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Recently, we’ve heard from some creators that videos uploaded in 4K are getting “stuck in 360p” and higher resolutions (such as 1080p and 4K) are taking a long time to process. Your reports helped us uncover a technical issue causing higher resolution processing time to take longer than expected. This specific issue is now resolved for all new video uploads and you can read more about the fix here.
We also wanted to share some more details and best practices related to uploading in 4K based on common questions we’ve seen from you:
- Processing for low vs high resolutions: When you upload a video, it will initially be processed only in low resolution to make sure that a version of the video is published faster. As soon as your upload is complete, your video is available to stream in a lower resolution, usually 360p, to a wide variety of devices. Higher resolutions, such as 1080p or 4K, start processing after your upload is complete and take additional time to process. This means that initially, your video may only be available to stream in low resolution and it could look like high quality options such as 1080p or 4k are “missing” until that additional processing is complete.
- 4K vs 1080p: 4K videos are 4 times larger than 1080p videos. A 4K video can take multiple hours to finish high resolution processing. Timing also depends on other factors such as frame rate and the length of the video. Overall, 1080p is usually much quicker to process than 4K. See some specific examples below.
- Frame rate and length of the video: A 4K video, with a frame rate of 30 fps (frames per second) that is 60 minutes long, can take up to 4 hours or more to finish high resolution processing. A 4K video with a frame rate of 60 fps will take even longer, and so on. If your video is taking longer than 8 hours to process high resolution options, let us know by sending a report via our feedback tool.
- Best practices for uploading in higher resolutions: If you want your video to be available in all resolutions when it’s first public, we recommend uploading a private or unlisted and switching to public once high resolution processing is complete. Also for longer videos, you may want to factor additional processing time into your content planning/scheduling, since it’s expected to take more time for higher resolutions to become available. If you’d like to speed up the processing time altogether, you can try switching to a lower frame rate. If you need to get a video out ASAP, you may consider switching to a lower resolution – like from 4K to 1080p – as this will mean less processing time before HD options like 720p and 1080p are available to viewers.
Learn more about video quality after uploading in our help center!
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