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The Best Way To Upload HD Videos to Youtube

Updated on May 30, 2009

why is this the best way to upload videos?

As you may already know Youtube now offers its user the ability to upload High Definittion Videos. This videos are different than the High Quality videos. High Definition Videos have much better video quality than normal videos, they also have a bigger frame size.

So I will assume that you already have a Youtube account and basic knowledge about video production. (you know what I'm talking about, video resolution, pixel aspect ratio...and more)

Ok so first, why is this the BEST METHOD. Well are other methods out there but my method has given me very good results. Probably some people out there use similar techniques.

Advantages of this method:

  • Relatively small file size (for faster upload)
  • Very good video quality (assuming your video has high quality and is TRUE HD)
  • Youtube converts your video faster and makes it stay in HD format


  • Relatively longer compression time (encoding time varies greatly depending on your computer aspects)
  • You may need a faster and more powerful computer to encode your videos.

You can see that the advantages are pretty good, but what about those disadvantages? Let me explain them to you. Longer compression times,it takes a bit more time to encode footage using this method mainly because of the codec used which is H264. In my test I notice a difference between encoding video using the codec H264 and using other codecs such as xvid(Notice I'm only talking about codecs not file formats) the difference was not only in video quality but in the encoding time. Video quality was superior using the H264 Codec, but the encoding time was longer. The second disadvantage is that you need a good computer because the H264 Codec is pretty intense using the CPU. So if you have an older system like a single core PC, I don't recommend you to use this codec. But if you have a Quad core PC then you are good to go. Ok so enough talking let's get to work.

Screen Shots

Video Settings screen shot
Video Settings screen shot
audio Settings screen shot
audio Settings screen shot

What do you need.

Your source footage is very important, make sure your video has the highest quality possible. Your video has to be at least 1280 x 720 (16x9 HD) or 720P (which is the same thing) I recommend you to edit your video using raw footage from your camera or if you use a camcorder use the HDV footage (DO NOT REENCODE YOUR HDV FILES)

So basically you need the best source possible. I recommend you to export your video from your video editing program directly to a file that Youtube can use.

Let's get to work

Finally what you have been waiting for.

  • We'll use the H264 Codec
  • The file format will be .MP4 ( I will not use .MOV or .AVI)
  • Resize your video to 1280 x 720 pixels (I do this to make the file size smaller and also by doing this youtube doesn't resize your video making it worse)
  • Program I use is Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 to edit and Adobe Media Encoder to Encode the video.

Once you have you your video ready to be encode do the following:

In this case I will use Adobe Media Encoder to encode my video but you can use your own program, the setting are pretty similar in almost all software use to encode video files.


  • Select the H264 Codec (make sure your output file is an MP4)
  • set the multiplexer to MP4 (if available)
  • Use your video's original frame rate (usually 29.97)
  • Make sure the output size is 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Set your field order to 'progressive' (do not chose upper or lower)
  • set your pixel aspect ratio to 'wide screen 16:9' or 'square pixels'
  • If you have this options available use for profile 'main' and for level use '3.2'

For your bitrate there's no specific answer but I recommend to use the following setting:

  • For bitrate encoding use VBR (variable bit rate) 1 pass.

The settings above will give you better quality and fast encoding times you can also use CBR (constant bit rate) but this settings do not give you the best quality possible.

Now if you want the HIGHEST QUALITY use the following settings:

  • For bitrate encoding use VBR (variable bit rate) 2 passes.

The settings above will give you the BEST quality possible but it will take more time to encode (depending on your system it might take twice the time to encode the same video file using 2 passes than using 1 pass)

Now depending on what you chose (1 pass or 2 passes) use the following bitrate settings

  • For target Bitrate use 2-5 (the higher the larger video size)
  • for maximum bitrate chose 4-6 (the higher the larger video size)

I am not giving you specific numbers because every video is different but in general I think those are pretty good settings. I invite you to experiment with them to see what works best for you. But remember you are uploading them to youtube, you are not selling them or anything like that. So you can use lower settings an still make your videos look good. I usually use numbers between 3-4 for the maximum and target bitrate.

For the audio part is not so complicated .You can use whatever you like I recommend you to use


  • use ACC Codec
  • Output to stereo
  • set the frequency(Sampling rate) to 44.1 kHz (if this option is available)
  • set audio quality to HIGH
  • set bitrate to 64-160 kbps (the higher the better audio quality and larger video size) I say 128 is pretty decent for the most part.

Now encode your video, if you use 2 passes it will take longer. If some of the options here are not available in your software don't worry.

For me the settings above work pretty good.

Take a look at the youtube recommendations here:

Check this youtube video. It was encoded using the recommendations above Notice the quality after 0:23. The first part of the video is kind of blurry because it is in slow motion and because the camera used to take the slow motion shots was not HD

HD Video Sample

Screen Shots


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    • profile image

      Jorkee 6 years ago


    • profile image

      mamertz 6 years ago

      thanks for the help i try it soon..........

    • profile image

      Chrissie 6 years ago

      You are my Hero, thanks a million!

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      miner 6 years ago

      Great info here. I am however running into a problem with my videos. I took a HD video with my iPhone portrait mode. When I try to use all thee settings it forces it into widescreen and I can't seam to find a way to keep the original proportions (1920x1080).

      Any suggestions? Or am I overlooking a simple setting?


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      kennn 6 years ago

      wen iv rendered the aduio and video are now separate ? how do i upload them to youtube together?

    • profile image

      God'z Reel Rekordz 7 years ago

      software is premiere pro

    • profile image

      Sharl 7 years ago

      what's the name of the software? please mail me...thanks

    • profile image

      Shamih 7 years ago

      What is the name of this software? plz mail me

    • profile image

      Shamih 7 years ago

      What is the name of this software? plz mail me

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      Tammy Jo 7 years ago

      Thank you so much, this worked amazingly well! It just took me 75 minutes to upload an 8 minute video and it was instantly available to watch on Youtube!(the quality looks really good and it's not even finished processing yet:) saved me 6 hours per upload! I'm giving this idea a 10 out of 10!

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      dw817 7 years ago

      Awesome work ! You cracked what I've been trying to solve for months ! Bottom-line, UPLOAD a large X->Across video and large Y->Down video.

      The codec is great, I'm using it now, however, the SIZE across and down of the video is what really forces the high quality.


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      Eric Muyser 7 years ago

      Good stuff, thank you.

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      itsqwalityinnit 7 years ago

      Very useful advice but the one thing missing is whether to click the "deinterlacing" tab on the AME Output tab/page. I have since discovered that YouTube prefers deinterlaced footage so I leave it ticked even if it's already covered by choosing progressive option. I'm editing 1080i50 on CS3 and converting as above. However, setting the quality at 3.2 (PAL) won't allow me to use the 1280x720 aspect. Using the quality setting 4.0 allows this choice BUT... alters the frame rate to 50fps, which, as I found out the hard way, kills the processor and takes over twice as long (and the output is v. poor).

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      anassov 7 years ago

      Thank you so much worked for me !! AFTER EFFECT CS5 ^^ :)

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      P90X Equipment 7 years ago


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      nuno cabral 8 years ago

      true!! the best!!

    • profile image

      T.G.S 8 years ago

      Yeah, thanks a bunch! Clear and concise, I will be trying this out!

    • profile image

      H.C 8 years ago

      Great help thanks :D Step by step and screen shots very helpful :D

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      thankful 8 years ago

      many thanks for posting this up. works perfectly.

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      anonimously 8 years ago