Video Formats for the Web

  • Upload Your Video to YouTube

    Here’s how to make sure your video is where Web users expect to find it.

  • Once you’ve created your video, you’ll need to export it from your editor into a format we can use on the web.

    But which format? And how do you get it to the Digital Team?

    Choose Your Format

    .mpEG-4/.MP4: The Best Format

    Our basic advice: export your video as an .mp4 in the highest resolution possible. Many editing programs have a default setting for YouTube. Use it if you have it.

    If you want to get more technical–and especially if you want your video to be in HD–here’s what YouTube currently recommends for uploads:

    • MPEG4 (DivX, Xvid, h.264) format
    • 1280×720 resolution or 1080p
    • 128k Mono or 320k Stereo MP3/AAC audio
    • 24, 25, or 30 frames per second
    • Up to 2GB file size

    Don’t feel like getting more technical? Just read on.

    Just about Any Other Format Works, Too

    YouTube didn’t get to be the biggest video site in the world by rejecting videos. In practice, YouTube accepts just about any video file known to humanity, so long as the size is under 2GB.

    So if you’ve got a video in some other format (.avi, .wmv, .flv, .mov, whatever), just get it to us. Don’t try to convert it to some other format first—all you’ll end up doing is lowering the video quality.

    Really, there’s only one format to avoid: the playable DVD.

    Just Don’t Create a Playable DVD

    A lot of editing programs will encourage you to burn your video to a DVD that can be played in a regular DVD player and viewed on a regular TV.

    Don’t do it. If you can at all avoid it, don’t create a playable DVD.

    We can a video from a playable DVD onto YouTube, but first we’ll have to extract (a.k.a. “rip”) a video file from your DVD (which lowers the quality) before we put it up on YouTube (also lowering the quality).

    In addition, depending on the size and quality of the DVD, the extraction process can take hours. Which means you won’t get your video online as soon as you might like.

    So, to save time and maintain the visual quality of your video, don’t burn it to a playable DVD!

    Get Your Video to the Digital Team

    So you’ve got your (huge) video file. How to you get it to us?

    1. The Best Way: Drop the file, along with your video content template, on the X: drive. Then e-mail us at and let us know where we can pick it up. (The IT Support Center has advice on mapping the X: drive if you don’t have it mapped already.)

    2. The Second Best Way: Burn the file along with your video content template, to a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM and walk it up to the Digital Team (Sutton Hall, room 316). (A DVD-ROM is a data disc, not a playable DVD.)

    No matter how you get the file to us, you’ll need to include something called a video content template. Where do you get one of those? Read on!