Exporting for the web
I’m often asked what settings I use when I’m exporting my video for the web. Until recently I used different settings for YouTube than Exposure Room and Vimeo, but now that YouTube are also delivering HD content I use the same settings for all three of the sites.
The following describes my workflow using Final Cut Studio 2, this will obviously be different if you’re using another NLE or compression software but all I can describe is how I do things with my software.
The first thing I do is export my finished Final Cut sequence using Compressor. This is done by going to the file menu, and then choosing Export > Using Compressor.
Compressor will open with a blank Job.
The first thing I do is set the destination for the exported video, in this case I simply chose to export to my desktop by dragging that option from the Destinations panel into the job pane.
Next I go to the settings panel. This is where I’ll be choosing the video format and options for the exported video. For web video I choose the H.264 format from the Quicktime folder and drag that into the job panel.
Next we need to configure the options for the H.264 quicktime file. This is done by double clicking the H.264 icon in the job panel which launches the settings inspector.
The first tab in the settings inspector shows an overview of the default H.264 options.
In order to set video options I’ll click on the second (Encoder) tab. From the encoder window I click on the video settings button to launch the video compression settings window.
In video compression settings window I set the options as follows…
- Frame Rate: Current
- Key Frames: Automatic
- Frame Reordering: Selected
- Quality: High
- Encoding: Best quality (Multi-pass)
- Data Rate: Restrict to 5000 kbits/sec (for 720p)
- Optimised for: Download
If I don’t need to change the size of the video the job is ready to go. I usually leave the audio on the default value. If I’m exporting 1920×1080 or I need to crop to a different aspect ratio I’ll use the 6th tab in the settings inspector to resize the output accordingly. I usually export to nothing wider than 1280 for uploading to the web.
Once all the settings are done, submit and go make a coffee while the mac does it’s thing.
Once the H.264 quicktime move has exported I’ll usually just watch it through and then if it all looks okay I’ll upload that file to YouTube, Exposure Room and Vimeo where it’s re-encoded to flash or whatever formats they use for delivery.
I’m sure this won’t answer everyone’s questions so please leave a comment if there’s anything else I can help with relating to exporting your videos for use on the web.