Best video format for YouTube: Handy checklist for uploaders 2021

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When was the last time you tried to upload videos on YouTube and ended up receiving an error message? You might start wondering what the best video format for YouTube is.

Some of the videos often retain good detailing even after being viewed in lower resolution. But the others become too pixilated to watch. Improper video format could be a culprit behind video uploading errors. Today we are going to discuss this issue in detail, and deal with questions like ‘does YouTube give higher preference to a particular video format?’ and ‘does the entire thing depend on the video quality before uploading?’

Things to consider while uploading a video on YouTube

To better understand the video format for YouTube, a little information on codec, container, resolution, aspect ratio and frame rate would be helpful. However, if you are not interested in all these details, you can head straight to the quick and easy solution to make a video suitable to YouTube.


A coder-decoder enables faster transmission by compressing data and decompressing it again at the receiving end. YouTube has recommended the following encoding settings for getting the best results out of video uploads:

Audio Codec: AAC-LC

1. Channels: Stereo + 5.1 or Stereo
2. Sample rate 48khz or 96khz

Video Codec: H.264

1. Progressive scan without interlacing
2. 2 consecutive B frames
3. High Profile
5. Closed GOP. GOP of ½ frame rate.
6. Chroma subsampling: 4:2:0
7. Variable bitrate with no requirement for bitrate limit.

Resolution & Aspect ratio

YouTube supports a standard aspect ratio of 16:9 on desktop. But if you proceed with other aspect ratios such as square or vertical, then there will be black bars surrounding your video. To avoid black bars, 16:9 is the safe way to go. You can choose these resolutions that have an aspect ratio of 16:9.




4K 2160p 3840×2160
2K 1440p 2560×1440
Maximum resolution for YouTube video uploads in HD 1080p 1920×1080
Minimum resolution for YouTube video uploads in HD 720p 1280×720
Standard Definition 480p 854×480
Traditional Website Resolution 360p 640×360
Minimum YouTube Video Size 240p 426×240

Frame rate

For getting the best results from YouTube video uploads, you need to encode and upload in a similar frame rate as it was recorded. Some of the most common frame rates are 24, 25, 30, 48, 50 and 60fps. However, you can also proceed with other frame rates of your choice. Users also need to make sure to deinterlace videos before uploading. A 1080i60 content for example needs to be deinterlaced to 1080p30, i.e. use a capable video converter to transcode 60 interlaced fields per second material to 30 progressive frames per second.

Make the most out of YouTube video uploads with VideoProc

VideoProc is a powerful video software that can help you convert videos to an array of other formats supported by YouTube and any of your devices. Besides changing video audio codecs, it can help you compress video files, adjust resolutions, aspect ratios and frame rates to fit YouTube.The best thing about VideoProc is its simple interface which can cater to even novice users who are trying out video editing for the first time.

How to convert a video to the best format for YouTube

Step 1. Choose the video or multiple videos by clicking on the +Video button.

Step 2. Choose the desired format at the bottom of the interface.

Step 3 (optional). Set a new destination folder by clicking on Browse.

You can now initiate transcoding by hitting the RUN button.

How to resize video for YouTube

Step 1. Load your video, click option and change to desired resolution.

Step 2. Click cut on the horizontal bar to trim and cut off part you don’t need, thus reducing video file size.

Step 3. Choose different codec and convert video into more efficient format.

How to change the aspect ratio to 16:9 using VideoProc

Step 1. Within the Video screen, drag your file and click options (gear icon).

Step 2. Select 16:9 from the drop-down list and ultimately click Done.

Tips: You can enable fast conversion speed by toggling the Hardware Acceleration.

Step 3. Click Run to initiate the process.

Free download VideoProc to convert video for better YouTube uploading and streaming.

Final words

What is the best format for uploading videos to YouTube depends on how you define “best”. If the criteria are having the smallest amount of data uploaded while maintaining video quality to some extent, then H.264 video with AAC audio could be the best choice. If for instance you have 360-degree 8K video at hand, you would want to upload it as HEVC. We hope you find answers in this article regarding the best file format for YouTube (1080P or other resolution).

Story by Cecilia Hwung 

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