If you have already shot a video and want to upload it to YouTube, do not change a thing. Try uploading before you change the format, aspect ratio, bit rate or any other specification. In most cases, YouTube will automatically optimize your video for online playback. YouTube discourages users from encoding and re-encoding videos prior to upload, because second-, third- and later generation encodings generally degrade video quality. The time to make changes is before you hit "Record." If the upload fails or you would like to edit the video for content, go straight to Step 4 and see Resources.
Acquire a video camera that records in WebM, .MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, .AVI, .MPEGPS, .WMV or .FLV. According to YouTube, these are the most common video file formats, all of which and more are compatible with YouTube.
Shoot video in HD 1080 or HD 720 whenever possible, though this is not necessary. HD 1080 is a high-definition widescreen format with a 16:9 aspect ratio -- the same ratio as that used for big screen motion pictures. It is 1080 pixels tall by 1920 pixels wide. HD 720 carries the same aspect ratio, but at 720 pixels tall by 1280 pixels wide. For those who do not shoot in HD, YouTube accepts any size of video in any aspect ratio -- and makes it look good, too. See Resources for a full-size image of video sizes.
Record at a frame rate of 30 fps (frames per second.) That may sound like a lot of frames in a short interval, but it is modest. Many consumer video cameras can shoot 1000 fps, but YouTube does not serve up videos at that speed. You can upload videos of high frame rates, but YouTube will sample them down to sub-broadband proportions. For a faster upload, set your camera to shoot at 30 fps if possible.
Encode your video according to YouTube's recommended specifications (see Resources) if you have edited a video for compatibility or content. Use compression type H.264; a frame rate of 30 fps; an automatic or highest-bit-available data rate; automatic key frames; and no frame re-ordering.
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