I shot all footage HD 960x720. Then the edited spot is placed into a 720x480. I need to know the correct settings for outputting a H.264 QT file for broadcast stations. I need the highest quality that will upload over an ftp site in a reasonable time frame. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Each station or cable outlet will have their own specifications. So you need to ask them. Most accept either MPEG2 or H.264/mov files.
Most want 720x480, progressive preferred, if interlaced, upper is usually preferred but some stations take either. Data rates are usually 12Mb/sec or higher for MPEG2, and 2500KB/sec or higher for H.264/Quicktime. Audio is typically 16 bit 48khz at at least 192kb/sec and usually at -12dB digital audio standard.
But some stations have odd specs. Just last week one station wanted their spots with 0 IRE black. That's the first time I've ever seen a station ask for that and we've been doing digital uploads since the early part of this decade.