I'm having trouble uploading an HD quality video via ftp because it's just so stinking big. I'm pretty sure I'm not compressing it properly. What settings would you guys use to get the file as small as possible without losing quality?
What format have you tried so far? How long is the video, what resolution (720 or 1080?) is it, and how big is the file you're getting now? What software are you using to compress it?
You've got a basic problem in that you can't avoid losing quality when it's compressed -- the smaller the file gets, the worse it will look. You just need to find the sweet spot between a manageable file size and acceptable quality.
H.264 compression is probably the best best for good quality and small file size. A good starting point would to use Vimeo's recommendations for uploading HD video to their site: "We recommend using the H.264 codec at size 1280×720, bit rate 3000-5000 kbits/sec (optimized for “download”), key frame every 30 frames (frame reordering on), using whatever frame rate you shot in. For sound, use AAC at 128kbps in stereo."
Specific recommendations will depend on what software and platform (Mac, PC) you're using to encode the video.
Thanks, this is good! Using Adobe Premiere CS4 on a PC, so I'm not seeing an option for H.264, I'll google around for the PC equivalent. I currently have it at 1440x1080, at 29.97 frames per second. I'll try the settings you give from Vimeo, that should probably help a lot, many thanks!
The fact that you've got Premiere CS4 gives you a lot of control over your encoding options with the Adobe Media Encoder -- good deal. You should be able to encode H.264 with this.
A few things:
Before you scale down the resolution to 720, what is the target for the video? Where will it ultimately play? The web (i.e., Youtube or Vimeo), broadcast, DVD, etc.? The recipient might prefer to have the full resolution...
Leave the frame rate alone - keep it at the natively-captured 29.97.
To get the H.264 encoder option, you should be able to select the sequence in the project tab (click it once), then choose File > Export > Media. (Is this how you're currently encoding the video?) Within the "Export Settings" window that shows up, there should be a "Format" drop-down under "Export Settings" with H.264 and various presets in the drop-down below that... I see one labeled "1440 x 1080i 29.97 High Quality." ... Once you hit "Okay" on this window, it should invoke the Adobe Media Encoder and start crunching away.
You'll also get better quality if you use 2-Pass VBR encoding. This takes longer to encode, but it goes through the video twice to get a better quality image.
Try running short tests on a couple clips to find the right quality level for you if you've got a long show to encode.
- Nathan, who worked at a TV production company for 4+ years before quitting to travel! :)