Adobe Premiere suggests a list of presets when encoding a video. For me, the good candidates to encode for YouTube are:

  • HDTV 1080p 24 High Quality
  • HDTV 1080p 25 High Quality
  • HDTV 1080p 29.97 High Quality
  • NTSC DV Widescreen High Quality
  • PAL DV Widescreen High Quality
  • YouTube Widescreen SD
  • YouTube Widescreen HD

So far, I've tried YouTube Widescreen HD and YouTube Widescreen HD. YouTube Widescreen HD is quite fast to encode, and the exported file is not too big. But there is a slight decrease from the 1080p raw footage (I'm using footage from a Panasonic HDC-SD900), and it is only available in 720p max in YouTube.

So I've tried HDTV 1080p 24 High Quality. The quality is almost as good as the raw footage (it is hard to tell the difference). But the video takes ages to encode, and its size is huge (for a 1min30 video, the size is about 30MB with YouTube Widescreen HD, and 300MB with HDTV 1080p 24 High Quality.

Is there something in between that gives good results? Based on the format, aspect ratio and frame rate of YouTube, what should I use?


I'd stick to the HDTV 1080p presets. I don't know why they put in YouTube presets, but if those really affect the quality of your videos, I wouldn't recommend them.

I've uploaded a few 1080p videos to YouTube, and it hasn't changed the resolution to 720p. Although my workflow included exporting a high-quality version from Premiere, and then re-encoding with x264 through FFmpeg, I don't think YouTube will downscale a 1080p video. It might just take time to appear on the website, since YouTube needs to re-encode the videos.

Choose one of those presets and go to Video settings. Choose the matching frame rate for your source material, and select PAL (depending on what the camcorder outputs).

Then, choose the High Profile (yes, YouTube supports that)

Now, let's get to the most important part affecting the quality: The bit rate. Premiere Pro assumes a very high bit rate of around 20 MBit/s for exporting. No wonder why your files are becoming this huge. 20 MBit/s is something you'd use in broadcasting and for archiving the files. You really don't need it when uploading to YouTube, unless you're on an enterprise network connection.

You can reduce the bit rate to around 2-8 MBit/s, which is still a sane value for 1080p h.264 video (and recommended by YouTube). You can actually see the estimated output file size and change the bit rate according to that, too.

Personally, I've found the MainConcept encoder bundled with Premiere Pro to be quite slow. There's not much you can do about it, I guess.

  • +1 and lets repeat this again "Choose the matching frame rate for your source" because the suggested items shown in the Q. Keeping the frame rate the same as the original frame rate is going to be a whole lot better than picking something post , that requires frame interpolations. Changing frame rates mid-stream is one error people make. – Psycogeek Apr 16 '12 at 9:18
  • Yup. Also, never let it activate Field Order (i.e. interlaced video) unless the camera also outputs interlaced footage — it'll look horrible. – slhck Apr 16 '12 at 9:19
  • Well, the frame rate if 50 fps, should I use that, or cut in half and take 25 to make frame interpolation easy ? Also, if my video contains multiple footage sequences with different frame rates, should I use the lower one / higher one, or the one that is the most present ? – Benjamin Crouzier Apr 16 '12 at 9:34
  • I'd go with 50 fps. I just checked, your camcorder outputs 50, so that's fine. If it's mixed footage, that's harder – if you have to go down, only take 25, since it's easier to cut down. But generally, I'd stay with 50. @pin – slhck Apr 16 '12 at 9:38
  • Do you have a updated link for the "supports that" link, it is currently dead. – Scott Chamberlain Aug 9 '13 at 20:52

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