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Get Quality Video on YouTube

To follow up on my previous article on how to make a video slideshow using Movie Maker, this short article will provide help to those who are uploading their videos to YouTube and wanting better quality in the final web version..

The YouTube Format

YouTube can be funny in how it alters your video to fit its own format.  You are free to upload videos of any type and size, but the more you make YouTube work to “re-format” your video, the worse it will look!  The rule of thumb is that you want to make your video resemble YouTube’s format as much as possible before you actually upload it.


We recommend the following settings

  • MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format
  • 320×240 resolution
  • MP3 audio
  • 30 frames per second

Resizing your video to these specifications before uploading will help your videos look better on YouTube.

source: YouTube Help

Movie Maker

For the Movie Maker users out there, there is not a whole lot you can do in the way of advanced video editing, but there are a few small things you should stick to…

  • It is always best to start with the original version of all photos and video when editing your movie. IF you are re-using video that was passed on to you, chances are that it has already been compressed a few times and has a lot of video “artifacts” that will not process well into the YouTube format.
  • Try to use video that is in the 4:3 aspect ratio.  This is the standard square looking video “shape”.  In other words, do NOT use the 9:6 “widescreen” aspect ratio.  YouTube will stretch or alter you video if it is not in the 4:3 aspect ratio.
  • When you make your movie, chose the 320 x 240 resolution.  This is the “size” that YouTube is going to sqeeze your video into anyway, so its better to do this beforehand.
  • Try and have the bitrate as close to 2000 kbps (also referred to as 2.0 Mbps) as you can.  Now, with Movie Maker, you can not directly edit this setting but you can select “High quality video (small)” in the Windows XP version of Movie Maker.  If you are running Windows Vista, your Movie Maker program is different and does not have this option.  In the case of Windows Vista users, you are going  to have to use the “Best fit to file size” method that I described in my previous article.
  • Use the largest file size you can achive while using the above settings.  The limit for a YouTube video is 100MB.  If your video is long in length, try and get as close to this limit as possible.

For more information on how to use Movie Maker, read my step by step article.

Non – Movie Maker

If you are one of the few out there that has a more advanced video editing program, you usually have more control over your final video output. Here are a few more tips…

  • Use the H.264 codec to compress your video.  This compression codec looks very close to the original at low bit rates.
  • Use the 2000 kbps bitrate (2.0 Mbps).
  • De-interlace your video before uploading.
  • Do NOT use the MPEG2 format for your final version, it is too high quality and will force YouTube to compress it too much.

About the author

RJ Ponzio

RJ founded Shore Web Tech LLC in 2011. The mission of Shore Web Tech (SWT) is to help small and medium local businesses take advantage of today's affordable technology solutions. RJ currently holds Google's "AdWords Qualified Individual" certification.

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