So anyone that's spent some time on YouTube has noticed that some videos have much better quality than others, even at similar compression types or resolution options (480, 720, 1080p, and so on).
YouTube re-encodes all of the videos that are uploaded to it. It plays nicely with some settings, and others it hates. I don't claim to be super techie nerdie when it comes to compression stuff; all I care about is my videos looking pretty, and how to get them to look pretty.
~~~ Tutorial Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHu-vb_uVb0 ~~~
Chances are you are in the same boat. Luckily, I spent 2 days figuring out exactly what does and does not work in order to get a pretty video. In the process, I spammed my subscribers on YouTube with like 35 new video uploads while I saw how YouTube treated everything I fed in to it.
Big thanks to Bouncydemon from Talisman
and Zerix of Vigil
for help. Through their experiences and my own trial and error I have compiled info here to get the best looking videos possible.
This tutorial is only going to cover Sony Vegas. Sorry if you use something else. Luckily, the most important part of this ("render at 1920x1072") is fairly universal.
If you Fraps at 1920x1080:
You can't just upload 1920x1080 files directly to YouTube and get the highest quality. At least, I can't, and many people I spoke to can't. You need to get the height (1080) down to a number that is divisible by 16. The closest number that is divisible by 16 that is also close to 1080 is 1072. (1088 causes YouTube to blackborder the video so you don't want that) This has something to do with sweet encoding stuff that I don't know anything about. If you upload a 1920x1080 video your video will look crappy and have pixels blending in to one another. If you upload at 1920x1072 it will look good.
First step - when you make your new project in vegas, set the width/height as follows, and the FPS at whatever makes sense for you. I fraps at 50 FPS and I like my videos to be 30 FPS, so I set my project at 30 FPS. Make sure the field order is set to "none" too.
Work with your video, whatever that means, doing your transitions, music matching, whatever. Then use the crop option at the end of the video clip(s)
Set the height to be 1072.
If you press the button on the bottom until it says "Move in Y only" you can drag the crop outline up and down and decide which side of the video you want to crop those 8 pixels from without worrying about accidentally moving left or right. Anything outside of the lines wont be rendered.
Now you want to render as a MainConcept AVC/AAC .mp4, but doing so actually darkens the videos and ups the contrast slightly. It's just an attribute of the MainConcept compression. This will cause your footage to be dark. You can balance this out with a Video FX plugin known as the Sony Color Corrector (Secondary). You don't want to click the little icon next to the clip to add it, because that will only add it to the individual clip. You want to add it to the ENTIRE video stream. To do that, click the "Video FX" tab (next to the Explorer, Trimmer, Project Media, etc tabs), click on Color Corrector (Secondary) on the left, and drag it all the way down to empty space on the video stream (such as after the clips; you can't drag it on a specific clip or it will only apply it to that clip).
Do the same thing with a Brightness and Contrast filter.
If you've properly added it to the whole stream the window that pops up will say Video Track
FX at the top, and a new "bar" appears underneath that video stream for track effects.
The preset that says "Computer RGB to Studio RGB" is CLOSE to correct, but a few modifications I made to it improves the quality further (slightly more brightness fix, as well as a slight increase in saturation, to counter YouTube's compression which washes out color slightly).
The settings are as follows (as well as the settings for Brightness and Contrast):
File -> Render As -> MainConcept AVC/AAC (*.mp4)
Render quality "Best", custom frame size: 1920x1072, Frame Rate 30 (or 25, or whatever makes sense, don't go over 30: youtube wont display more than 30). Field Order: None (Progressive Scan), Constant Bit Rate: 10,000,000
Your Audio settings can be set to match the audio clips you have included, but any higher than 192 is reduced by YouTube anyways I believe.
Once it's done rendering, upload to YouTube and profit.