Video Essentials

Encoding Video for YouTube, Vimeo, and other UGC Sites

Uploading your work to user-generated content (UGC) sites like YouTube and Vimeo can be tricky. The great-looking brightly-lit video you start out with all to often turns into a badly-lit blob after it’s been uploaded.

The reason is because those sites re-encode your video after you upload it. You can’t do anything about their encoding settings, but you can be sure you start out with the best quality video prior to upload, so that you end up with the best results.

In this tutorial, Jan Ozer walks you through the steps of encoding your work prior to uploading it to UGC sites.


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  1. Um… It’s hard for me to take Jan’s encoding recommendations seriously when the encoding on *this* video has resulted in unreadable text in the software he’s showing off.

    Posted by Mel | February 1, 2011, 1:28 pm
    • Mel, that probably has to do with your connection speed. Magnify encodes our videos into two bitrates, one for high-bandwidth connections and one for low-bandwidth. I can assure you that the video is crystal-clear and all the text is readable over a strong connection. You may also need to make the video full-screen to read all the text.

      Posted by Troy Dreier | February 1, 2011, 2:12 pm
      • Yeah – I’m on cable, which is the strongest connection available in my area. Full screen is not helping. I am using Chrome, and I just tried Safari, and the software text is still unreadable.

        I wonder if there’s a way to tell Magnify to shove me the higher bitrate.

        Posted by Mel | February 2, 2011, 5:34 pm
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