I'm sure that this question has been asked many times but with the current climate of being able to mirror your desktop/laptop screen onto your HD TV with devices like Google Chrome Cast or even playing rendered projects on HD TV through a memory stick in the USB port, I'm starting to wonder what is the best render setting.
I'm still using Vegas Movie Studio 10 (I've been intending for a long time to upgrade) and for the purposes of watching on my laptop or for uploading to the internet, I always went with the Sony AVC (Internet 1920x1080) mp4 format and I understand that this has a 16Mbps bitrate (would this be low in today's standard??). I recently had a screening of my short film where the venue had a cinema screen and all I had to do was bring the film on a USB stick. They simply plugged the USB into their media system. I had the film rendered in the Sony AVC mp4 format and the quality looked fine but was there a better render setting/format available to me??
Then is the question of file size. An hour long project rendered in the above mp4 format can be quite big in size (~5Gb to 6Gb depending) when compared to a feature length HD film that might have been downloaded from the internet (~1.5Gb to 2Gb). What setting is there available that retains quality but doesn't take up much space???
Best render settings comes down to what the final destination is for. If it's for your local movie theater, it's best to ask them what video file types are compatible with their system. You never stated what you're using to capture the video, and the file type & bit rate it uses. It would make zero sense if the video was captured by an iPhone and you want to render it to ProResHQ, for example.
You are using the correct format for media delivery which is AVC/H.264 but the Sony AVC encoder only uses a constant bit-rate. You may get the same quality with a smaller file size by using MainConcept AVC with variable bit rate and the 2-Pass option while adjusting the average bit rate until you have the trade-off you're looking for between file size and quality. MainConcept seems to encode better at lower bit rates.