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Every Export Format I Try Looks Bad On YouTube

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Brent Taylor
Every Export Format I Try Looks Bad On YouTube
on Jul 4, 2015 at 11:29:27 am

I'm working on some animation. I exported it from After Effects with the QuickTime Animation codec at 100 quality. I put it into Premiere to edit the scenes together.

So far so good. The scenes look great in the preview window.

Next, I want to edit the scenes together, export them, and put them up on YouTube. Here's where the problem is.

No matter what settings I try, everything I put on YouTube ends up looking terrible. There's a lot of pixelation and, random glitches in the background that weren't there before. One scene in particular with a lot of movement looks especially bad.

I've tried various H.264 settings (including the one specifically labeled YouTube 1080p), some Quicktime Animation Codec settings, and a few other random ones. Some are better than others, but all end up looking noticeably worse on YouTube than they do in a local player or even the Premiere preview window.

Any ideas?


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Craig Seeman
Re: Every Export Format I Try Looks Bad On YouTube
on Jul 4, 2015 at 3:28:19 pm

It's always hard to make suggestion when someone says "various settings' since we have no idea what you tried, what you actually missed if anything so, we end up making suggestions that you've already tried.

With that I'll simply post what YouTube recommends and you can try them or confirm that you've tried them. BTW, simply stating "I tried that" often isn't enough information. You should confirm the settings specifically because we have no idea whether you actually understood the settings you've tried.

Stating that you've tried a preset in an app without a version number, isn't enough either since the preset may have changed through different versions. Additionally you eliminate the possibility of help from compressionists who don't have the app at all so wouldn't know the specifics of a preset unless you provide them.

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en



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Brent Taylor
Re: Every Export Format I Try Looks Bad On YouTube
on Jul 4, 2015 at 5:22:10 pm

My apologies. My hope was that since everything I've tried so far has more or less been unsuccessful shots in the dark, we could start with things that people have had some success with and try the process of elimination from there. Most of what I've tried looks great locally... just not on YouTube. It all to be a shot in the dark without knowing the magic combination. It seems to be less about knowing how to render well and more about knowing what it is exactly that YouTube wants to see?

I'm working off the final version of the CC 2014 suite for all programs. I'm encoding with Media Encoder. So that's the 2014.2 release, Build 8.2.0.54. I'm on a Windows machine with Windows 7.


Here are the settings I used to create my initial working files from After Effects. They look great in the Premiere window and in Quicktime. I used these settings on the recommendation of others online. I tried them along with a few other things and agreed that it was the way to go for me:

Format: Quicktime
Post-Render Action: None
Channels: RGB
Depth: Millions of Colors
Color: Premultipled (Matted)
1920 x 1080 (matches project)
Frame Rate: 29.97 (matches project)
Video Codec: Animation
Quality: 100
Keyframe every x frames: Unchecked
Frame reordering: Unchecked
Limit data rate to x: Unchecked


From Premiere, I've tried a bunch of things. Plenty of them look fine locally but they all look various degrees of terrible once uploaded to YouTube.

Some scenes look better than others. My backgrounds (high-res stills are used to construct them for the cartoon) occasionally glitch for a few frames, but usually look good. One scene in particular nearly always looks terrible, however. In this scene the characters are driving and I've used a moving photograph of cement to create movement. This whole scene looks terrible on YouTube. Everything becomes pixelated and nasty. Again, all the scenes look great locally with a variety of output settings I've tried.

The best (but still lousy) thing I've tried so far was these settings (which, incidentally are recommended for YouTube):

H.264
Preset: YouTube 1080p
1920 x 1080 (matches project)
Frame Rate 29.97 (matches project)
Field Order: Progressive
Aspect: Square Pixels (1.0)
TV Standard: NTSC
Profile: High
Level: 4.2
Render at Maximum Depth: Unchecked

Bitrate Settings...

Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
Target Bitrate: 16 Mbps
Max Birate: 16 MBPS

Advanced Settings...

Key Frame Distance : NA

Use Maximum Render Quality: Unchecked
Use Frame Blending: Unchecked
Use Preview: Unchecked


These are all the standard settings for the H.264 YouTube 1080p preset in AME.


Here's another one I tried that was somewhat better than the other fails (keep in mind I'm not sure what YouTube is looking for, so I am in fact playing with random settings and hoping for the best).

Format: AVI
Codec: Uncompressed UYVY 422 8bit
Quality: 100
1920 x 1080 (matches project)
Frame Rate 29.97 (matches project)
Field Order: Progressive
Aspect: Square Pixels (1.0)
Render at Maximum Depth: No
Depth: 24 bit

Keyframes: Unchecked
Optimize Stills: Unchecked
Use Maximum Render Quality: Unchecked
Use Frame Blending: Unchecked
Use Preview: Unchecked


I tried this one in Media Encoder early on, it being similar to the settings I used to export from After Effects:

Format: Quicktime
Video Codec: Animation
Quality: 100
Dimensions: 1920 x 1080 (same as project)
Frame Rate: 29.97 (same as project)
Field Order: Progressive

Keyframe every x frames: Unchecked (I've tried changing this particular setting but it doesn't seem to help)
Optimize Stills: No
Frame Reordering: No
Render at Maximum Depth: No
Depth: 24 bit
Limit data rate to: 10,000 kbps (I've tried unchecking this completely)

Use Maximum Render Quality: No
Use Previews: No
Use Frame Blending: No


That's it so far. I tried a few others, too, but didn't even like how they looked locally.

Thanks for any help.


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Ivan Myles
Re: Every Export Format I Try Looks Bad On YouTube
on Aug 13, 2015 at 3:20:08 pm
Last Edited By Ivan Myles on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:18:18 pm

Based on your comments it sounds like the source video is not well suited to high compression. The artifacts you described are examples of starved bit rate. YouTube re-encodes uploaded videos to about 0.07 bits per pixel (bpp). By comparison, the "still lousy" 16 Mbps H.264 file you rendered is 0.27 bpp, and the "somewhat better" uncompressed 422 file is 16.00 bpp. One option is to post a high bit rate H.264 on a different web site, but ultimately the animation should be simplified to look better at low bit rate. Please refer to the following post for some suggestions on simplifying a video for YouTube: Re: Terrible YouTube compression


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