Recording and mixing for YouTube

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smtimecharlie
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Recording and mixing for YouTube

Post by smtimecharlie » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:27 am

Hi Everyone,

I created and posted my first YouTube video lately, and realized just how little I know about video formats. I also started to wonder whether it's better to use WAV files and only go to compressed file format after adding video, or use an MP3 during video editing.

Anyone have recommendations for a rough workflow with iMovie? For example, start with WAV during video editing in iMovie, save to MPEG4, upload the MPEG4 to YouTube (which also seems to do its own compression step)?

iMovie has it's own "upload to YouTube" utility which seems to work better than any combination I've tried...but I have no idea what it's doing!

Here's my video, for reference. The video itself was taken on a camera meant for stills, so there's no hope for the video quality.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57Nnn5rYnmc

Audio was recorded with AKG1000 and Groove Tubes AM62 -> Soundcraft pre's / GT Brick for AM62 -> M-Audio Audiophile -> Sound Forge.

Thanks in advance for any insight.

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jgimbel
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Post by jgimbel » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:13 pm

GREAT cover!

I've been doing low-budget gear reviews on Youtube for a little while now, so I can relate! My videos are usually made up of the video with sound recorded to what I use for general recording (Cubase) which I match up to the video using After Effects. I've tried using different kinds of audio and video files, and basically what I've found is just using the highest quality files for everything is your best shot at getting the best audio. I use WAV files saved from Cubase, into After Effects and saved usually as a .mov file, either uncompressed or with the H246 codec (I think that's what it's called!). The big thing that I've found is to have my video files be as big (pixel-wise) as possible, because if you make it big it'll let you see the video has HD. That's not so important in itself, as my picture quality isn't stellar either (I'm using a Nikon D90 now but most of mine were just with the iSight camera). The important thing is with the HD selection on Youtube comes much better sound. I'm not sure what the minimum size needed is for Youtube, because they decide what's HD or not. I've put up videos with kind of bigger sizes that didn't end up having the HD option. But yeah, WAV files and as little compression as possible when viewed in HD gives pretty good sound. I always try to stress to people (in the description) to watch in HD because the sound quality's better, since that's the focus of my videos.

Youtube compresses things with a lot of artifacts, but it's much better if you can make videos HD. But even without doing that, I've found using WAV/AIFF files sounds a lot better once it's on Youtube versus mp3s. I guess it's basically whether you want to use two layers of shitty compression or one (just Youtube's).

Your sound quality's already good, so anything else you do will just be an improvement. Your recording talent gives you a great start anyway.

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Marwood Williams
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Recording and mixing for YouTube

Post by Marwood Williams » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:06 pm

I recently did my first Youtube Video - using public domain footage from the internet archive. Here's a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cps4wwTyKis&1

I used a 16 bit wav file for for the soundtrack -and it came out alright. I think you're always better off using wav or aiff over MP3 in these types of situations.
The big lesson I learned from the experience, is to be careful about compressing the video file too much. I did this on a whim, using Window's Movie Maker. Next time, I will use a better video editing program.

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SoulOfJonas
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Post by SoulOfJonas » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:03 pm

One thing I learned from a friend of mine: If audio quality is important then whenever possible direct people to a YouTube link using "&fmt=18" at the end. From what I understand that suffix essentially asks YouTube to give you the best possible audio available for that file, no filters. The difference can be pretty drastic. Check the example below:

Thom Yorke - And It Rained All Night

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXihdFhcJBs

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXihdFhcJBs&fmt=18

For most of the stuff I've posted on YouTube I've included a link at the top of the description saying "For higher quality audio please click here (URL)&fmt=18"

-JV
John Valencia - Freelance audio-recorder-mixer guy
-One East Recording (Matt Wells)
-Melody Lanes (Jay Braun)

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jgimbel
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Post by jgimbel » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:54 pm

SoulOfJonas wrote:One thing I learned from a friend of mine: If audio quality is important then whenever possible direct people to a YouTube link using "&fmt=18" at the end. From what I understand that suffix essentially asks YouTube to give you the best possible audio available for that file, no filters. The difference can be pretty drastic. Check the example below:

Thom Yorke - And It Rained All Night

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXihdFhcJBs

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXihdFhcJBs&fmt=18

For most of the stuff I've posted on YouTube I've included a link at the top of the description saying "For higher quality audio please click here (URL)&fmt=18"

-JV
Adding that is the same as watching in high quality, same high quality audio. So you can either put the link with that added extra and ask people to click that, or just encourage them to click high quality. I find it's much easier to get people to just click that since it's right there on the video.

smtimecharlie
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Post by smtimecharlie » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:19 pm

This is great stuff, thanks everyone!

smtimecharlie
audio school graduate
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:11 pm

Post by smtimecharlie » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:23 pm

Oh, and jgimbel, I appreciate the kind words. My recording "talent" is solely knowing that I don't know much about recording and just getting an honest room sound. :D

The biggest leap I made in recording was going from an Epiphone acoustic to a Martin. Maybe some day I'll know how to add reverb tastefully without things sounding like the 80's. But that day isn't today...and probably won't be tomorrow....

junkstar
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Post by junkstar » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:10 am

I have moved all of my publishing to YouTube to H.264, 1280 x 720 file format. I keep all files uncompressed up until final edit is ready to be formatted for the online version (as you would for any audio or video activity). This ensures I will publish in HD on the site, and have a file that is not too compressed to make a DVD if I need to down the line.

Not a great audio example (one of the guests had vicious nasal/throat probs, and three diff studios were used - small budget too) but here is my latest video from last month: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfEbMV295Kk

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