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This FAQ from the library at the top of this forum is a good place to start.
Thanks, but that's from before youtube started supporting HD. I don't think that FAQ applies any more, right?
Well, YouTube is always a moving target. As soon as someone figures it out, they change everything.
I'm not sure anyone has a better solution yet.
I would read this for vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/forums/topic:3671
Thanks very much E Mann, that was a very helpful thread. I think it actually would apply for youtube as well. For other users, here's a direct link to the settings for Premiere Elements:
Roughly, the answer is:
Video codec: H.264
Quality: 80 (I used 100 and it just takes longer to encode)
Frame Rate: 29.97 (I guess if you are shooting in 24p, this might be different)
Bitrate: 5000 (I might try 8000)
Audio codec: AAC
Output channels: Stereo
Now, my own personal changes to this recipe are:
Quality: 100 - takes longer to encode, no file size difference
Frequency: 44kHz (recommended by youtube)
One final note is that for Vimeo it appears you may have to try encoding in 29.97 or 23.97 and test to see which you like better. Apparently Vimeo caps fps at 24.
The nice thing about this is that you can get a quality video directly out of Premiere Elements and you don't have to pipe it through another program.