Courtesy of ZackScott, here’s a nice piece from CrunchGear about how to ensure your video is optimized for YouTube.
- Make your file a .mov or .mp4.
- Set it to the YouTube-native size of 320×240 (aka QVGA).
- Expect letterboxing if your HD camera shoots at a different aspect ration than the 4:3 that is 320×240. No way out of that unless you want to crop or stretch (yuck).
- Make it as “bit-rich” as you can. Use a bitrate as high as you can up to 1200kbps (overkill). Somewhere between 700kbps and 1000kbps should do the trick nicely.
- Use the MP3 audio codec (either CBR of VBR), which should be standard on your editor.
Do this and your video will look better and encode faster (reduce post-to-view lag).
Also note that there’s software out there that has automated YouTube features, such as VirtualDub. These programs are great time-savers if you’re and hardcore YouTuber, and they should be considered.