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SD and HD (720 and 1080) bitrates for download files
  • Hi I have a question I wiuldlike to get some advise: I produce instructional video since 25 years. First S-VHS, then MII, (source S-VHS, DV later MII) and now HD with first HVX200 and now with GH1, 2 and 3 cameras.

    Now I wat to offer my products as download files in .mp4 format.

    Now one has to try to find the oprimum bitrate setting, to keep the quality as good as possible for the customer and, on the other hand, keep the files as small as possible, to make the download shorter. I know both contradict each other. The smaller the worse quality etc.

    Now what bitrate would you suggest for

    SD 4:3 SD 16:9 HD 720 HD1980

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  • 4 Replies sorted by
  • I would suggest a simple guideline: Use 1.5 times the horizontal pixel count of your video as the bitrate for a minimum. One sample: 720 x 1280 (small HD) should have no less than 2.500 kbps.

    It doesn't hurt to get higher, factor two would look better.

  • @nomad Thanks, that is a formula good to remember.

    I will check that. I did it much higher, but maybe the files just got bigger then without getting a better picture.

  • Well, it is a thing of diminishing returns. While H.264 is not very good as an in-camera codec (if you want to process your images in post), it's quite efficient as a presentation codec (which it was made for). So, with higher bitrates you'll see less and less gain in image quality. Even Blu-ray is around 16 to 18 mbps in many cases.

    But please remember that H.264 is very content dependent. A shaky camera with lots of cuts will need more bitrate than a locked-down talking head…

  • Thanks. All Cameras are on a tripod, but there is martial arts movement in the picture. I will keep an eye on it. Perhaps I make variable 3 - 5 Mbit/s so there is allowance, if more Mbit/s is needed.