Coursework Help

Video Compression Guide

To make sure your video files both look beautiful and play back seamlessly anywhere on the platform (e.g. Course Gallery), you’ll want to follow the following compression guidelines. If you’re not sure which software to use to prepare your video files, we’ve assembled a collection of tools at the end of this document.

Video Settings

Codec

For the best cross-browser compatibility, we always recommend using the H.264 codec.

Profile

If you are working with HD video (720/1080) you will want to set profile to High. Otherwise, use Main.

Frame Rate

It’s always best to maintain the video’s native frame rate when compressing your video. Common frame rates include: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 48, 50, 59.94, and 60 FPS. (Yes, there’s a difference between frame rates with decimals vs. whole numbers.)

 

Your video may have issues playing back if your frame rate is greater than 60 FPS, in which case, you will want to reduce the frame rate to one of the common settings.

 

Bit Rate

Bit rate (sometimes called the data rate) affects the overall visual quality of the video as well as its file size. Refer to the table below for common ranges and recommended settings for different qualities.

Quality

Bit rate (kbit/s)

SD

2,000 – 5,000 (recommended 3,500)

720p

5,000 – 10,000 (recommended 7,500)

1080p

10,000 – 20,000 (12,000)

 

Resolution

Our video player uses a 16:9 aspect ratio. If you are uploading a non-16:9 file, it will be displayed correctly, with pillar boxes (black bars on the left and right) or letter boxes (black bars at the top and bottom) provided by the player. Refer to the table below for the most common video resolutions:

 

Format

Resolution (px)

Standard Definition (SD)

4:3 aspect ratio

640 × 480

Standard Definition (SD)

16:9 aspect ratio

640 × 360

720p HD

16:9 aspect ratio

1280 × 720

1080p HD

16:9 aspect ratio

1920 × 1080

 

 

Audio Settings

Codec

For best results, we recommend using AAC or AAC-LC (low-complexity) for your audio codec.

Sample rate

We recommend setting your audio sample rate to 48kHz, however, if your video was exported with a sample rate that is less than that (e.g. 44.1kHz) you may keep it as is.

Bit rate

Like the video bit rate (sometimes called data rate), this setting affects the overall quality of the sound and file size. We recommend setting your bit rate at a constant rate of 320 kbit/s.

 

Recommended Tools / Tutorial Videos

There are a number of tools out there that you can use to prepare your files for uploading, and choosing one can be confusing. We love Handbrake because it’s cross-platform and free, but here are some resources that should help you get going no matter what software you’re using.

  1. Handbrake (Free, Mac, Windows, and Linux)
    1. https://handbrake.fr/
    2. Tutorial: https://vimeo.com/24008730
  2. Apple Compressor 4
  3. iMovie 2015
    1. Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKkESVkrmAE
    2. Note: After exporting, use Handbrake (or Compressor/another software) with the settings recommended in this document.
  4. Final Cut Pro X
    1. Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChYvFoI2AQI
    2. Note: After exporting, use Handbrake (or Compressor/another software) with the settings recommended in this document.
  5. Adobe Premiere Pro CC
  6. Adobe After Effects CS6
    1. Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-9RBcL1RCw
  7. Sony Vegas 12/13
    1. Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4p1MbDDvVw
  8. Avid Media Composer 8
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-WDmda31SM