Compression Techniques Forum
YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Craig Seeman on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:00:08 pm

YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications

So many people ask about YouTube encodes I'd that I'd make this as a separate post for easy discovery.
Note the bit rates for enterprise speeds. Apparently those data rates will make a difference in quality.

Re: YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Colleen Henry on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:22:45 pm


My name is Colleen, I am the engineer at Google who wrote these specs and is working hard to make ingestion into YouTube in extremely high quality much easier.

If you guys have any feedback on the specs, please let me know. They will be evolving over time, and I will be refining and adding more detail.

Though I cant provide day to day debugging and support, I would love to hear from you guys what you would like to see in this realm.

I'll bookmark this thread and check back in later.

Re: YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Chris Borjis on Dec 20, 2011 at 6:02:33 pm

I've done lots of video compression over the years and my clients like the fact all of their content looks great on youtube.

All of the info looks good on the specifications.

The enterprise bitrates seem excessive though.

I've found that 1080 video usually looks just fine with no artifacts if you encode it at 8,000 kbps. Even the most complex, fast moving content. A lot of content can do just fine at 5,000 kbps

anything more than that seems to be excessive in my opinion and experience of encoding nearly thousands of videos in the last ten years.

Re: YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Colleen Henry on Dec 20, 2011 at 7:19:31 pm

Thanks for the feedback :).

As to the the bitrates seem excessive, that is being explained in the next revision of the specs. I swear there is a reason!

The key is to think of what you upload to youtube as your golden master, not just a means to today's end. When a file is uploaded to YouTube, we treat it as a mezzanine file. From there, we create all of the necessary formats and bitrates for delivery to viewers on every platform and network condition. Having better quality as a mezzanine file, allows us to improve the output quality here.

Even cooler than that though, is we can use the mezzanine file to re-output new deliverable formats at a later date. Since devices and network connections keep getting better, as well as cool new codec technology like WebM, YouTube can keep your content looking fresh and up to date for years! High bitrate master files will keep you looking awesome while others dont age as well :)

Re: YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Dimitrios Papagiannis on Jan 15, 2012 at 8:12:51 am

Hi Coleen,

Thanks for your forward thinking over there at YT. I was wondering what your advice wouyld be if I wanted to do the following.

I want to upload a 10 sec video shot in Portrait mode, so that when it's played back fills an iPad screen at the highest resolution possible (i.e. vertically intead of horizontally) Youtube.

Can youtube play videos shot in "portrait mode"? If so how do I do it?



Re: YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Colleen Henry on Jan 15, 2012 at 6:49:13 pm

I have not tried to make a portrait mode video on an ipad, but it should be totally possible. We respect the resolutions and aspect ratios we are provided, and letterboxing and pillarboxing is added by the player dynamically.

Thus, instead of giving us 1024x768 for an ipad, give us 768x1024. When your video is watched in landscape mode, it will have very large pillboxes. When you rotate it to portrait mode, it should fill perfectly.

Re: YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Martin Rockwell on Nov 16, 2012 at 10:34:55 pm

Colleen, the link to the adv specs is broken, all I get is the simple page.

Re: YouTube Advanced Encoding Specifications
by Craig Seeman on Nov 16, 2012 at 11:03:01 pm

Looks like this was just pulled. It was working yesterday.
If you note, the Simple page has a link to Advanced which just bounces back to the Simple page.
Maybe it's being updated.