moov Atom at front

Audio Codec: AAC-LC

  • Channels: Stereo or Stereo + 5.1
  • Sample rate 96khz or 48khz

Video Codec: H.264

  • Progressive Scan
  • High Profile
  • 2 consecutive B frames
  • Closed GOP. GOP of half the frame rate.
  • Variable bitrate, recommendations below.
  • Color Space: 4.2.0

Frame Rate:
Frame rates should match the source material. For example, content shot in 24fps should be encoded at 24fps. Content recorded at 30fps should be encoded at 30fps. Content shot in 720p60, should be encoded at 720p60. Content at 1080i 60, should be deinterlaced, going from 60 interlaced fields per second to 30 progressive frames per second.


TypeVideo BitrateMono Audio BitrateStereo Audio Bitrate5.1 Audio Bitrate
1080p8,000 kbps128 kbps384 kbps512 kbps
720p5,000 kbps128 kbps384 kbps512 kbps
480p2,500 kbps64 kbps128 kbps196 kbps

Standard Widescreen Resolutions:

  • 1080p: 1920x1080
  • 720p: 1280x720
  • 480p: 854x480


Media Production

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Page last modified on May 01, 2013, at 01:11 AM