Tips for best 1080p YouTube quality from 4K video in fcpx or compressor?

/Tips for best 1080p YouTube quality from 4K video in fcpx or compressor?
Tips for best 1080p YouTube quality from 4K video in fcpx or compressor?2019-10-04T15:42:55-07:00
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Hi there,

I’m trying to improve the quality of my YouTube videos that I’m editing in fcpx.

I’m currently shooting in 4K hvec hlg mode on my gh5 but editing on a 1080p timeline in fcpx for 1080p delivery in YouTube. I’ve been using the share to master export in fcpx (prores 422) and then uploading that large file to YouTube hoping that would give me a good 1080p quality. However the YouTube quality is significantly worse than playing the prores export in QuickTime on my laptop.

Some of my 4K original clips are cropped in the 1080p timeline, and since I also don’t want 4K output I’m not sure how I can improve things.

Is there a way to edit/export on a greater than 1080p timeline and upload to YouTube to avoid 4K but get better 1080p playback? Would I be better off using the ‘share to youtube’ function In fcpx? Can I do better using compressor?

i know YouTube sort of sucks for quality (although Facebook is worse), but that is where the client wants the video.

thanks for any help!

Answered question

You have several questions in this post – some them related, some of them not. In general YouTube’s encoders are fine. I’ve never uploaded a ProRes version to YouTube, only H.264 and I’ve been happy with it.  So, let’s back up a step. You import your 4K material, then Final cut pro re-wraps the data into a QuickTime container in 4K. So, you are not losing quality and you have 4K source clips.  Second, when you say “4K” I’m assuming you mean true 4K (3840 x 2160) and not UHD (4096 x 2160). If it’s the former, you will need to “conform” the clip to the 16:9 aspect ratio in the Inspector. You will then lose the top and bottom of the image, but the clip will be correctly sized for 1080 delivery.  Now, you can output 2 ways. Use the Master H.265 setting in FCP, then upload the video, or you can export directly to YouTube – You should not see any difference in quality.   Keep in mind that your master files will be transcoded to H.264 before uploading. If you want to maintain H.265 native codec, you will need to use compressor, because you cannot export H.265 directly our of Final Cut Pro X – but the question is, will you see a difference?  I cant’ say, but if you use the workflow I outlined above there is no reason the quality shouldn’t be satisfactory.  Also, and this is a silly thing. Make sure you are viewing the YouTube movie at the HD setting and not “auto”  I can’t tell you how many people assume it’s YouTube, and it’s really just a playback setting.

  • Steve
Posted new comment

Thanks for the detailed response Steve!

I did a bit more research on the matter and it seems the poor quality on Youtube comes down to the bitrates used for different video resolutions. It seems as though you get better bitrates when uploading at 1440p or 2160p (4k).

Some people have had better results with their 1080p video quality even by upscaling to 1440p or 4k and then uploading to YouTube as the compression algorithms are less heavy handed and use the larger associated bitrates.

Since I haven’t done any heavy cropping to my 4k source clips, I’m going to try and upload the full prores export as well as uploading the 4k project (switched it from 1080p) directly to YouTube to compare it with the 1080p prores upload and 1080p direct share from FCPX.

By the way, I love the “Editing Faster with FCPX” app, I watch it if I haven’t edited in a while and it has made me much quicker at completing projects.

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