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Youtube 4K quality is so poor you might as well shoot 1080p


kye

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17 hours ago, hyalinejim said:

Love me some 1080p!

A fortnight ago, I shot 5 hrs of interviews for a 5 minute corporate video. 1080p 100mbps all the way. I do lots of jobs like this and like to keep everything I shoot in case a client wants to use it again. I hate when hard drives fill up and I have to deal with offloading projects to external backup. Give me clean 1080p every day of the week!

I shudder when I see specs like "8k, 960mbps". Where is all this footage gonna go?

I feel like the 150mbps 4k 10 bit 422 Long GOP codec in lumix cameras is amazingly robust with no clear signs of compression. 

So sometimes I'd argue that the actual bit rate doesn't matter as much as the compression method. 

With that said, YouTube does have a pretty bad compression method. 

Personally, I upload in the highest possible resolution available when I can. Because you know what looks worse than YouTube 4k? YouTube 1080. 

But yeah vimeo and other sites are easily cleaner. Like 4k on vimeo actually looks like 4k, where as 4k on YouTube looks more like 1080 

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Yes, this is a big claim. Allow me to explain how I came to this conclusion, and prove it to you. First off, the evidence.  This is a video containing 5 compositions that were each shot with

In my opinion, this is one of the reasons to upload in 8K with YouTube. It doesn't really matter what display you're viewing it on, phone/laptop/1080p display/4K display, setting the quality to 8K giv

I think the highest possible resolution on the phone is dependent on the phone itself. Mine can do 1440p, for instance. You don’t necessarily have to do 8K, it’s just the best data rate. 4K is double

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In my opinion, this is one of the reasons to upload in 8K with YouTube. It doesn't really matter what display you're viewing it on, phone/laptop/1080p display/4K display, setting the quality to 8K gives you the maximum data rates that YouTube can offer. An 8K upload on a 4K HDR TV looks incredible. Even if your source is 4K, I would use a custom H.265 Media Encoder preset to get an 8K file for YouTube. 

Again, it's not about the resolution it's about the data rate and a 1080p file gives you roughly 29% of the data rates that an 8K file does. 4K gives you about half. So just by uploading an 8K file you get double the data rates for your view port. 

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On my smartphone, the Youtube App won't give me a resolution higher than 1080p on any of my 4K videos.  There use to be a time that you had to upload 4K to get a decent 1080p video.  Now its 8K thats required.  What next, 12K, 16K; just to get a passable Youtube video... 

Besides, its people viewing my videos thats the issue.  If I left my smartphone on Auto resolution, it pumps out 420p.  So unless my clients know how to change resolution with Youtube, its not going to matter what I upload.  

My other choice is Vimeo.  Though I also send files directly to be viewed via clients on their computer.  So I see this where the quality shines.

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30 minutes ago, SteveV4D said:

On my smartphone, the Youtube App won't give me a resolution higher than 1080p on any of my 4K videos.  There use to be a time that you had to upload 4K to get a decent 1080p video.  Now its 8K thats required.  What next, 12K, 16K; just to get a passable Youtube video... 

Besides, its people viewing my videos thats the issue.  If I left my smartphone on Auto resolution, it pumps out 420p.  So unless my clients know how to change resolution with Youtube, its not going to matter what I upload.  

My other choice is Vimeo.  Though I also send files directly to be viewed via clients on their computer.  So I see this where the quality shines.

I think the highest possible resolution on the phone is dependent on the phone itself. Mine can do 1440p, for instance. You don’t necessarily have to do 8K, it’s just the best data rate. 4K is double the 1080p data rate so simply upscaling your 1080p timeline at the end will make for a better looking 1080p (assuming people choose to view in 4K).
 

The “Auto” setting is based solely on connection speeds. My desktop has a really bad WiFi adapter, when I’m using WiFi and watching an 8K video “auto” will go to 1080p. If I plug in via Ethernet that same video will automatically go to 8K.

Keep in mind that it will also cap based on your device. I’m happy that most TV YouTube apps finally support 4K so those videos now look amazing on my 4K HDR home display. 
 

 

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@Neumann Films @SteveV4D @fuzzynormal 

I think this is actually a myth.  I don't think that uploading a video at 4K gives you any better quality when viewing the 1080p stream from YT.

I'm doing a test right now, but I've previously looked at the 1080p stream across multiple videos, and the average bitrate for the 1080p stream was basically the same when the video was uploaded at 4K or at 1080p.

What will get you a better looking image is uploading at a higher bitrate.  So if you upload 1080p at 25Mbps and 4K at 100Mbps then the 1080 stream from the 100Mbps file will be better, but not because it was in 4K.

People seem to still be very confused by YT....  

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26 minutes ago, kye said:

If you upload 1080p at 25Mbps and 4K at 100Mbps then the 1080 stream from the 100Mbps file will be better

FWIW, when I'm uploading a video with twice the resolution I tend to make the file twice the data rate.  My anecdote is based on naked-eye results from when I started doing these sorts of uploads 4 years ago.  I imagine things are constantly changing with platform codecs, for better and worse.  

All I can tell you is that uprez'ing/up'data'ing my film files made the vids look better when when watching 1080 on said platforms.  Really made a difference back then on YouTube more than Vimeo.

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8 hours ago, Neumann Films said:

In my opinion, this is one of the reasons to upload in 8K with YouTube. It doesn't really matter what display you're viewing it on, phone/laptop/1080p display/4K display, setting the quality to 8K gives you the maximum data rates that YouTube can offer. An 8K upload on a 4K HDR TV looks incredible. Even if your source is 4K, I would use a custom H.265 Media Encoder preset to get an 8K file for YouTube. 

Again, it's not about the resolution it's about the data rate and a 1080p file gives you roughly 29% of the data rates that an 8K file does. 4K gives you about half. So just by uploading an 8K file you get double the data rates for your view port. 

I agree, that 8K even at low bitrates makes for stunning 4K.

I have 8K on an Xiaomi Mi 10 smartphone, and it doesn't pixel peep well to say the least!

But viewed at 4K it's glorious.

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Here's some data...

Original 4K upload 225Mbps:

image.thumb.png.2cf5715c2801c2f7f55879689612d829.png

1080p upload 47Mbps:

image.thumb.png.e62c4b1592d3aa994ce0e71dcf4abde5.png

1080p upload 96Mbps:

image.thumb.png.73af34021b0a12edc3f32d2322beef9c.png

So:

  • 4K at 225Mbps upload gives a 1080p stream at 2.5Mbps
  • 1080p at 47Mbps upload gives a 1080p stream at 2.0Mbps
  • 1080p at 96Mbps upload gives a 1080p stream at 3.5Mbps

I'm willing to call that conclusive..  Uploading at a higher resolution is not the answer to people watching in lesser resolutions.

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I haven't used YouTube in many years, but here are two facts:

1. YouTube re-encodes everything you upload

2. The more data an encoder is given, the better the results

While the 1080p bitrate is the same for the viewer whether you uploaded in 4k or HD, it's possible (but not a given) that any extra information that YouTube's encoder is given makes a better 1080p file. Though my intuition is that the margin there is so small, uploading in 4k will not give any perceptible difference for people streaming in 1080p.

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@kye, that seems to tell me that the way to get YouTube to encode and show the highest quality stream (ie. the largest file) is the 4K version, right? The 4K version was over 100MB while the largest 1080p was 35.

For me, there are two things to consider. The file size and the viewport. The quality/resolution setting should be viewed more like a data rate setting. Your viewport is your viewport, 720p, 1080p, or 2160p.  You can choose to view a 35MB file in said viewport, a 100MB file or a 200+MB file (with 8K). 

I'm not the most technically minded person so I very well could just be missing something super obvious. To me it seems like the larger the file size>more data rate>better stream/encode. 

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29 minutes ago, kye said:
  • 4K at 225Mbps upload gives a 1080p stream at 2.5Mbps
  • 1080p at 47Mbps upload gives a 1080p stream at 2.0Mbps
  • 1080p at 96Mbps upload gives a 1080p stream at 3.5Mbps

I just re read your comment and I do think I know what you're saying now (and that you're correct...I think). I'm pretty sure I'm trying to make a different/alternate point. My point has more to do with 8K vs. 4K. vs. 1080p, not 8K (1080p setting) vs. 4K (1080p setting) vs. 1080p Original. Does that make sense? 

I'm more concerned with the 100MB file that the 4K at 225Mbps gives you vs. what the 1080p re encode of that file gives you.

It is odd that YouTube encodes a 1080p proxy from a 4K file more strictly than it does a 1080p direct upload. It also makes sense though, the more proxies they have to make the more data required for each video. An 8K upload requires a whopping NINE proxies. 8K/4K/1440p/1080p/720p/480/360/240/144. From a storage/bandwith point of view it makes sense to give encoding priority to the highest/native resolution and then choke the lower ones.

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16 minutes ago, KnightsFan said:

I haven't used YouTube in many years, but here are two facts:

1. YouTube re-encodes everything you upload

2. The more data an encoder is given, the better the results

While the 1080p bitrate is the same for the viewer whether you uploaded in 4k or HD, it's possible (but not a given) that any extra information that YouTube's encoder is given makes a better 1080p file. Though my intuition is that the margin there is so small, uploading in 4k will not give any perceptible difference for people streaming in 1080p.

1) yes, 2) not necessarily.

The 4K file was uploaded at over twice the bitrate as the better 1080p upload, yet the 1080p from it was only 70%.  

It might be that a 4K reference file might give a slightly better IQ per bitrate stream, that 'bump' is competing with a 70% bitrate, and considering we're talking FHD at 2.5Mbps - I'd think the bitrate would win.

Just now, Neumann Films said:

@kye, that seems to tell me that the way to get YouTube to encode and show the highest quality stream (ie. the largest file) is the 4K version, right? The 4K version was over 100MB while the largest 1080p was 35.

No.

The 4K file was uploaded at over twice the bitrate as the better 1080p upload, yet the 1080p from it was only 70%.  

Judging from this, the logical conclusion is that more bitrate at the same resolution helps, and the same bitrate at a higher resolution HURTS.

I suspect that YT might be looking at bitrate-per-pixel, which would explain why the 47Mbps 1080 was closer to the 225Mbps 4K file.

Let's summarise that again, but looking at bitrate-per-pixel:

image.thumb.png.fbf7e7481f8b8dd43061d89cdb00f26a.png

Notice that the bits-per-pixel matches much more closely than the absolute bitrate..  still some variation, but much closer.

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36 minutes ago, Neumann Films said:

I just re read your comment and I do think I know what you're saying now (and that you're correct...I think). I'm pretty sure I'm trying to make a different/alternate point. My point has more to do with 8K vs. 4K. vs. 1080p, not 8K (1080p setting) vs. 4K (1080p setting) vs. 1080p Original. Does that make sense? 

I'm more concerned with the 100MB file that the 4K at 225Mbps gives you vs. what the 1080p re encode of that file gives you.

It is odd that YouTube encodes a 1080p proxy from a 4K file more strictly than it does a 1080p direct upload. It also makes sense though, the more proxies they have to make the more data required for each video. An 8K upload requires a whopping NINE proxies. 8K/4K/1440p/1080p/720p/480/360/240/144. From a storage/bandwith point of view it makes sense to give encoding priority to the highest/native resolution and then choke the lower ones.

I agree that a 4K upload watched at 4K is WAY better than a 1080p upload watched at 1080p.  Absolutely.

The challenge with uploading 6K and 8K is that people won't watch at 6K or 8K, they'll watch at 4K or 1080p.

It's kind of like me saying that you're going to love my new video because I shot it in 25K, and you have to watch it in 25K or you'll miss out.  Not going to happen.

At some point you have to optimise your viewing experience for the people watching, rather than the best possible experience if a viewer sells their car to setup a system.  For many that's people watching in 4K, for most it's people watching in 1080p, or even 720p.

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2 minutes ago, kye said:

I suspect that YT might be looking at bitrate-per-pixel

I think they are too, that's more or less my point. If you took a 1 minute video and exported a 400MB 8K file and a 400MB 1080p file, I would imagine you would end up with a 200MB 8K YouTube encode and a 50MB or so 1080p upload. Therefore, the 8K (in essence) is the key to getting the highest data rates. The tradeoff seems to be that you get worse 4K/1080p flavors?

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2 minutes ago, kye said:

The challenge with uploading 6K and 8K is that people won't watch at 6K or 8K, they'll watch at 4K or 1080p.

Yes, right. We are in the same boat then. I think that all then comes down to what you're uploading, what the intent is, who the audience is etc. It's like making a video game that takes full advantage of the latest tech but is horribly optimized for mid/lower level machines. 

For me, 8K on YouTube is where it's at. Chrome plays it easily with the most average of internet speeds, regardless of your display resolution. So, I just view it as the best end quality for a video (as of right now).

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25 minutes ago, kye said:

1) yes, 2) not necessarily.

The 4K file was uploaded at over twice the bitrate as the better 1080p upload, yet the 1080p from it was only 70%.  

It might be that a 4K reference file might give a slightly better IQ per bitrate stream, that 'bump' is competing with a 70% bitrate, and considering we're talking FHD at 2.5Mbps - I'd think the bitrate would win.

My second fact wasn't about whatever YouTube is doing, I was just stating that encoders almost universally do better with more input data. So if in YouTube's case the quality is lower from the 4K upload, then they must be encoding differently based on input file--which would not be surprising actually.

So I have no idea what YouTube is actually doing, I'm just explaining that it's possible @fuzzynormal does see an improvement.

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4 hours ago, KnightsFan said:

My second fact wasn't about whatever YouTube is doing, I was just stating that encoders almost universally do better with more input data. So if in YouTube's case the quality is lower from the 4K upload, then they must be encoding differently based on input file--which would not be surprising actually.

So I have no idea what YouTube is actually doing, I'm just explaining that it's possible @fuzzynormal does see an improvement.

I have bolded the most significant word in your post...  "almost" 😂😂😂

I suspect that YouTube might make some kind of allowance for making 1080p videos better in 1080 than 4K videos are, as there's kind of a relationship between upload resolution and who watches stuff.  People that have channels with nothing to do with aesthetics aren't likely to chase the highest resolutions.  There will be exceptions of course, but as a general principle I think it holds up.

I expect that @fuzzynormal probably does see a difference.  I can see a difference, and once I learned where to look and what to look for, I think I could probably see that difference even if there weren't comparable shots.  

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this thread is that there wasn't consensus about if it was visible, or for those who had a preference, which one was even best.  I think it's one of those things where being right doesn't necessarily align you with popular opinion, and it may not actually give you any kind of advantage in the end anyway.

By the time we factor in all the overheads, which may be hidden for many people at this point but are real nonetheless, I think that for many 4K isn't worth it.

32 minutes ago, newfoundmass said:

I'm not sure how you'd test this, but I have heard that certain channels, particularly ones with a lot of subscribers, get higher quality encoding and improved audio quality. If true I wonder how much of a bump those channels get?

That's easy..  we'll all need to go on a prolonged campaign to blow up my channel and get it to a million subs, then I promise I'll do the test 🙂 

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