Saturday, April 7, 2007

The How-To for YouTube

A couple months ago, I started uploading videos to YouTube (you can find my videos here); basically, some of my old shorts and a couple of Timewarp's trailers.

The first thing I noticed was that the format in which a video is uploaded can make a difference in how it looks and sounds on YouTube. My first attempts had muffled and distorted sound and a pixelated picture--yuck!

So, I did a little research, and here's what I found:

First, YouTube makes the requirements for the best quality clear in the help center. They are:
We recommend the following settings:

  • MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format

  • 320x240 resolution

  • MP3 audio

  • 30 frames per second


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


Second, how do we accomplish this? Simple. Here are a few tips and free tools to help improve the quality of your uploaded videos.

  1. Download the Divx codec. There are free versions for PC and Mac.

  2. Download Virtual Dub, a free video editing tool that converts between various video/audio formats. If you already installed Divx, you will see it as an option in the conversion menu.

  3. Now open your video in Virtual Dub (File->open video file).

  4. Next, open the video compression screen (video->compression), and select Divx.



  5. If your video is not 320x240 (or 360x240, which I use) then you need to add a resize filter (video->filters->add) and select resize



  6. Now to audio. To convert to MP3, you must first select "Full Processing Mode" from the audio menu. Then you can open the audio compression menu (audio->compression) and select MP3.


  7. Finally, select Save as AVI from the file menu and you're good to go.


Of course the quality of your video is subject to the quality of the original version. But with the variety of affordable digital video camcorders out there, that shouldn't be a problem. However, all bets are off for camera phones.