QuickTime Pro Settings for YouTube Video Conversion

Converting your videos to be compatible with web services such as YouTube can be confusing. Here are the settings that I successfully use in QuickTime Pro when converting my videos to MP4 format for YouTube.

YouTube wants MP4 videos that are compatible with its site and they publish these guidelines in their help section. However, it is not easy to find these settings and it is even more difficult to interpret what you should use when exporting videos through the popular Quicktime Pro software.

These are the settings (see also my screen captures from QuickTime below):

  • MP4
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
    • HD videos are best at 1080p: 1920 x 1080 size. Here are others…
      • 720p: 1280×720 (HD)
      • 480p: 854×480
      • 360p: 640×360
      • 240p: 426×240
    • Do not set the preserve aspect ratio checkbox. YouTube players automatically add black bars so the videos are displayed correctly without cropping or stretching, no matter the size of the video or player.
  • H.264 video format / compression type
  • Automatic key frames
  • Frame rate of the current video as shot unless…
    • …if you shoot 1080p in 60 frames per second (fps), then change the frame rate to 30 fps in QuickTime’s Frame Rate drop-down box. YouTube says 30 fps is preferred, but 23.98, 24, 25, and 29.97 are also acceptable frame rates.
  • Data rate (bitrate) of 8000 kbits/sec (kbps) for 1080p,
    • 5000 kbps for 720p, 2500 kbps for 480p, 1000 kbps for 360p
    • otherwise leave as “Variable”
  • Optimized for streaming. (Note: This option is available only if “Best quality (multi-pass)” is selected in the H.264 video options.)
  • Audio AAC-LC, sample rate “Recommended” works, but…
    • …96 kHz or 48 kHz sample rates are preferred by YouTube and…
    • …Stereo or Stereo +5.1 are preferred in the Channels box drop-down.
    • Note: Occasionally, you will get a message from YouTube while uploading that says “audio and video do not match” or something similar. Mostly, ignore this, but check if your audio and video tracks are the same length and if the video looks and sounds correct before you upload it.

(Click to tweet these settings.)

Below are my screen shots of the QuickTime Pro export settings screens and menus.


Thank you for reading what I wrote — I hope you enjoyed it.