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Getting good video quality on YouTube


kye

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Hi All,

I've decided that I might use unlisted videos on YouTube for distribution of my home videos, but had a couple of attempts and didn't like the quality after YT compressed them, so I've decided to work out the right settings.  I've seen various threads on this, but people don't seem to have an answer beyond methods that are the least worst, so I decided to do my own tests.  This thread is kind of my public notes on this.

Ok, the tests.

The test video I have used is some "flowers" (weeds) in my backyard.  The video is 3.44 seconds (in order to keep the file sizes manageable) UHD 366Mbps.

Bitrates specified below are in Megabits per second, based on the file size divided by the 3.44 second duration.

Upload test #1 - No processing 366Mbps - I uploaded the MXF file straight to YT

Hypothesis #1 - I'm doing something wrong in Resolve exporting.
In the following tests I took the original file into Resolve, put it on a UHD timeline, no edits or grades applied, and exported straight from Resolve in the codec specified.

Upload test #2 Prores 422 HQ 963Mbps

Upload test #3 Prores 422 Proxy 178Mbps

Upload test #4 H 264 20k 92Mbps (20k refers to restricting the Quality to 20000 Kb/s in the export settings)

Upload test #5 H 264 10k 92Mbps  (10k refers to restricting the Quality to 10000 Kb/s in the export settings)

Upload test #6 H 264 5k 92Mbps   (5k refers to restricting the Quality to 5000 Kb/s in the export settings)

Hypothesis #1 result - The higher quality output files look fine - therefore I'm not fundamentally stuffing things up in exporting from Resolve.

Hypothesis #2 - I'm stuffing up my grades somehow.  In order to test this I applied a grade which radically brightened and clipped the highlights (and most of the frame), followed by a node that darkened to compensate, followed by the Sharpen Edges OFX plugin, followed by the Glow OFX plugin which I like.

Upload test #7 H 264 5k with levels glow sharpen 91Mbps

Hypothesis #2 result - also looks fine to me - therefore it's not the Resolve grading engine, or some common OFX plugins I apply.

Hypothesis #3: I have always worked on a 1080 timeline and exported 1080 files - maybe that is the cause?
In order to test this, I exported at 1080.

Upload test #8 H.264 5k with levels glow sharpen 1080 8Mbps (8Mbps! I was very surprised it came out with such a low bitrate - the 5k Quality setting on the UHD version was 92Mbps!)

So I started raising the bitrate again..

Upload test #9 H.264 10k with levels glow sharpen 1080 14Mbps

Upload test #10 H.264 20k with levels glow sharpen 1080 28Mbps

Upload test #11 H.264 40k with levels glow sharpen 1080 54Mbps

Considering that all we care about is quality and file size upload time, a good comparison would be between the 4k ~92Mbps files and the 1080 ~92Mbps files.  Therefore:

Upload test #12 H.264 80k with levels glow sharpen 1080 92Mbps

Hypothesis #3 result: Yes, uploading a 1080 file instead of 4k (even with the same file size and duration) yields a worse quality result.

That's where I've gotten to tonight.  I have another idea to test, so will likely write a part 2, however, I think that's a result of note.

Lesson - upload in 4k.

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Nicely done.

An I believe you are correct. All tests Ive seen including my own point to the same thing. Thats why its been the nr1 recommendation for a long time on how to get better looking YT video. 
Higher resolution will grant the video a higher bitrate. So an upscaled HD video will sometimes look better than a downscaled 4K video.
A middle path if you want higher bitrate than if you upload HD but smaller files than upscaling to 4K is to upload in 1440p.

If memory serves me right, YT grants the following:
4K - 35ish Mbps
1440p - 10 Mbps
HD - 4 Mbps

 

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13 hours ago, markr041 said:

I have been very happy with the resolution of streamed YouTube videos that I have uploaded in 4K HDR (both HLG and HDR10), viewed in 4K or 1080. Also 4K 60P (SDR) videos have looked good. My uploaded videos are at a minimum 135 Mbps.

Good stuff.  One of the reasons I started this thread was that most people in forums are unhappy with the results they're getting.

I am interested in your export settings - what software, export file format and codecs are you using?

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2 hours ago, kye said:

Good stuff.  One of the reasons I started this thread was that most people in forums are unhappy with the results they're getting.

I am interested in your export settings - what software, export file format and codecs are you using?

Almost always H264 (XAVC) at 100+ Mbps for 4K or DNxHR HQX 10bit for HDR.

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20 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

Nicely done.

An I believe you are correct. All tests Ive seen including my own point to the same thing. Thats why its been the nr1 recommendation for a long time on how to get better looking YT video. 
Higher resolution will grant the video a higher bitrate. So an upscaled HD video will sometimes look better than a downscaled 4K video.
A middle path if you want higher bitrate than if you upload HD but smaller files than upscaling to 4K is to upload in 1440p.

If memory serves me right, YT grants the following:
4K - 35ish Mbps
1440p - 10 Mbps
HD - 4 Mbps

Thanks Mattias - lots of interesting stuff in here to test.  For some reason I'm still motivated to keep going on this topic.

In terms of bitrates, I downloaded all those videos, and all the 4K ones were 13Mbps and all the 1080 ones were 5.5Mbps.  This is a bit of an inconclusive test, considering that VLC states that the 4k videos got downloaded as 1440p videos, and the 1080 videos came down as 1080 (a couple as 1088), so it might be something that the downloader has asked YT for, not YT itself.

That was using 4kdownloader - does anyone have another tool they'd recommend? 

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1) 4k and 1440 streams at a higher bitrate than 1080

2) uploading in 4k almost always triggers vp9 encoding. if your channel is tiny (less than 10,000 views per video) your video never gets past mp4 encoding. vp9 is much higher quality than mp4. Stats for nerds can be used on the app or browser to confirm the video codec.

3) even vp9 suffers from compression artificers due to YouTube using low bitrates. Vimeo or cloud hosting is the better alternative if you want higher quality streams

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My channel has not many views but I always got the VP9 codec from the start with my hundreds of 4K videos. They have recently stopped showing the VP9 in the nerd info. Instead they name the codec 313/opus 251. In Marks video it´s 315/opus 251. I never use any program for uploading. I just upload my original HEVC 120Mbps edited files. 

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1 hour ago, kye said:

That was using 4kdownloader - does anyone have another tool they'd recommend? 

I use ANT video downloader plugin for FireFox. It uses FFmpeg to combine the file, you can ether install it yourself or have the plugin download it for you. On FF Quantum it's a little different so you might wanna test both. I use FireFox Portable from portableapps.com so you can mock around all you want without breaking anything.
You might wanna try something like h264ify to get H264 instead of VP9 from youtube.

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2 hours ago, kye said:

 

That was using 4kdownloader - does anyone have another tool they'd recommend? 

If you are on a Mac you can download any stream natively in Safari. Or at least you could the last time I did a few years ago. Cant remember the command for it but Im sure someone else remembers it.

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Thanks all - I'll give the above suggestions a look.

Ultimately what I'm trying to do is get a local copy of what is shown on the screen when you watch it.  
I'm thinking I can pull the downloaded file back into Resolve, then using a layer mixer set to Difference blend mode it will give the magnitude of the difference and we can see if there's anything useful to be learned about the various formats and bitrates.  Ultimately what we care about is the difference between what we see in Resolve and what others will see online.

13 hours ago, andrgl said:

if your channel is tiny (less than 10,000 views per video) your video never gets past mp4 encoding. vp9 is much higher quality than mp4.

I did wonder if there was a threshold for getting better quality.  If I can work out how to get reliable info then I can do a study on codec vs subscribers.

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Just on my lunch break and I have done a couple of tests, and I've found that neither 4kdownloader nor the Firefox plugin Video Download Helper will let me download 4k versions, without my UHD external display connected anyway.

However, this site seems very helpful and will let me download things at 2160p http://video.genyoutube.net/1ror9CDQZ3o

If you use that link (which is my Upload test #1 above) and choose the 2160p version then the downloaded file shows as 3840x2176 VP9 codec, and considering I think I have 4 subscribers that means this codec is available to everyone!

[Edit: although I am a YT Red member, so maybe that gives me better quality - more work required]

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I have never had a problem downloading 4k even tho I have 1920x1200 monitor.
*edit* this is the one I'm using https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloader-player/
You can grab older version 2.4.7.43 that works with ff48 for example (I use that version)
If you are using the one that looks like a tri color pellet then I stopped using that long ago.

VP9 would be the default since it's used for HTML5

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Does anyone know how to get this file type into Resolve?

VLC info on the file that the genyoutube downloaded:

5a96ad446e7f2_ScreenShot2018-02-28at9_22_56pm.png.8a84f79c39323eae1a2679e68af41dfa.png

5a96ad53578f2_ScreenShot2018-02-28at8_16_28pm.png.cb9da7cfe969a4325546d769f281e5e1.png

I'm inclined to think this is likely to be the raw output that YT streams, rather than a re-interpreted version, so if I can get Resolve to load it that would be great.

59 minutes ago, no_connection said:

If you are using the one that looks like a tri color pellet then I stopped using that long ago.

Yes - that's the one I have been using.  I think that the genyoutube site is likely to be the winner, but only if I can get the files back into Resolve!

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I'm still having trouble with downloading.

Firstly, I found genyoutube.com but can't get the saved file into Resolve.  

Also, I don't seem to be able to get videos to show in YT as more than 1440p - they simply don't give me that option.

This video here:

Gives me this in Stats For Nerds:

5a97e7ad77e6a_ScreenShot2018-03-01at7_39_22pm.png.a0a302d0a5968974d262d6892f2e024e.png

and this one:

Gives me this:

5a97e858b4ba0_ScreenShot2018-03-01at7_46_42pm.png.5cf761b932564b46c193670552b9395f.png

I find it hard to believe that both of those videos weren't uploaded in 4k.  

Can someone else please let me know if they are able to see a 2160p option in YT?  

On 27/02/2018 at 6:53 PM, andrgl said:

Stats for nerds can be used on the app or browser to confirm the video codec.

Didn't know about that - thanks!

On 27/02/2018 at 7:22 PM, Anders Bixbe said:

They have recently stopped showing the VP9 in the nerd info. Instead they name the codec 313/opus 251. In Marks video it´s 315/opus 251.

It looks like it's changed again from the two shown above - my original upload is also the same as above.

On 27/02/2018 at 8:33 PM, no_connection said:

I use ANT video downloader plugin for FireFox. It uses FFmpeg to combine the file, you can ether install it yourself or have the plugin download it for you. On FF Quantum it's a little different so you might wanna test both. I use FireFox Portable from portableapps.com so you can mock around all you want without breaking anything.
You might wanna try something like h264ify to get H264 instead of VP9 from youtube.

23 hours ago, no_connection said:

I have never had a problem downloading 4k even tho I have 1920x1200 monitor.
*edit* this is the one I'm using https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloader-player/
You can grab older version 2.4.7.43 that works with ff48 for example (I use that version)
If you are using the one that looks like a tri color pellet then I stopped using that long ago.

VP9 would be the default since it's used for HTML5

Well, I tried installing Ant Video Downloader, and I now know that you're both PC users.  and from this comment, you now know I'm a Mac user!  The extension installs, but not the standalone program. Doh!

On 27/02/2018 at 8:33 PM, Mattias Burling said:

If you are on a Mac you can download any stream natively in Safari. Or at least you could the last time I did a few years ago. Cant remember the command for it but Im sure someone else remembers it.

I did a bit of googling and I found something that says that you need a certain version or earlier for it to work, so it looks like that's not an option anymore.

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