I've thus far avoided posting much video online, partly 'cause I don't really know how (even though I helped document the relevant Dreamweaver plugin some years back). Also because I don't know of a place where I can post video that isn't visible to the whole world, which I'd sometimes like to do.
But Mary Anne's been posting some videos lately, like this afternoon's Kavi with mirror video. And she asked about quality, and I got curious and did some poking around, 'cause not knowing what to do about quality is one reason I haven't posted many videos.
So here are some notes:
- The YouTube Help Center claims that "All you need to do is [...] upload the highest quality video you have available."
- The Making Movies blog suggests "reducing the amount of detail and motion in your video" and adds: "Shoot in front of a visually simple scene, and mount your camera on a tripod."
- The Automatic Filmmaker provides 6 tips for High Quality Youtube Video, including: start with your original video (rather than a compressed version of it); use the H.264 compression codec; etc.
- Wikipedia's section about YouTube video formats may shed a little light on all this.
If I'm understanding all these pages right, YouTube stores the version that you upload, but also does compression/conversion on a copy of it, so that YouTube viewers who don't explicitly request "high-quality video" will see the lower-quality version generated by YouTube.
Btw, another issue that people often run into when uploading video is what, if any, music to use in the video. Making Movies has a useful post about music, copyright, and fair use that discusses some ways to deal with this issue.
On an unrelated note, I should add even more of a disclaimer than the one that appears on the front page of my blog: I'm definitely not speaking for my employer in this entry, and I have no special knowledge of what YouTube does or doesn't do, etc. Everything I know or think I know about this stuff comes from publicly accessible web pages like the ones linked to above.