Sunday, November 3, 2013

[Guide] What are the best settings to encode videos when uploading game play videos to YouTube?

I have uploaded a lot of game play videos in the past. I have almost always used Windows Live Movie Maker to add a starting and an ending to the videos because it is a very easy thing to do.
But the issue is, regardless of the quality of the video file that I upload to YouTube, the final output after YouTube does its thing is very low quality. Now that I can easily record videos at 1080p all thanks to NVidia ShadowPlay, the file sizes can get pretty large.
Here are two videos I recorded using ShadowPlay and edited using Movie Maker. The first one was saved using YouTube profile. The second one was saved using the High Definition profile. The file size of the original save file with the High Definition profile is about 4 times larger. That video is perfect when watched locally. But after uploading to YouTube, the final quality is about the same as the one using the YouTube profile.
Windows Live Movie Maker - YouTube profile
Windows Live Movie Maker - High Definition profile
As you see, the quality of those videos totally SUCKS!

So what the best settings for YouTube?

I went on the internet to see if there are recommended settings to use with HandBrake when uploading to YouTube. Windows Live Movie Maker isn't flexible enough to fine-tune the settings. After reading few articles that got me nowhere, I came across a guide posted by Google themselves.

The thing with YouTube is that YouTube will not re-encode the video if it doesn't have to. So if you use settings recommended by Google, you won't (shouldn't) have to worry about dropped quality. Of course, when you choose lower quality settings from the YouTube player, you would get lower quality video. YouTube will be re-encoding videos for those quality settings. If the source is 1080p, you won't get worse quality than the source when playing back at 1080p setting.

Here's a video I posted using these guidelines. I of course used Windows Live Movie Maker to add the intro and the ending, saved using high quality settings then re-encoded using HandBrake.

Settings to use in HandBrake

Here are the settings I used in HandBrake. You will have to manually enter the GOP setting in the manual entry box in the bottom.

Enjoy. If you found that these settings didn't work for you or if you know settings that would work even better, let me know in the comments section.

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