I am trying to compress a feature length documentary down to 2 gigs for the Sundance online submission. I am having trouble finding ideal compression settings. The original format is Apple ProRes 422 HQ, 23.98fps, 1920 x 1280, and the film is 1 hour and 43 minutes long. So far, everything I've tried either looks really bad, or is too big. Does anyone know of some ideal compression settings to get this video under 2gigs and still have it looking great?
Using a bit rate calculator
1hr 43m would need to be around 2500kbps to fit about 2GB.
At 1920x1080 that's kind of the low side so that could result in quality issues.
I don't know what you're using to compress it but Apple's H.264 is about the worst for efficiency.
It might look a bit better if you were to use x264 codec which Sorenson Squeeze has or you can purchase as an add on to Telestream Episode.
You might consider dropping to 1280x720 to get a bet bit per pixel rate which would mean better quality at the same data rate due to the smaller frame size.
Depending on what you're using I'd do a multipass or two pass encode, High Profile (another thing Apple doesn't support) CABAC entropy (also not supported by Apple).