I have some problem with video and its representation on youtube. When I upload video which was encoded with MPEG4 or H.264 codec, I get bad quality video after youtube processing.

What is this video. And what is my task. I get source video from Iphone, Ipad, Ipod. Format of this video is - mp4. Then, I decode this video on frames with Java Library - Xuggler. This library is a wrapper of ffmpeg. After some filters on frames, I encode this frames on final video. I use codec MPEG-4 and try H.264, final format - mp4. And this final video is fine. It has the same quality as source video, when I play this video on Windows Media Player. But, when I upload video on youtube, after processing I get video with bad quality.

This is characteristics of source video, after uploading on youtube it doesn't lose quality:

enter image description here

And this is characteristics of final video. It loses quality after youtube processing:

enter image description here

  • Is the question just, "Why does my video lose quality when I upload to YouTube?" If so, it's because YouTube isn't in the business of providing high quality video - it provides vast amounts of streaming video, so you should expect a lot of compression, and probably transcoding.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Feb 17, 2014 at 0:14

4 Answers 4


I'm going to repost a section of my answer from this question, as it seems generally relevant:

YouTube (as well as Vimeo, and practically every other video website nowadays) works using the H.264 codec. Here are YouTube's instructions for how they'd like videos to be encoded for upload.

The TL;DR version of that page:

  • Container: .mp4
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC
  • Video Codec: H.264

When you upload the incorrect codec - like AVC-HD you are using above, YouTube has to re-encode your video, resulting in the loss of quality and contrast you have been experiencing.

  • 1
    From my experience, they re-encode always.
    – feklee
    Apr 20, 2014 at 15:49

This is just a result of the compression that Youtube chooses to apply. Your initial data rate for the video (3.5 megabits for an SD video) is exceptionally high and not really designed for streaming. Youtube probably sees that it is only an SD stream and then drops the bit-rate accordingly.

It may not be possible to get better quality since Youtube's system decides what compression settings to apply for their transcode, however you could try submitting videos which match with Youtube's suggested transcode settings and that might help.


It's 2018 now and here's what I do, in case anyone else is wondering about this.

Suppose I've created a video as a wmv or whatever (e.g. via PowerPoint). I use an online conversion tool to convert to mp4.

This gives great results when uploading to youtube.


This is because youtube uses its own compression. When you upload, that videos is a compressed mp4 or wmv ,quicktime or something. Youtube's process compress it much more. You lose details in the corners of your movie. You lose many data when a frame makes a decent change comparing to the previous frame. And even lose quality on very dark regions and very bright regions. Youtube cannot handle contrast rate wich is bigger then the average. I tried to upload many different ways and didn't have any luck.

  • 1
    Welcome to the Video Production Stack Exchange. Please be aware that answers aren't the right place for venting about your frustration with a product in unproductive ways. I think you had some worthwhile things to say, so I edited your answer to remove the parts that weren't relevant to the question at hand and were excessive.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 1, 2015 at 15:20

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