> I'm using cyber direct power director, a pretty basic software. You can
> upload directly online, which I have had no problem doing until now, with the
> longer work. My tech abilities are not much far more advanced than on/off.
Alas, in today's mediascape 'on/off' doesn't cut it. If you want to distribute
work in video anywhere, be it online or festivals or whatnot, you need to know
some basic things about digital video technology. Google is your friend. At a
minimum, you need to know the difference between a container and a codec, and
the differences between different codecs used for video work.
Your editing program probably has you working in whatever codec your camera
records in: DV, HDV, AVCHD... The default output codec will be whatever was
used in the project timeline, and that's going to be too big, at too high a
data rate, for an effective upload of a longer piece to YouTube or other web
As others have noted, you should transcode your finished piece into the H264
codec before uploading it to the web. H264 is a compression format, and there
are different software tools for creating H264 streams from your finished
video. These are called 'encoders' and they're not separate programs, but are
components built-in to either a specific program or a system-wide video tool.
I'd guess PowerDirector has an H264 encoder built-in. If you have Quicktime on
your PC and export your file as QT, you have a choice to encode it with
Quicktime's H264 encoder. The thing is, all H264 encoders are not created equal
-- some work much better than others, producing better-looking results with
smaller file sizes. Apple's H264 encoder is notoriously mediocre -- it doesn't
suck, but it's not at the top of the heap.
What you want is a freeware software encoder called x264. It's a little geeky,
and as a Mac person, I have no idea how to install it on a PC. You might be
able to access it directly from within PowerDirector once you get it installed,
or not. Your best bet is to DL the freeware video transcoder Handbrake, which
has x264 built in. That way you don't have to mess with anything else. (The
Handbrake installer will prompt you to DL any external files it needs, just say
'OK', if/when it asks permission.) Once you have that installed, output your
film from PowerDirector in it's native codec and container, and then transcode
it for the web with Handbrake. x264 has LOTS of settings, almost all of which
you can ignore. All you need to do in the x264 settings within Handbrake is set
the frame-rate to whatever the project is in (29.97 or 23.98 unless you're in
Europe), and select one of the quality presets: choose 'Slow' or 'Slower'
unless you're really anal-retentive about image quality and are willing to wait
a very long time for the transcode to finish, in which case you can use 'Very
Slow'. Then in the Handbrake settings make sure the output resolution is set to
whatever you want -- usually whatever you worked in: 1920x1080 or 1280x720 for
HD. If your original is Interlaced (1080i) convert it to Progressive, which
will play better on a computer screen. Another option you might want to use
eventually is "Limit Data Rate" but just go with the default for now.
You'll need to specify a container format to save the Handbrake file (.MP4 .MOV
.MKV...). AFAIK, YouTube's ingestion system is agnostic in regard to containers
and will take anything you might choose. I use .MP4 because it'll play on
pretty much any platform or player software. (Most Macs aren't equipped to play
.MKV and a lot of PCs aren't equipped to play .MOV).
I just went to YouTube and typed 'handbrake tutorial' in the search field,
which yielded "About 58,300 results". Some of these are probably lousy or even
wrong, but if you start with the ones with the most page views you can probably
get some decent guidance.
One benefit of making your own H264 file before upping to YouTube is you'll
know what it's going to look like on the web, as YT will do little or nothing
to the actual video data. If you upload something in a less-compressed codec,
YouTube will automatically transcode it based on their own algorithms, which
can yield yucky-looking results in some cases...
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