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trail gnome
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Discussion Starter #1
There are a lot of posts to this forum that go like this:

My video looks sharp when I watch it on my PC, but after I upload it to YouTube, it looks like garbage; all blurry and pixelated. What can I do?
YouTube re-encodes and compresses your video so it will play acceptably over internet connections with limited bandwidth. It's likely the compression that is mangling your video.

This video does a good job of explaining things. Replace "confetti" with "shakey helmet cam with trees whipping by at 20MPH" and you get the same result:


YouTube, Vimeo, and other sites have their recommended file format and encoding settings, which you can Google and I won't bother repeating here. Following those recommendations will help somewhat. However, the #1 thing you can do to improve video quality after upload is to simply record and edit your videos so there is less changing from one video frame to the next, so there is less data that needs to be compressed.

How do you do that? Take a look at GoPro's promotional videos and other professionally shot and edited sports videos on YouTube. What do they do?

  • Lots of slow-motion sequences
  • Large expanses of continuous color (blue sky or water, red rock, green fields, white snow)
  • Well-lit video
  • Video shot from a tripod or other static location
  • Gimbal-stabilized cameras
 
  • Like
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trail gnome
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Discussion Starter #2
"Compression for Great Video and Audio: Master Tips and Common Sense" - Ben Waggoner

Watch out for foilage!

One of the most difficult things to compress is foliage blowing in the wind, which makes sense mathematically: it's green and thus mainly the non-subsampled Y' channel, and it's highly detailed. And it has lots of subtle random motion. You can be amazed by how many more artifacts the talent's face will get when in front of a hedge in a gentle breeze. I've had cases where I had to quadruple bitrate for talking-head video based just on background foiliage.

Use a slow shutter speed

If you're shooting slower motion speed, stick to a shutter speed of 1/60 (NTSC), 1/50 (PAL), or 1/48 (24p) of a second. These are the defaults for most cameras. Slow shutter speed produces very natural-looking motion blur, meaning that when the image is detailed, it's not moving much, and when it's moving a lot, it's not very detailed. Thus, the codec has to handle only one hard thing at a time. The very slow shutter of film is one reason film content encodes so nicely. Slow shutter speeds also let in more light per frame, which reduces the amount of light needed to avoid grain and gain.

Limit Camera Motion

Handheld camera work can be extremely difficult to compress, since the whole frame is moving at once, and likely moving in a different direction than the action. Most codecs work on a 2D plane, so if the camera is moving parallel to the action, it compresses great. But if the camera is rotating (a "dutch"), zooming, or moving towards the action, it's a lot harder for the codec to make good matches from frame to frame.

The worst case here is when the camera is mounted on something that is moving. Perhaps the hardest single thing to compress is the helmet-mounted camera giving a point of view (POV) of someone mountain biking. The motion is fast and furious, the camera is whipping around with constant angular changes, plus it's rapidly changing position. And remember that thing about foliage? You'll need to have radically more bits per pixel for that kind of content.

The tripod and dolly are classics that still work great. If handheld camera work is absolutely required, try to use a Steadicam or similar stabilization system. A skilled camera operator will be better at keeping the camera still.

From Compression for Great Video and Audio: Master Tips and Common Sense
By Ben Waggoner
 

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trail gnome
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Discussion Starter #3
Take a look at this GoPro Hero 6 promo video:


I counted over 110 individual shots. The vast majority of them are slow motion. Large expanses of color. Many shots from stable platforms. Bright, well-lit scenes. Not a single helmet cam clip of a quick rip through a shaded forest. There is a reason for that. :)
 

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trail gnome
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Discussion Starter #4
Good POV Footage on YouTube is Possible

Yes, it's possible to upload mountain bike POV footage to YouTube and get good results. Here's an example:


What is Nate Hills doing that helps his video look better on YouTube?

  • He's using a gimbal. Less shake = less movement = less changing from one frame to the next = less compression required.
  • The places he rides in tend to be wide open, well-lit, with large expanses of blue sky and red rock.
  • He films at 30FPS, not 60, so there is much less data to compress.
  • He's following someone, so your eye focuses on the rider in front and less on compression artifacts occurring in the margins. There are some sections where the sky appears banded and pixelated, but you don't notice that, because your eyes are focusing on the amazing rider in front of him.

There are some other things he does that help, but not as much as simply shooting video that compresses well and the trick of keeping something in frame that your eye focuses on (a rider).
 

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trail gnome
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Discussion Starter #5
For comparison, take a look at some of Nate's videos shot in forests on bright, sunny days when he is passing through lots of light and shadow or rounding a corner. Pause the video and look at the trees. Blurry and pixelated, right? You don't notice it because your eye is focused on the rider in front.

Here's one:


Skip ahead to 1:32 and watch as he rounds the corner. There is too much changing from one frame to the next for the video to compress well and it gets blurry and pixelated for a split second, and then he continues straight and the video quality improves. This happens a bunch of times in the video. If you take your eye off the rider in front and look around, you will see it.
 

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You need to upload to youtube in 2.7k or 4k, even if your source is 1080p, most video editors will let you export in a higher res, its called upscaling. YT processes this with a different compression engine and it make a huge difference for POV footage.
 

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bbqmike's post about upscaling to 1440 is probably the quickest take-away anyone can get from this thread if they don't wanna geek out too much on ray's fantastic posts. Forces Youtube to render with the VP9 codec instead of avc.

I've just spent the last few days learning the information in this thread the hard way through trial, error, and a shitload of googling.

Just wish I had come here first as it would've saved me a LOT of time and headache. =)
 

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2006 Yeti AS-X
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To upscale, If I shoot my video 1080 / 30fps I would export it as a 1440p at 30fps? Just curious as I am new to the upscaling/downscaling world.
 

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To upscale, If I shoot my video 1080 / 30fps I would export it as a 1440p at 30fps? Just curious as I am new to the upscaling/downscaling world.
It might vary depending on what you're using to create videos, but in Adobe Premiere that was pretty much it. In my testing, I exported h.265/hevc (to save space/bandwidth at the cost of rendering time.) Source video was 1080/24 in my case, but the same would've applied at 30 or 60 fps. Just change the output res and it'll scale up.
 

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2006 Yeti AS-X
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It might vary depending on what you're using to create videos, but in Adobe Premiere that was pretty much it. In my testing, I exported h.265/hevc (to save space/bandwidth at the cost of rendering time.) Source video was 1080/24 in my case, but the same would've applied at 30 or 60 fps. Just change the output res and it'll scale up.
Cool! Thanks for the info!
 

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It might vary depending on what you're using to create videos, but in Adobe Premiere that was pretty much it. In my testing, I exported h.265/hevc (to save space/bandwidth at the cost of rendering time.) Source video was 1080/24 in my case, but the same would've applied at 30 or 60 fps. Just change the output res and it'll scale up.
Better yet, capture at the highest resolution and bitrate that you can, make sure that you render at that resolution and bitrate, and upload that large file so that Youtube has the most data possible to compress.

For recent Gopros: 4k Protune video is around ~60mbps. That will get you the best results on Youtube.
 

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Better yet, capture at the highest resolution and bitrate that you can, make sure that you render at that resolution and bitrate, and upload that large file so that Youtube has the most data possible to compress.

For recent Gopros: 4k Protune video is around ~60mbps. That will get you the best results on Youtube.
Truth, all the way. And i personally have chosen to just capture at 4k60, but not everyone has the storage, or processing to deal with that. Hell, i really dont either, but im willing to suffer (at least until i find a screaming deal on an i9.)
 

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You need to upload to youtube in 2.7k or 4k, even if your source is 1080p, most video editors will let you export in a higher res, its called upscaling. YT processes this with a different compression engine and it make a huge difference for POV footage.
Any 1080p video I have noticeably degrades if I uspscale it, even before uploading to YouTube. Uploding in 2.7 or 4K is only work it if the original material is in those resolutions.
 

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better yet, capture at the highest resolution and bitrate that you can, make sure that you render at that resolution and bitrate, and upload that large file so that youtube has the most data possible to compress.

For recent gopros: 4k protune video is around ~60mbps. That will get you the best results on youtube.
^^^^ this.
 

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Fun time thread bump...

Been happily chugging along, recording rides in 4k/60fps and editing as such, and then uploading at the same as well. The results have been pretty good mostly, as expected.

But I came back to this thread after reading up a little on youtube/google's plans to ditch vp9 for av1 eventually and one thing in the posts above caught my eye regarding FPS.

All my footage is shot and exported at 60fps. for 4k, youtube recommends 35-45mbit bitrate for 30fps. It would stand to reason that they would double that when you double the framerate, but they only show 53-68mbit for 60fps.

So i guess the question is, would there indeed be value to switching to 30fps? You'd basically have more bitrate/data available per frame compared to the 60fps ratio.

Everything I've done has been in 60 though, so i dont really have much to compare to with regards to how 60 vs 30 is gonna look for mtb PoV footage, and if the quality increase that 30fps bitrates provide would counteract the loss of 60fps smoothness?

Having just recently upgraded the hell out of my editing PC, 4k60 isnt hard to work with, so im not too worried about that aspect, but i do wanna put out the highest end result possible on youtube.
 

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trail gnome
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Discussion Starter #17
All my footage is shot and exported at 60fps. for 4k, youtube recommends 35-45mbit bitrate for 30fps. It would stand to reason that they would double that when you double the framerate, but they only show 53-68mbit for 60fps.
Due to video compression, the bitrate doesn't automatically have to double when you double the frame rate. It may be less than double and still be acceptable visually.


So i guess the question is, would there indeed be value to switching to 30fps? You'd basically have more bitrate/data available per frame compared to the 60fps ratio.

Everything I've done has been in 60 though, so i dont really have much to compare to with regards to how 60 vs 30 is gonna look for mtb PoV footage, and if the quality increase that 30fps bitrates provide would counteract the loss of 60fps smoothness?
With 60fps, you'll have less motion blurring due to the shorter exposure. I think this is what you mean when you refer to "60fps smoothness". The image just looks crisper, sharper. Especially when there is lots of motion.

Recording at a higher framerate allows you to apply slo-motion effects with better end results. 60fps footage slowed to half speed will appear less blurry and strobe-like than 30fps slowed the same amount.

I find every time I try to watch 60fps YouTube video, either I can't get the bandwidth I need to watch it without stuttering, and YouTube switches to a lower resolution, or the YouTube video compression has mangled the video and it looks pixelated all to hell. But that's just me. Maybe others have had better luck.
 

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I find every time I try to watch 60fps YouTube video, either I can't get the bandwidth I need to watch it without stuttering, and YouTube switches to a lower resolution, or the YouTube video compression has mangled the video and it looks pixelated all to hell. But that's just me. Maybe others have had better luck.
YES I have found the same thing, but rarely see anyone complain about it, even if you record in 60p, make your project 30fps and export in 30fps for uploading!

The 60fps "smoothness" can make your video look slower, motion blur helps with speed, as does superview distortion, as much as fisheye is not the most appealing, if you're not going mach chicken, it can look boring. Peronsally I find 30fps to be perfect for POV, I tried 24 for a bit, but if its even starting to get dark, things start to fall apart. All the "cinematic" look for 24p is for 3rd person/broll type shots. For a helmet cam as a b-roll or rear facing seat cam, I run 60fps in case something ends up being slow motion worthy, like a crash :)
 

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trail gnome
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Discussion Starter #19
...I run 60fps in case something ends up being slow motion worthy, like a crash :)
Agreed. You can always record in 60 and export to 30, and then you have more room to slow-mo something interesting and still have it look good.

Crashes in loose sandy dirt are the best. :)
 
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