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Export Settings for Vimeo

David Libertella

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Get the free software tool "FFmpeg". It's a slightly flaky piece of open source and it requires you to type commands into your computer in the manner of a 1970s teletype, but it can be a great problem solver. I think all editors who have any chance of needing to supply anything for the internet should have some familiarity with it.


You can download binary (that is, the compiled program, rather than source code) versions of it here:




Put the file ffmpeg.exe somewhere the system will find it, such as c:\windows\system32


Then open up a command window (start/run then type "cmd") and type as follows:


ffmpeg -deinterlace -i inputfile.avi -aspect 16:9 -s 1920x1080 -ab 192k -b 4000k outputfile.mp4


FFmpeg will deal with input files in an extremely wide variety of formats. It will complain if you try to give it something it doesn't like. It apparently understands DNxHD Quicktimes.




Omit "-deinterlace" if your source isn't interlaced.

Alter the aspect ratio to suit. Don't omit it, even if you don't want to alter the aspect ratio.

Alter the bitrate (-B) to suit. SD sources with limited motion will look reasonable at 1000k (1000 kilobits = one megabit per second). Highly active HD sources will require more, say 4000k - 8000k, but test first.

Alter the resolution to suit. You can omit this if you aren't altering the resolution.

Alter the audio bitrate (-ab) to taste. This command will give you AAC audio (like iTunes uses) which sounds good at 192kbps.


The resulting file will be playable by Quicktime and Vimeo will accept it happily.


There are many other tricks you can use to improve results here, but this is a basic, highly functional approach that generally just works. The only thing to watch is whether it is screwing up 601/709 colourspace conversion, which it does quite regularly.


Advanced students may wish to consult the FFmpeg commandline reference, most of which shouldn't be too out of date...




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