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HD encoding settings for Vimeo

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Zackary Moran
HD encoding settings for Vimeo
on Aug 9, 2015 at 9:33:10 pm

Hello, first time poster. I have a 6 1/2 minute long FCP project that I would like to compress for Vimeo. I want to preserve as much as much quality as possible but I need this video to be under 500MB due to upload limits. I exported using the H.264 codec in FCP but it outputs a 700mb file.

My question is:

How do I compress the video so that I get a file that is under 500mb all while maintaining the highest quality possible?

Video details:
1920 x 1080 res
29.97 fps

Your help would GREATLY be appreciated!

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Nick Meyers
Re: HD encoding settings for Vimeo
on Aug 10, 2015 at 6:24:17 am

from FCP your best method is to export using the default "current settings"

then take that file and run it though compressor to get the smaller file you want.
don't forget to compress the AUDIO as well, that will save you lots of space.
dropping the frame size to 1280x720 will reduce your file size, too, while leaving you with a nice looking image

Quicktime Player 7 is also a good tool for converting/compressing a single file
Mpeg Streamclip is OK, but doesn't have the option of AAC audio


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Zackary Moran
Re: HD encoding settings for Vimeo
on Aug 10, 2015 at 7:18:36 am

Thanks for the response.

In compressor, what bitrate should I aim for 1280 x 720? Does setting a bitrate restriction help?

As far as audio, I usually compress using AAC at 256kbps in lieu of 320kbps for the sake of file size. Is this optimal for audio?

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Ryan Holmes
Re: HD encoding settings for Vimeo
on Aug 12, 2015 at 4:33:10 pm

[Zackary Moran] "In compressor, what bitrate should I aim for 1280 x 720? Does setting a bitrate restriction help? "

Yes, if you have target file size you're trying to meet you'll have to restrict the data rate in order to meet that target size. Changing the physical resolution of the frame does not impact the file size - data rate (both audio and video) as well as CBR/VBR impact the file size. On a 6 minute file changing the audio from 320kbps to 256kbps will save you hardly any space....probably a few MB overall. Nothing substantial. You'll have to throttle your video data rate. Running a VBR (variable bit rate) will allow the software to attempt to allocate the data more appropriately. So if a scene only needs 2Mbps to clearly define it then the software uses that, but if the scene needs more data. say 6Mbps, it'll use that (within the parameters that you've set for data rate, you can specify your target data rate as well as a minimum/maximum data rate). CBR (constant bit rate) is when you're going to indiscriminately apply the data rate to the entire encode. So regardless of whether or not the scene needs 7Mbps the whole encode is done at that data rate.

Vimeo has a good compression guide that should be able to walk you thorough the needed settings:

A bandwidth calculator is very helpful in situations like these:

For your target you'll need to stay under 10Mbps total data rate (audio + video) if you want to have a file under 500MB, provided your source material is 6.5 minutes long.

Ryan Holmes

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