How to Export 4K Videos for YouTube . . . Plus Free Presets for Premiere Pro and Media Encoder!

How_to_Export_4K_Videos_for_YouTube

The Panasonic GH4 is the first 4K camera I have tested. I have lots of good things to say about it and will have plenty more sample video along the way. For those new to 4K video (including yours truly), I wanted to take a few minutes and break down what I have learned about exporting 4K video using Adobe Premiere Pro CC and share some presets that I created for exporting 4K footage for YouTube 4K delivery.

YouTube will display up to 3840 x 2160 video footage, which is commonly referred to as UHD or 4K UHD. This is a 16×9 format that will match the output of most of the 4K cameras on the market today. If you happen to shoot in true 4K, you’ll be scaling that 4096 x 2160 (a 17:9 ratio) into YouTube’s 4K window and end up with letterbox footage.

Panasonic_GH4_Mirrorless_Digital_Camera_Body

YouTube has a page dedicated to advanced encoding settings for your video files, which include settings for 4K videos. For standard quality 4K footage, YouTube recommends 35-45Mbps bit rate in a .mp4 file using an H.264 codec, which should be configured as follows:

  • Progressive scan (no interlacing)
  • High Profile
  • 2 consecutive B frames
  • Closed GOP. GOP of half the frame rate.
  • CABAC
  • Variable bitrate.
  • Color Space: 4.2.0

One of the things I like about Adobe Premiere Pro and Media Encoder is the built-in presets for matching your footage for a variety of uses after outputting the file. Unfortunately, Adobe has yet to build 4K presets into the standard YouTube or other end use categories of presets.

You can create your own using YouTube’s recommended settings above. Or, you can download some presets that I have made and tested on YouTube. Use the following links to download the presets. (Just right-click the link and choose “Save as…”)

YouTube 4K – 23.98 H.264 Preset

YouTube 4K – 29.97 H.264 Preset

To install the presets, go to Media Encoder’s Preset Browser and click the Import Presets button.

Media_Encoder_Import_Presets

What other 4K workflows and tips have you guys uncovered with this new generation of affordable and accessible 4K cameras? Please share in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the presets! I downloaded them. My mac made them .txt files so I manually went in and removed the .txt ending. Then I opened media encoder and did just what you said. I usually encode from PR and que it to media encoder. So I opened PR and saw the presets are there too! Thanks so much!

  2. says

    It works and it was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much.

    I used your settings to make a time-lapse that pans and zooms.

    First I imported my time lapse stills into Premiere with “”YouTube 4K – 23.98 H.264 Preset.” Cool. Then I exported it at 4K. Easy.

    Then I imported my new 4k movie back into Premiere,. Finally I panned and zoomed that movie and exported it back into the old 1080 format. And presto — an easy to do time lapse with zooming and panning.

    I’ve been hired to make a time lapse of a demolition — tomorrow. So this came just in time.

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