Encoding

We suggest the following format options for high quality uploads to YouTube. Please note that if you are already delivering a previously approved format, your workflow may not need to change. Please consult your partner operations contact to determine which format is best for you. For more info, please read the Delivery Requirements page.

These specs differ from the High Quality Specs for YouTube User-Generated Content. Please contact your partner operations contact with any questions about these differences.

4K HDR/SDR Parameters 

Resolutions 3840x2160 (16:9 content or 16:9 with letterboxing per matting guidelines below)
Pixel Aspect Ratio Pixel Aspect Ratio of 1:1 (square pixels)
Frame Rates 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 47.95, 48, 50, 59.94, 60

Native frame rate only. Content containing duplicate or telecined frames will be rejected. Mixed content will be considered on a case-by-case basis – please contact your partner operations contact.

Matting 16:9 frame size delivered with letterboxing will be accepted. If content contains pillarboxing (black on left and right), windowboxing (black on all sides), or is 4:3 or 1.43:1 LTBX, the content should be cropped to active pixel area only.

4K HDR/SDR Format Options

4K SDR Profile

Video Profile

Attribute Specification
Codec Apple ProRes 422 HQ
Containers QuickTime (.mov)
Bit Depth 10 bit
Color Space ITU-R BT.709
Scan Type Progressive
Notes *Officially licensed Apple ProRes encoder must be used.
**Edit lists are not allowed as they cause the file not to transcode correctly and/or loss of A/V sync.

Audio Profile

Attribute Specification
Codec LPCM, 16 or 24 bit, at least 48kHz
Option 1 (5.1 + Stereo) – Preferred

Track 1: L R C LFE Ls Rs
Track 2: Lt Rt

Option 2 (5.1 + Stereo)

Track 1: L
Track 2: R
Track 3: C
Track 4: LFE
Track 5: Ls
Track 6: Rs
Track 7: Lt
Track 8: Rt

*Also acceptable for Track 7 to be a composite stereo.

Option 3 (5.1 + Stereo)

Track 1: L R C LFE Ls Rs
Track 2: Lt
Track 3: Rt

Option 4 (Stereo Only)

Track 1: Lt
Track 2: Rt

Option 5 (Stereo Only) Track 1: Lt Rt

Note on audio channel assignments for Audio Profile - 4K SDR

Channel assignments must be set in the file metadata. Channel assignments in ProRes .mov files can easily be set after export/transcode using QuickTime 7 Pro. "Mono" is not an acceptable channel assignment. For content that is truly 2-channel mono, please assign channels as "Left" and "Right". Channels that are not assigned correctly may result in delays in publishing or in your asset being rejected. Assignments of "Left" (L) and "Right" (R) can be used instead of "Left Total" (LT) and "Right Total" (RT) in stereo tracks.

4K HDR Profile

Video Profile

Attribute Specification
Codec Apple ProRes 4444
Containers Matroska (.mkv)
Bit Depth 10 bit or 12 bit
Color Space ITU-R BT.2020
Scan Type Progressive
Notes *Officially licensed Apple ProRes encoder must be used.
**Edit lists are not allowed as they cause the file to not transcode correctly and/or loss of A/V sync.

Audio Profile

Attribute Specification
Codec LPCM, 16 or 24 bit, at least 48kHz
5.1 + Stereo

Track 1: L R C LFE Ls Rs

Track 2: Lt Rt

Stereo Only Track 1: Lt Rt

Additional Video Metadata - 4K HDR

In order for the video signal to be correctly interpreted as HDR, the data should be encoded with:

  • (transfer function index) -color_trc =16 (metadata smpte 2084, PQ)
  • (color primaries index) -color_primaries = 9 : sets metadata for bt2020 color primaries
  • (matrix coefficients index) -colorspace = 9 : stes metadata for matrix coefficients to bt2020

SMPTE ST 2086 Mastering Display Color Volume Metadata (Content-Specific)

Excerpt from High-Dynamic-Range-HDR-Ecosystem.pdf:

SMPTE ST2086 “Mastering Display Color Volume Metadata supporting High Luminance and
Wide Color Gamut Images” will be used to describe the capabilities of the display used to master
the content, which includes the CIE (x,y) chromaticity coordinates of the RGB Primaries and
White Point of the mastering display, in addition to the minimum and maximum luminance of the
mastering display. If traditional mastering practices are followed during content creation, the
range of colors and luminance values encoded in the mastered video signal will be limited to the
range of colors and luminance values that can be shown on the mastering display. ST2086 may
be included in the encoded stream for both SDR and HDR contents.

"mac-cll" and "max-fall"

Also to be included in metadata are "max-cll" and "max-fall" which correspond to the maximum content light level and maximum frame average light level in cd/m^2 (nits) in the video.

Example: For a mastering monitor with color primaries of DCI-P3 D65:
 

These coordinates are representation with rational numbers in HDMI and other video specs (using denominato of 50,000 for chroma and 10,000 for luma). The corresponding setting for a mastering display with DCI-P3 and min luminance of 0.01 and max luminance of 1000 nits is:

Example:

- master-display="G(13250,34500)B(7500,3000)R(34000,16000)WP(15635,16450)L(10000000,100)"
- max-cll="1000,300"

 

*Max CLL and Max FALL values should be integers only

 Open Source MKV Wrapping Tools

HD Common Parameters (apply to all 3 format options below)

Resolutions 1920x1080 (16:9 content or 16:9 with letterboxing per matting guidelines below)
1440x1080 (4:3 content only)
1280x720 (16:9 content or 16:9 with letterboxing per matting guidelines below)
960x720 (4:3)
Pixel Aspect Ratio Pixel Aspect Ratio of 1:1 (square pixels)
Frame Rates 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30

Native frame rate only. Content containing duplicate or telecined frames will be rejected. Mixed content will be considered on a case-by-case basis -- please contact your partner operations contact.

Matting 16:9 frame size delivered with letterboxing will be accepted. If content contains pillarboxing (black on left and right), windowboxing (black on all sides), or is 4:3 LTBX, the content should be cropped to active pixel area only.

SD Common Parameters (apply to all 3 format options below)

Resolutions 4x3 - 720x480, 720x576, 768x576 (square pixels), 640x480 (square pixels)

16x9 - 720x480 (NTSC 16x9 with anamorphic flag set), 720x576 (PAL 16x9 with anamorphic flag set), 1024x576 (square pixels), 854x480 (square pixels)

*720x404 will be accepted but may result in lower quality outputs

Content should be delivered in its Original Aspect Ratio.
Pixel Aspect Ratio Aspect Ratio flag and/or "pasp" atom (for .mov files) must be set to correct aspect ratio (4:3, 16:9 or 1:1 for square pixels)
Frame Rates 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30

Native frame rate only. Content containing duplicate or telecined frames will be rejected. Mixed content will be considered on a case-by-case basis -- please contact your partner operations contact.

Matting 16:9 frame size delivered with letterboxing will be accepted. If content contains pillarboxing (black on left and right), windowboxing (black on all sides), or is 4:3 LTBX, then content should be cropped to active pixel area only.

HD/SD Format Options

Option 1 - ProRes 422 HQ

Video Profile

Attribute Specification
Codec Apple ProRes 422 HQ
Color Space HD - ITU-R BT.709
SD - ITU-R BT.601
Bitrate HD - Variable Bitrate, expected ~110 Mbps
SD - Variable Bitrate, expected ~40-60 Mbps
Scan Type 23.976, 24, 25 - Progressive
29.97 - Interlaced or Progressive
Notes Edit lists are not allowed as these cause the file not to transcode correctly and/or loss of A/V sync.

Audio Profile

Attribute Specification
Codec LPCM, 16 or 24 bit, at least 48kHz
Option 1 (5.1 + Stereo) -- preferred Track 1: L R C LFE Ls Rs
Track 2: Lt Rt
Option 2 (5.1 + Stereo) Track 1: L
Track 2: R
Track 3: C
Track 4: LFE
Track 5: Ls
Track 6: Rs
Track 7: Lt
Track 8: Rt

*Also acceptable for Track 7 to be a composite stereo.

Option 3 (5.1 + Stereo) Track 1: L R C LFE Ls Rs
Track 2: Lt
Track 3: Rt
Option 4 (Stereo Only) Track 1: Lt
Track 2: Rt
Option 5 (Stereo Only) Track 1: Lt Rt

Note on audio channel assignments

Channel assignments must be set in the file metadata. Channel assignments in ProRes .mov files can easily be set after export/transcode using QuickTime 7 Pro. "Mono" is not an acceptable channel assignment. For content that is truly 2-channel mono, please assign channels as "Left" and "Right." Channels that are not assigned correctly may result in delays in publishing or in your asset being rejected. Assignments of "Left" (L) and "Right" (R) can be used instead of "Left Total" (LT) and "Right Total" (RT) in stereo tracks.

ProRes Content Eligibility

Due to the additional processing time required to process large ProRes files, only certain types of content can be accepted as ProRes at this time.

Supported

  • TV - Library/Back Catalog TV, Next Day TV
  • Movies - New Release movies delivered more than 2 weeks prior to avail start date and Library/Back Catalog movies

Not Currently Supported

  • Movies - New Release movies delivered less than 2 weeks prior to avail start date

 

Option 2 - H.264 Codec

Video Profile

Attribute Specification
Containers .mp4
.mov
Codec H.264
Profile High
Bitrate SD (fewer than 720 lines) - 15 Mbps
720 lines - 50 Mbps
1080 lines - 60 Mbps
Scan type Progressive
  • Native frame rate content should be deinterlaced.
  • Telecined content should be inverse telecined to original frame rate.

Note: Content with blended frames or interlacing artifacts will be rejected.

GOP Structure IBBP (M=3, GOP Length not to exceed ½ of frame rate)
Color Space 4:2:2 (preferred)
If 4:2:2 color space is not available, please use 4:2:0
Notes Edit lists are not allowed as these cause loss of A/V sync.

moov atom must be present and at the front of the file.

Audio Profile

Attribute Specification
Audio Codec PCM (preferred)
AAC-LC
Audio Bitrate >192 Kbps for Stereo
>384 Kbps for 5.1
Audio Sample Rate 48kHz
Audio Configuration PCM
Stereo
  • Stream 1 (Lt/Rt)
Stereo + 5.1
  • Stream 1 (Lt/Rt)
  • Stream 2 (L/R/C/LFE/Ls/Rs)
 
AAC-LC
Stereo
  • Stream 1 (Lt/Rt)
Stereo + 5.1
  • Stream 1 (Lt/Rt)
  • Stream 2 (C/L/R/Ls/Rs/LFE)
Option 3 - MPEG-2 Transport Stream

Video Profile

Attribute Specification
Containers MPEG-2 Transport Stream (.mpg, .mpeg, .ts)
Codec MPEG-2
Profile SD: Main@Main
HD: 422@High
Bitrate SD (fewer than 720 lines): 50Mbps
HD (720 lines or higher): 80Mbps
Scan type Progressive
  • Native frame rate content should be deinterlaced.
  • Telecined content should be inverse telecined to original frame rate.

Note: Content with blended frames or interlacing artifacts will be rejected.

GOP Structure IBBP (M=3, GOP Length not to exceed ½ of frame rate)
Color Space 4:2:2 (preferred)
If 4:2:2 color space is not available, please use 4:2:0.

Audio Profile

Attribute Specification
Audio Codec s302m
MP2
MPEG-1 Layer 2
Audio Bitrate >192 Kbps for Stereo
>384 Kbps for 5.1
Audio Sample Rate 48kHz
Audio Configuration s302m
Stereo:
  • Stream 1 (Lt/Rt)
5.1 + Stereo:
  • Stream 1 (L/R/C/LFE/Ls/Rs/Lt/Rt)
 
MP2 and MPEG-1 Layer 2 (Stereo Only)
Stereo:
  • Stream 1 (Lt/Rt)

 

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