Jul 17 2007

For Alex’s Bro – DV Video Transfer And YouTube

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 2:57 am

Re. your camcorder and achieving the best results on YouTube.
I have made this post in case I ever need to pass on these instructions to someone else – rather than trying to remember it all and re-type it, I can just pass them the url to this post…

Anyway, you mentioned you use Nero 7, my example involves Nero Vision Express from Nero 6. If you can not find the equivalent functions or options in your version, drop me a line and I will try and sort it

Onto the steps

Continue to use whichever program you are most comfortable with to transfer the the video from your camcorder to your computer’s hard drive, via the FireWire cable.

However, when selecting the file format and other related options, you want the resolution to be the same as the original (probably in the region of 720 x 576)
You also do NOT want ANY compression to be used at this point – this should be the last step in the process. Why? Because each time you use a codec to encode video data into a smaller file size, you will obviously be losing some quality. You want to leave this stage until the very end. If you do not see an option for DV or DV-AVI in your current program, try changing the options for the video codec used to NONE or NO COMPRESSION or FULL FRAMES

At this point, you should now have a reasonably large AVI file on your hard drive somewhere. Just double check that the resolution has not been changed at all, and that no codec was used. (GSpot is quite good for that, Alex has all the programs you need on a DVD we burned whilst she was over here.)

Now how you cut up the video is your choice. I personally like to use VirtualDub (again grab a copy of Alex’s DVD for it), as it is no frills, and has not crashed on me, unlike Nero’s programs. There are other options, such as Pinnacle’s Studio, or even, if completely desperate Windows Movie Maker 2. However you choose to cut the video so only the scenes you need remain, now is the time to choose a new resolution and which codec to use, unless you intend to insert text and/or use fades / dissolves / wipes etc. between scenes within the video. If this is the case, place those, THEN proceed to the next step.

For uploading to YouTube you want to choose the closest resolution to 320 x 240 as you can, and I personally would recommend using either the DivX or xVid codec. Both xVid and DivX have settings for bitrates (basically how much quality you desire), please see the end of this post for further detail.
When it comes to the audio side of things, if you do not require high fidelity, 96KBit/sec, mono should suffice. Anything that involves content other than spoken word may need a higher bit rate, and if the music is not just background, or the video involves movement from one side to the other, stereo may make more sense obviously.

If you want to keep an archive of the video, you can either burn the original, uncompressed AVI to a DVD, OR save a 720 x 576 DivX/xVid in the same way you did for the YouTube version. Just make sure you are working with the original at this point – if you encode the 320 x 240 video file to 720 x 576, you will not have a higher quality video, just a larger file-sized one. Always work with original data, when you can.

So why bother with all this if you are just uploading it to YouTube? Although they can convert the video for you automatically, their results will rarely match the quality you can achieve by processing these stages yourself. You may need to experiment a little to find a good balance between time & effort used and quality of results achieved, and also, as previously mentioned, between the codec bitrate settings used and the end result. As a purely arbitrary example, if selecting a quality level of 9 results in a 54 megabyte file, when no extra detail is discernible, when compared to a video produced when a quality level of 8 is used, it makes no sense to waste hard drive space, CPU time taken & bandwidth in transferring the file over the internet. Which reminds me, I think xVid has a sliding scale, the default is 4, 7 or 8 should be more than enough for YouTube, anyway it operates in the same way as specifying a bit rate would.

I hope some of this helps, let me know if I’ve missed something, or parts are not clear.

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