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4K 60fps - How can I reduce Youtube compression artifacts?

Community Beginner ,
Oct 17, 2021 Oct 17, 2021

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I've been recording 4K 60fps videos on my GoPro.  It's mostly walks and jogs on trails, nothing really wild in terms of movement. 

 

I edit the videos in Premiere Pro, and then export them using VBR 2-pass with a target bitrate of 75 and max of 100.  I then upload the exported video to YouTube, wait for HD Processing to finish, and view them in my browser on various computers and my 4K TV.

 

I'm noticing lots of compression artifacts (patches of blurriness) on YouTube, usually on distant trail surfaces, but also sometimes in the underbrush or on distant mountains.  When I am jogging, I get more artifacts than when I am walking.  Standing still is best.  So the faster I move, the more artifacts I get.

 

How can I decrease the compression artifacts?

 

Are there settings in the GoPro that can help? I'm using the GoPro's high bit rate setting, and have experimented with different levels of sharpness and other settings, but don't have a feel for which settings work best.

 

When exporting with Premiere Pro, is a target/max bitrate of 75/100 good for 4K 60fps, or should I go higher?  It's already taking multiple days for YouTube to finish the HD processing for my videos, so I haven't tested other bit rates.  Are there other settings in Premiere Pro I should try?

 

Thanks a bunch!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 17, 2021 Oct 17, 2021

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How can I decrease the compression artifacts?


By @travise38589766

 

By using a higher bitrate when exporting to start with. 75/100 for 60p 4K is very low and YouTube will recompress it again making it look as it does today. Go with Constant Bitrate and skip VBR.

 

I prefer exporting direct to either Apple ProRes or GoPro CineForm and upload that file. The good thing is that it will look great and the bad thing is that the file is large and will take longer time to upload. If you have a good internet connection that is not a problem.

 

Try to export a couple of seconds were you see issues now using the settings below and upload that to YouTube and compare the two. (Yes, even ProRes 422 LT is great for YT uploads.)

 

Averdahl_0-1634497846709.png

 

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 17, 2021 Oct 17, 2021

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Thanks for the info!  I don't mind longer upload (and processing) times as long as the YouTube version looks as good as possible.

 

What CBR bit rate do you recommend for 4K 60?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

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What CBR bit rate do you recommend for 4K 60?


By @travise38589766

 

I have not done any testings with 4K but i would start with a minimum of 100. Another thing to take into consideration is the built in H.264 codec in Premiere Pro. It has some serious issues when there is fine details and/or lot´s of motion in the image, as you already has encountered. It fall apart pretty quickly compared to other encoders/codecs.

 

Because of this issue alone i never use Adobes own H.264 exporter. It is great for static shots but falls apart quickly for non-static shoths. Using a higher bitrate won´t solve it either and Adobe seems to ignore the issue or for example add the x.264 codec for pristine exports. (Hence my recommenation for using Apple ProRes/GoPro CineForm for YT uploads.)

 

If i need H.264 i use a third party encoder. I am on Windows and choosed TMPGEnc Movie Plug-in AVC for Premiere Pro so i can export directly from the timeline. You can test a free trial version that has no watermarks.

 

Or, use a free encoder. I have not tested and compared all, but Shutter Encoder and HandBrake are both good and free. Export to Apple ProRes and use that file in Shutter Encoder/HandBrake.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 18, 2021 Oct 18, 2021

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Hi, I typed a long response, but it somehow got lost.  Anyway, brieflly, I'm trying different exporting settings with the Premiere Pro encoder:

 

1) H.264 CBR 120 Mbps

2) HEVC (H.265) - 40 Mpbs (using "match source - high bitrate" preset)

3) HEVC (H.265) - 60 Mpbs (using "4k UHD" preset)

4) ProRes 422 HQ

 

The first 3 generated fine, but the ProRes file is more than 720 GB big!  It is so choppy to play back on my computer that it is like a slow slide show.  Crazy.  I think I'll pass on that one!

 

I couldn't find a CineForm codec in the defaults.

 

Of the H.264 and HEVC (H.265) formats, what do you recommend as the best settings for walking and jogging videos, where there is continuous motion all over the screen (as opposed to still shots with small areas of movement)?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 19, 2021 Oct 19, 2021

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4) ProRes 422 HQ

 

The first 3 generated fine, but the ProRes file is more than 720 GB big! 

 

Of the H.264 and HEVC (H.265) formats, what do you recommend as the best settings for walking and jogging videos, where there is continuous motion all over the screen (as opposed to still shots with small areas of movement)?


By @travise38589766

 

Don´t use ProRes 422 HQ, use ProRes 422 LT for YT uploads. The file will be large, but significally smaller than HQ but not as small as H.264 or H.265.

 

For bitrate settings that suits your footage you have to try different settings. There is no easy way to recommend best settings for certain videos, try, try, and try again is the way to go.

 

When testing, don´t export the whole timeline. Export the part that has issues when uploaded to YT. It´s faster to find the right setting when exporting let´s say two minutes rather than one hour at a time.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 19, 2021 Oct 19, 2021

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I've looked at the exported mp4s from yesterday's tests, focusing on a part of my video which is noticeably "blocky" in the mp4 output. 

 

The first thing I noticed is that the HEVC (H.265) files have the worst blockiness.  I suppose this is not surprising, since they're only 40 and 60 Mbps, while my original H.264 test was 70-100 Mbps.  Anyway, HEVC looks gross.  So I think I'll forget about that.

 

The H.264 CBR 120 Mbps looks ok.  It still adds some blockiness compared to the original GoPro file, but it seems better than the VBR 75-100 Mbps.  File size is about 70% bigger.

 

I'm now trying TMPGEnc H.264, and then after that I will try ProRes 422 LT.

 

Question: For the ProRes file, it seems I can either upload the ProRes directly to YouTube (which should be very slow) or compress it to H.264 using Handbrake or something else.  What is your recommendation there?

 

p.s. I've been exporting the entire hour-long video each time because I want to get a good "feel" of how long an hour of video takes to process, and how much disk space it will consume.  If I don't find a nice exporting format soon, though, I think I will create a small clip and start uploading tests so that I can get feedback.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 19, 2021 Oct 19, 2021

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Question: For the ProRes file, it seems I can either upload the ProRes directly to YouTube (which should be very slow) or compress it to H.264 using Handbrake or something else.  What is your recommendation there?


By @travise38589766

 

It depends. For me with a 100 Mbps upload speed i always upload the ProRes file, but i deal with shorter videos.

 

One more thing that can create higher quality H.264 files is to change the GOP settings. For the built in H.264 encoder, look for the Advanced Settings in the video tab in the Export Settings dialog and check Key Frame Distance and set it to 60. For the TMPGEnc encoder, look at the same place but under GOP Structure Settings and set the Normal Number of Frames in GOP to 60

 

You export to 60 fps hence the setting 60.

 

Since you have the TMPGEnc plug-in installed i would use that to either export directly from the timeline or export a ProRes file and bring that into Adobe Media Encoder and encode it there. The latter is faster.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 19, 2021 Oct 19, 2021

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Okay, BIG UPDATE!

 

I went ahead and created a 25 second clip where I noticed bad compression.  I then exported it in a bunch of different formats:

 

1) H.264 CBR 120 Mbps

2) H.264 VBR 120 Mbps

3) HEVC CBR 60 Mbps

4) ProRes 422 LT

5) ProRes 422

6) ProRes 422 HQ

7) TMPGEnc CBR 120 Mbps very slow

 

I looked at these clips several times on my computer.

 

- HEVC has the worst blocking. 

 

- H.264 CBR and VBR have some blocking, but it's not nearly as bad.

 

- TMPGEnc looks much better!  It's not perfect, but in terms of playback on my PC, it's a lot closer to the source material.  The file isn't much bigger than the H.264 files, which is surprising. 

 

- The ProRes files are unwatchably choppy on my PC (and around 10 times as big).  I converted the HQ one to an mp4 using Handbrake, and the resulting mp4 looked similar to the TMPGEnc, but also about 50% bigger. 

 

So, TMPGEnc looks very promising.  Thanks for pointing me to it! 

 

At this point I need to decide between TMPGEnc and ProRes+Handbrake

 

The size of the ProRes files is daunting.  Since I'm recording at 4K 60fps, multi-hour walks will require over a TB of disk space!  How in the world can people crank out long walking tour videos week after week without going through tons of external drives?  Do you think they delete the ProRes file after it's been uploaded to YouTube (or converted to an mp4)?  Even so, wow!

 

TMPGEnc looks like the most user-friendly solution.  It costs $75, but that's cheaper than buying external drives to make room for huge ProRes files.  So right now I'm learning toward this option...

 

However, I've only done this comparison on one 25 second excerpt of my video.  And I didn't test the different settings available for ProRes, Handbrake, or TMPGEnc.  So I'd like to explore some of those options first. 

 

For TMPGEnc, what preset do you recommend?  I've been using the "YouTube" one.

 

I tried to find a key frame distance slider for TMPGEnc, but I don't see one.  I'll try it for H264 though.

 

Thanks again for all the help!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 20, 2021 Oct 20, 2021

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The size of the ProRes files is daunting.  Since I'm recording at 4K 60fps, multi-hour walks will require over a TB of disk space!

 

Since you deal with 4K 60fps and multi hour i would skip ProRes.

 

 

quote

For TMPGEnc, what preset do you recommend?  I've been using the "YouTube" one.

 

I tried to find a key frame distance slider for TMPGEnc, but I don't see one.  I'll try it for H264 though.


By @travise38589766

 

To see the setting, use the Standard (High-bitrate) Preset and adjust the individual parameters such as bitrate and GOP Structure Settings.

 

Try some renders were you raise the bitrate as well to see what, if any, difference it makes. 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 20, 2021 Oct 20, 2021

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Okay, I'll create a 300 Mbps TMPGEnc with normal frames 60 using the Standard (High-bitrate) mp4 and see how that goes.

 

Meanwhile, I've uploaded all of my tests to youtube, and am adding them to a playlist ("Bush Test").  It's the same 25 second clip over and over, with different exporting settings.

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2CvIOCbYuUN1A-RFIHGDN7CV2mC6-wH7

 

You'll be able to see the compression problems on the trail, starting with the intersection that you approach around 8 seconds.

 

All the videos look worse on YouTube than in the mp4s, even the ProRes ones.  So, YouTube's compression is definitely making the blurriness worse.  However, I can tell that some look better (to me) than others.  I haven't looked at these on my 4K TV yet, but I do notice that if I select 4K in my browser (even if the monitor is not 4K) the compression is less. 

Testing different export settings in Premiere Pro.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 21, 2021 Oct 21, 2021

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It's disenheartening to see *all* of the YouTube tests looking so blocky for this test.  On my PC they aren't nearly as bad.

 

On my PC, the ProRes files look the best, but they are huge and I need to watch them in PotPlayer since VLC is too choppy.  The TMPGEnc ones seem better than the H.264 ones at the same size.  Overall, though, I find that the higher the file size, the less blockiness I see.

 

But on YouTube it all looks blocky, especially from that intersection onward.  After you turn the corner, the shadows on the left look bad too.

 

Why do other people's walks look so good?  Even if they're uploading ProRes HQ to YouTube, why isn't YouTube adding ugly compression to their videos?  Is YouTube giving me worse compression due to my lack of viewers?

 

Or is my clip inherently difficult for YouTube to compress?  Are there ways I can make it easier for YouTube, by increasing contrast, sharpness, or something else?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 22, 2021 Oct 22, 2021

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Overall, though, I find that the higher the file size, the less blockiness I see.

 

Correct, higher bitrate is the key to better quality. The hard thing is to find out the sweet spot since at a certain point a higher bitrate won´t add anything at all.

 

 

quote

Or is my clip inherently difficult for YouTube to compress?  Are there ways I can make it easier for YouTube, by increasing contrast, sharpness, or something else?


By @travise38589766

 

That clip is a nightmare for any encoder/codec. Fine details (the bushes) and motion makes them all fall apart, some sooner than others.

 

One way that may help to solve some of it is to downscale the footage to 1080p60 and upload that, but i do indeed understand that you want to preserve the 4K resolution. It´s worth testing on that clip though just to see if it makes any difference.

 

I don´t know if YT favor user with more views or not. Google is your friend there. 🙂

 

I did a search for "best settings 4k youtube uploads" and got some interesting results. One app called  VideoProc Converter claims to do it better than other encoders, having the vital settings already in place.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 22, 2021 Oct 22, 2021

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I see, so instead of trying to perfect the presentation of this really tricky/messy 25 second clip, maybe I should focus on different scenery?  Certainly anything is prettier than that, anyway! 🙂

 

My goal is to be able to create videos that look more like this one from my favorite 4K walker:

https://youtu.be/4UutcBV7TK4?t=2950

 

See how it was a cloudy day when he filmed?  And he's walking on a trail near trees?  He's using an older camera than mine, but his picture is so clean and smooth looking.  I sometimes see a tiny bit of blockiness in distant parts of his trail, but it's nothing compared to my video.  Is his video "easier" to keep clear because he has more (consistent) light? 

 

Here's another of his videos, as he transfers from a sunny place to a dark place:

https://youtu.be/_Q-RLQnZOHM?t=7765

 

I am seeing some blocking (on my little 1080p monitor) as he enters the dark hallway.  Do you see it too?  Is that due to trying to film in low light at 60fps while moving?

This walking tour of Mykonos, Greece was filmed on Tuesday July 13th, 2021 starting at 11:47 AM. For the best experience, be sure to turn on closed captions ...
This walking tour of CASERTA VECCHIA was filmed on Sunday May 16th, 2021 starting at 1:12 PM. Casertavecchia, a frazione of Caserta, is an Italian medieva...
Welcome to Catania, Sicily, the city of the Elephant. This walk was filmed on June 13th, 2020 starting at 8:30 AM in the Piazza Duomo. Be sure to turn on Clo...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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See how it was a cloudy day when he filmed?

 

Is his video "easier" to keep clear because he has more (consistent) light? 


By @travise38589766

 

In short, lightning conditions are key to good video. A cloudy day one get´s a more even light wich is good and a day with a blue sky and sunshine can be fantastic but it creates more challenges such as harsh contrasts, etc.

 

Encoding videos is a deep rabbit hole and if i were you i would try to contact him and/or other YT creators that you see upload great encoded footage and hear if they can share their "how-to´s" behind everything. It is possible to contact other YT users via mail. Ask them if they have made any image changes to the cameras as well. Most cameras have the ability to change setting such as sharpness, contrast, gamma, etc, etc. (For many cameras this is an even deeper rabbit hole to fall into, but it do makes a difference...)

 

Personally i prefer to roll off the sharpness, contrast and adjust the gamma. Tons of info on Google/YouTube about this.

 

Please report back your findings! 🙂

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 27, 2021 Oct 27, 2021

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I exported my entire 1hr+ video using TMPGEnc, at CBR 120, 160, and 200 Mbps.  I then uploaded the 3 files to YouTube, and it took a few days (!) for the HD processing to finish.

 

When I watched bits of the new videos, I notice audio cut outs at certain points.  The cut-outs last a second or two each.  They are in the mp4s as well (so it's not YouTube's fault), but tthey are only in the TMPGEnc exports rather than my older H.264 exports.

 

The audio cut outs could be due to using TMPGEnc, but they could also be due to the fact that I pause Media Encoder a couple of times during rendering (to give the CPU a break).  Could pausing rendering create audio cutouts?  Or does TMPGEnc sometimes suffer from audio drop-outs?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 28, 2021 Oct 28, 2021

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The audio cut outs could be due to using TMPGEnc, but they could also be due to the fact that I pause Media Encoder a couple of times during rendering (to give the CPU a break).


By @travise38589766

 

I never pause encodings so i don´t know. You don´t have to give the CPU a break. I have never had any audio drop-outs when using the TMPGEnc encoder in any of the hundreds of hours of encodes i have done with it.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 06, 2021 Nov 06, 2021

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YouTube's been very slow to process the HD for my videos, but finally I have some interesting results.

 

I recorded 3 tests, on different days (3,4,5 of November).  Each was a jog along the same loop, at the same time of day (around 2pm), with the same weather conditions (sunny).  The route starts in the open but after a few minutes goes into the forest.  A month previously I had recorded a jog along this route (using Wide), and the picture ended up slanting, and getting really pixelated and jumpy in the forest.  My goal with these 3 tests was to see how using different types of stabilisation can affect the picture quality (compression artifacts) during the "challenging" bits in the forest.

 

Here are videos of the 3 tests.  Each contains my detailed GoPro settings in the description.  NOTE: My TMPGEnc trial ran out, so all of these use Premiere Pro's H.264 CBR 200 Mbps encoding.

 

Test 1 - Max Lens Mod - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml22WOyYdW8

Since the Hero 10 doesn't support the Max Lens Mod, I recorded this with the Hero 9.  I tried to make it look "crisper"  by using Medium sharpness (instead of Low), but I don't think that looks very good; next time I'll try Low.  The Max Lens Mod did a good job of keeping the image from tilting (as it had on a previous job through this loop), but once we get in the forest (around 8 minutes), we start getting lots of blotchiness, and then the picture starts jumping all over the place.   I'm guessing the digital stabilisation was having a hard time keeping track of things.  It looks gross.

 

Test 2 - Linear + HL - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVqvIiz1Ymk

This and the next test are very similar; both use the Hero 10 in 4K 60fps, with Low sharpness and Natural color.  I think the overall picture quality looks better than the first test, but again, once we hit the forest, we get blotchiness and the picture starts jumping around.  Again, I think the GoPro's stabilisation logic can't keep up with those dark details.

 

Test 3 - Wide + Gimbal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tKKMS-ye_E

This time I used a gimbal (Crane M2), and set the view back to Wide.  It seems a lot smoother than the other tests, and more pleasant (for me) to watch.  When we hit the forest, there is still some blotchiness, but this time, the picture doesn't jump around!  So, the gimbal helps keep the camera still enough for the digital stabilisation to not go crazy.  Interesting!

 

So, for me, the gimbal definitely helps with keeping the GoPro's stabilisation from adding jumpiness with in the forest.

 

Now I just need to figure out how to reduce the blotchiness.  Any suggestions on what I should try changing next?

 

Thanks a bunch!

Camera: GoPro Hero 9Lens: Max Lens ModMedia Mod: noAudio: Build-in Speaker w/ windjammerMount: stick (Sh...
Camera: GoPro Hero 10Lens: defaultMedia Mod: yesAudio: Media Mod w/ foam coverMount: stickBattery: ...
Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 12, 2021 Nov 12, 2021

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Here's a better (more colorful) version of the 3rd test (with the gimbal):

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvzAYN7Ytv4

Camera: GoPro Hero 10Lens: defaultMedia Mod: yesAudio: Media Mod w/ foam coverMount: Crane M2 (gimbal)Battery:...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 17, 2021 Nov 17, 2021

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Now I just need to figure out how to reduce the blotchiness.  Any suggestions on what I should try changing next?

 

By @travise38589766

 

Sorry for the late answer...

 

How does the actual source footage from the camera look on the timeline were you see the blotchiness in the exported video? Does it look crisp clean or does it suffer from some blotchiness as well? Playback the source video in Premiere Pro at those places and use the keyboar shortcut for Toggle Full Screen to se the video full screen. Use the ESC key on the keyboard to exit full screen mode.

 

This shortcut is great track down issues like this.

 

To find out the correct shortcut for your system, press Ctrl+Alt+K to launch the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog and type in toggle full screen.

 

It would be interesting to see the source footage for the last video. Can you zip the source clip and upload it to let´s say OneDrive or another cloud service and then send it to me via this forums PM feature?

 

Averdahl_0-1637152451701.png

 

Averdahl_1-1637152836567.png

 

 

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