Monday, February 16, 2009

YouTube Update (02-16-2009)

Well, they've changed stuff again, and for the better! The normal quality videos are now improved significantly, thus the "watch in high quality" link only appears if for some reason the HQ version ends up being significantly better than the normal one.

Big improvement: resolution. Previously, the normal quality video was 320x240 of 4:3, and 320x180 for widescreen, both of which look really yucky when scaled up to the 640x360 player size. And when the widescreen player first came out, the "HQ" version of the widescreen movies was only 480x270 scaled up to be 640x360. Now, you can upload a video in 480x360, or 640x360 widescreen, and it will stay that way! This is especially helpful when you're uploading something you want to stay in its native resolution, like screen capture. Of course, you can still use other sizes like 640x480, 852x480, and 720x404.

Another annoying thing that has been fixed is the unforgiving bitrate requirement to get an HQ video. It used to be all or nothing. If you were successful, you'd get a 480x360 4:3 video, if not you'd be stuck with plain old 320x240. This was especially annoying with videos that had many repeated frames. For example, if you wanted to upload music with a still image, you'd get stuck with low quality, since the extremely compressible nonmoving video wouldn't make the required bitrate. Of course I had an ingenious workaround, but it was a huge pain in the buttocks. Now, even if you don't get the link, you'll get a "normal quality" video that's still in pretty high quality.

So in conclusion, the low quality videos aren't nearly as bad as they used to be, and in many cases they're as good as the "high quality" videos have been in the past.

We're almost to the point where we can trust YouTube with our videos, meaning as long as your video is produced well, you can upload, and set your mind at ease. And that's where my tutorials will be focusing in the coming months: producing higher quality videos. That production knowledge can be applied to DVD's, internet video, and whatever you do. And we'll be past the days when advice I give you today may be irrelevant tomorrow. I'm really liking the direction Google is taking YouTube.


Anonymous said...

I don't care too much about the video quality. Good video quality is fine, but my main concern is sound quality for musicians. Must these two things go hand in hand?

I still need to study your course in this, but I would like to avoid the dual video effect that youtube uses. I only want one high quality video for sound. There is no point to have one video with lesser sound quality with a choice of another one with high sound quality sound, in my case.

Is this unavoidable? What are the possibilities?

Derek said...

Audio still falls through the cracks. Currently the normal quality videos have stereo 64k AAC 22050Hz sound. If you want something better, you have to go either HQ or HD for stereo 128k AAC 44100Hz.

Peter said...

I am having a few problems with my files I am uploading and stumbled on your blog.

I am uploading files 720x404 and exporting from CS3 as an mpeg 2 with high quality and bit rate.

The file uploads but is never in HQ, weird thing is I have uploaded 10 so far and only 1 converted to HQ.

I don't understand what I am doing wrong or is it youtube? I have left them up over 1 day now just in the hope that its youtube servers a bit behind but alas still no HQ.

Any help would be appreciated.


Derek said...

HQ has pretty much been phased out. There's a link for "watch in HD," but "high quality" videos are very few if any. The good news is the normal quality videos are much better than they used to be. It's AVC, the type you'd find in an H.264 MP4.

Anonymous said...

So is there no way to get the "High Quality" video versus "HD"? I seem to like the former, as HD doesn't play well on my computer and I would imagine for others as well, so wish there was a middle ground for users.

Peter said...

Ahhh it seems there is a work around.

If you put a link in annotations at the start and add &fmt=18 to the end of the url for the video viewers can click that and view your video in HQ.

HD take too long to buffer.

Derek said...

HQ is back... again. Well I'm off to run some more tests... again. Stay tuned.

Derek said...

Oh and thanks, Peter. I knew about &fmt=18 but it didn't used to work within an annotation. Now it does, so that's definitely the easiest and most certain way to force a high quality video.

home theatre brisbane said...

Youtube these days support 1080p videos, so there's no much concern about this anymore. Their sound quality has been standard too.