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YouTube Widescreen PAL DV Format - Right Setting?

Aug 10, 2009 9:14 AM

This is not a question, but having seen a few postings here in the forum (and in YouTube Help) I thought it might be useful to publish my own findings in order to help others looking to place PAL Widescreen 16:9 DV Format 720x576 onto YouTube.

 

I have just spent 12 hours doing battle with the codecs in AME (Adobe Media Encoder) and what appeared to be a very unco-operative YouTube. I have read and re-read the topics on the subject still not knowing what the right setting is for DV PAL Widescreen 16:9 720x576  ( if there really is a definitive setting). What's more the instructions to leave the output the same as the input (in my case) proved to be way off beam. Hopefully, I can save someone their hair and and a night without sleep.

 

The material:

 

PAL Widescreen 16:9 DV Format 720x576 shot on a Sony HVR-ZE in DV SP. A small amount of material was shot in HD but down-converted (via the camera) to DV 16:9 format (no artifacts are visible in the final). Editing was in AVI with a number of renders for colour balance, levels, audio et al. News-type item running about 2 mins.

 

The Codec:

 

Like most, I went to the AME presets and started with Windows Media Video, always a safe bet I thought, and selected PAL Widescreen Source to High Quality Output (well you would, wouldn't you?), and besides the file size will be quite reasonable. Nope, YouTube didn't like that one bit - extremely poor definition, stretched and quite sick looking, even though the Windows Media Player loved it - correct aspects and quality.

 

After about an hour of fiddling, I then moved to H.264. I'd had success with PAL DV 4:3 aspects and learned that you must keep the output the same as the input - and what's more there are YouTube presets SD & HD. Again no luck, still quite awful and not a scratch on my edited final. But the Quicktime player (like the Wiundows Media Player) loved it. So those presets were out too. What followed was a long night trying different combinations of presets, aspects and just about everythinjg I could think of.

 

The Solution (for me):

 

Without getting into the aspect ratio debate of square pixels which has been well covered by more knowledgable persons than I, it was simply working through the issue which brought the light on.

 

What I had in effect from the DV format was not 720x576 which I stuck to throughout based upon passed experience, but 1440 by virtue of it being widescreen. So clutching nothing more than that concept the following morning (after some sleep) and recognising that YouTube looked like it was stretching the 720 format I went to H.264 and the 1440x1080i 25 High Quality preset. I thought if the YouTube player wants to stretch my 720x576 format then I thought let's see what it makes of a bigger mouthful to chew on. Also having got quite tired of waiting for the entire item to upload eveytime, I made a widescreen test project (DV PAL Widescreen 16:9) with just three shots in it.

 

On my first test of 1440x1080i 25 High Quality preset, Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels, Progressive, I uploaded to YouTube. Success! So I quickly set about uploading my main project - but no - it looked absolutely rubbish again - what is going on? GSpot gave no indications as to a problem (in fact I find this piece of software quite unhelpful with its false positives).

 

I uploaded my test project again, and the result was poor - again! Poor definition, like it had the wrong aspect setting.

 

I decided to close Premiere Pro and then start it up. Went into the test project and saved with the settings above (as they were the only ones that gave me success after hours of trying many others), but one thing I was careful not to do was to click around the settings - straight in and do it! Uploaded, and success again! Now I had my benchmark - and what's more, after a few minutes I saw the YouTube HD button come up and the HD tag alongside my video entry. I downloaded the MP4 file using the YouTube "Download" button - now I felt I was getting somewhere as this was my "control" sample.

 

I went through the same process with my main project - reloaded it into PP4 and set the settings H.264, 1440x1080i 25 High Quality preset, Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels, Progressive, in AME and started the queue. The total file for a 1min 40sec item was about 176MB. I uploaded to Youtube.

 

After about 10 minutes YouTube said "Live". I played the video - rubbish! But wait. The video started to improved on my next play - infact, after about 5 minutes the video was looking great. After 15 minutes or so the HD button came up. Hooray! I have my project on YouTube in the quality as near as to how it was shot.

 

Whether YouTube had been going through some HD issues at the time I have no idea; whether AME had really selected the right settings even though it said it had, or whether I had not given YouTube time to fully process, all I know is that I now have a repeatable solution to uploading DV PAL Widescreen to YouTube which reproduces my video as near to the original as it will be. But most important, if you are uploading a very large file, allow YouTube time to fully process the video. Often YouTube says "Live" but is still processing. The processing time can go on long after the "Live" message comes up.

 

Hope this helps someone else?

 

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2009 1:35 PM   in reply to Drystonewall
    the DV format was not 720x576 which I stuck to throughout based upon passed experience, but 1440 by virtue of it being widescreen.

     

    As a point of interest, anamorphic PAL DV translates to 1024 x 576 in square pixels.  1440 is the HD anamorphic equivalent.

     
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