So you’ve finished producing your first lyric video but now want to export it to a video file you can upload to YouTube and social media. It can be quite frustrating to find the optimal rendering settings, so in this post, I’ll break down YouTube’s recommended encoding settings and show you how you can apply the same parameters for your own render. For the purposes of this guide, I’ll be using Adobe Media Encoder but you should be able to find the corresponding settings in any modern video editing software.
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If you’re just here looking for a quick and easy solution: add your project to Adobe Media Encoder, pick the H.264 built in preset and hit render. You’re good to go.
But if you’re looking to get into the nitty-gritty of the best rendering parameters, it might be helpful to discuss what makes good rendering parameters. You could just raise the sliders and numbers to the maximum each step of the way, but you’ll end up with file sizes that are hard to manage with no noticeable increase in quality. And while it’s true that YouTube and other social media sites will re-render your video and compress it to save space on their servers, there’s no need to send them an already over-compressed file as each time a video goes through a lossy compression process it loses valuable information and will result in poorer audio and video quality.
After adding your project to the Media Encoder queue, go ahead and right click on it and open up the export settings. From the Format drop down menu select H.264.
Scrolling down you’ll find the audio tab. The default settings should be good to go, but it’s a good idea to double-check and make sure you have selected AAC for format and codec. A sample rate of 48,000 Hz. And since our project is musical in nature, stereo for channels.
Going back to the video tab make sure that the field order is on progressive and the profile is set to high.
When it comes to frame rate, you should go with the same frame rate as the composition. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram will accept pretty much any frame rate you give them. For lyric videos, in particular, I recommend creating your compositions in 30 fps. I find 30 is high enough to not appear choppy, and just low enough for motion blur to start looking cool. If you’re not using any motion blur in your composition, feel free to go up to 60, but keep in mind the law of diminishing returns. To simplify, higher is better but the higher you go, the less benefit you get.
Another assumption we’re making here is that your composition is an animation, as most lyric videos tend to be. However, if you’ve decided to incorporate live-action footage in your lyric video, such as a music-lyric video hybrid, you should create your composition in the same frame rate at which the footage was shot, and subsequently, render the video at the same frame rate.
For computers and TV, the default aspect ratio for YouTube is 16:9, which is also optimal for lyric videos and popular videos in general. The minimum resolution you should create your composition in should be 1080p (1920×1080), which will work fine for any lyric video. In case you want to go higher, YouTube will accept higher resolutions such as 1440p (2560×1440) or even 2160p (3840×2160), but alas, diminishing returns.
Finally, if you’ve decided to adapt your lyric video for an Instagram post, the aspect ratio for a square is 1:1 (1080×1080), whereas for Facebook & Instagram stories is a vertical 9:16 (1920×1080).
When it comes to BitRate, YouTube’s handy chart recommends 10mbps for a resolution of 1080p. Using YouTube’s recommended numbers, I’ve extrapolated the bitrates required for various popular social media formats, and here’s a handy chart you can consult.
I understand that all this might feel a little overwhelming to somebody new to video production and editing. Luckily, Adobe Media Encoder has built-in presets that you can use that will work just fine for the majority of cases. Once you have the composition queued in Adobe Media Encoder and open the export settings, open the presets drop-down menu, select “match source – high bitrate” and you’re good to go!