Best HD Render Settings for Vimeo using Adobe Media Encoder
Vimeo's Recommended Compression Settings
The fact that you chose Vimeo as the host for your videos, I can really tell that you care a lot about both the visual and audio quality of your HD videos. YouTube doesn't really have as much quality visually when it comes to HD videos. Facebook has the worst so far from my experience.
Of course, the best plan here is to consult Vimeo. You can check out their recommended compression settings on their website. I usually follow these settings when I upload a video there. I've actually always thought that having a higher data rate than 5 mbps would actually be better but recently I've been learning through experience that this wouldn't really help. It doesn't matter how high the data rate of your video is because inevitable, Vimeo will opt to just convert it anyway. So ideally you're just wasting render time and hard disk space. I'm not really sure about the more technical aspect of this or whether having higher data rates will improve even after conversion, but from my experience, there is no change. In fact, their conversion even makes my videos worse even when I follow their recommendations directly.
Here are their recommended compression settings:
- Use H.264 as codec
- Use 24, 25, or 30 fps depending on your footage
- 5000 kbps data rate for HD video
- Resolution of 1280 x 720 with pixel aspect ration of 1:1 or "square pixels" in your project settings in Adobe Premiere (From what I hear, using 1080 as your size won't work as HD in Vimeo)
- Deinterlace if needed (this depends on your footage again)
It doesn't matter what software you used to edit your video (Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, etc.) because these settings will usually be available in the rendering settings/menu anyway.
Best HD Render Settings for Vimeo
Uploading to Vimeo using Adobe Premiere CS5
On the above video I used Adobe Media Encoder found in my Adobe Premiere CS5 and followed the recommended settings exactly as it is. Of course, compressing to 5 mbps data rate can lower the quality of your video. In my experience, colors and brightness is usually sacrificed, even overall clarity of your video. That's why when editing, I try to add just a tiny bit more than I'd prefer like with brightness/contrast, colors, sharpness, etc.
I actually use Adobe After Effects when it comes to coloring but for this one I got really lazy and didn't want to render twice and wait longer. Vimeo allows only up to 500mb HD content once a week and at the same time, they make you wait in line before compressing your video. I get really impatient so I just chose to mess with the colors using Adobe Premiere.
Camcorder I Used
On the above video, I used my Canon HV40. It's a lovely HD camcorder that shoots native 24p that Canon refers to as "24F" (apparently "24p" on tape, not deinterlaced, is technology that's patented by Panasonic). Actually, before going on that Cebu/Bohol trip, I was contemplating whether I'll use 24p.
I try real hard to be able to maximize the potential of my camera. Every time I use it, I learn something new about compression, render settings, and the settings of my camera while using it. Experience really is the best teacher when it comes to learning more about compression settings. As I've said, I have no formal knowledge when it comes to the technical aspects of these settings, but experience surely has taught me a lot about them and how to maximize them.
An example would be the video I took when we went to Boracay last December. I really wasn't satisfied with it and hated the quality of most of the shots. I can't really explain it but it's this weird choppy, clipping effect that I'm assuming was caused by wrong shutter speeds combined with the already choppy "film-like" 24p.
Even on the video above, I'm really not satisfied. The only solution I'm seeing now is that I have to get a paid account so I can upload larger sizes and not be limited to their recommended compression settings. If you're not satisfied with your uploads as well, that's surely something you should consider.