Preparing video files for YouTube in HD quality

My previous post is about recording video game. This post will be mentioning about ways to prepare those raw video files for publishing on the Internet, e.g. YouTube.

The following methods is solely based on my own preference and might differ from others.

Tools used:
Mediacoder - to convert the raw video into a editing-friendly format. (e.g. Final Cut Pro (FCP) doesn't accept the native .AVI format).
Editing software - Final Cut Studio Pro X (Requires Mac OS 10.6.7 or above), Sony Vegas Studio Platinum v10 (Windows).

First things first:

YouTube criteria for HD video must meet the following requirements:
FPS: <= 30 FPS (23, 25, 29.976, 30 should be fine) Sound sample rate: 44,100 Hz Codec: H.264 Container: MP4 * If your uploaded video does not meet these requirements, there will be extra transcoding done on YouTube server on your video, which might degrade the overall quality. This explains why some of the video you uploaded previously resulted in poor quality than it should be.

Step 1 - Convert the raw video (.avi) into FCP friendly format.
I use the following settings on MediaCoder.
Video Bitrate: 10,000 kbps
Rate Mode:Constant Bitrate
Format: H.264

Container: MP4

Format: HE-AAC
Resample: 44100Hz
Rate Mode: Target Bitrate
Bitrate Quality: 256 kbps

You should be able to import the output file successfully without any additional trans-coding part when importing it to FCP.

Step 2 - Using FCP to edit the imported video
When exporting the video, make sure that H.264 is chosen. The output should be in .mov format.

Step 3 - Prepare the video to publish on YouTube
Convert the project output (.mov) using the same settings as step 1, but this time set the video bitrate to 2,000 kbps (3-pass). Resize the video to 1280x720 if you plan to upload to YouTube as 720p video. In my experience, a 2 minutes long 1080p video (1.0GB) is compressed into ~90 MB (720p) with decent quality.

Now sit back and watch your uploaded video in HD!