Washed-Out YouTube Videos?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that your videos on YouTube are a pale version of what you saw on your camcorder’s LCD screen. Whether you’re exporting your movies to QuickTime first or uploading directly from iMovie, the colors appear less saturated, blacks a dark gray. Below is a comparison between the original .MTS file and the same image uploaded to YouTube, with the resulting loss of color.

ImageThe original .MTS file. Click on image to view full size.

ImageThe movie uploaded directly to YouTube from iMovie. Click on image to view full size.

ImageHere is the image as it appears on YouTube after first exporting to QuickTime encoded H.264. Click on image to view full size.

There is a way to preserve the original colors you saw, and that is by encoding with x264. The resulting files will have a lower bit rate than H.264 with no loss of quality, meaning they take up less space on your precious hard drive. Below is a screenshot of the same frame encoded with x264.

ImageEncoded with x264 and uploaded to YouTube. Notice the deeper colors. Click on image to view full size.

If you are interested in learning more about the x264 Encoder, look here and here.

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