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Youtube Upload : Recommended Format & Video Size

After having spent a lot of time looking for the best format & video size for Youtube uploads, I decided to do some testing on the various available options. And here’s what the test results have to say.

Best Video Format for Streaming Videos

I took up a video and converted into three formats: Flash (.swf format), QucikTime (.qt format) , Real  Media (.rm  format). All other factors like duration, frame-rate, bit-rate, audio sample rate, and audio bit rate were kept constant.

When converted to different video formats, the size in Kilobytes turned out to be:


Verdict on Best Video Format

When it comes to streaming video over internet, size does matter. Smaller the size, lesser the band width requirement and lesser wait times for viewers. With respect to video size, video in flash format is the clear winner. Quick Time(QT) format came second with a very close margin. Real player format occupied almost double the space when compared .swf or .qt format and is something I would clearly like to avoid when uploading videos to Youtube, Vimeo or streaming over internet is involved.

Best Video Size

This is a tricky one as the best dimension would depend upon how and where your viewers would see your video.

Youtube plays back the videos at a dimension of 480 x 360. So if your video is to be primarily seen on Youtube, stick to producing videos of dimension of 480 x 360.

However if you foresee your video to be embedded on different websites stick to a dimension of 420 x 315. This is because the dimension of default embed code defaults to 420 x 315. When you produce a video of this size, Youtube gives the displays the following message at upload times:


I have found that despite this message, the video displays best when you produce the video at the size in which it would eventually display.

If you are to embed the video on your website and you are using Youtube or Vimeo merely to host the video for you, produce your video on the actual size that it would appear on your website.

Verdict on Video Dimension

Despite Youtube claims of applying auto-correction to videos, videos look blurred if produced at one dimension and displayed at another dimension. So it is better to produce your videos at the dimension at which it is most likely or most normally to be viewed.