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Recommended YouTube (4K/1080P) Video Upload Settings By Jordi D. Rodríguez

youtube upload settings

Seems like we all know how to upload videos to YouTube. You just kick the Upload button, load local clips, and then Publish. Only when your 4K footage turns out to be only available in 360p online or comes out with black bars will you know YouTube uploading is not that easy. Something like "YouTube uploading settings" should be learned firstly in case of such-and-such an error.

This page provides some recommended YouTube uploading settings to help preserve best possible quality, mainly on video encoding settings, like resolution, frame rate, codec and so on.

Are YouTube upload settings really useful?

File Size

The file size for video uploading to YouTube was limited to 2GB, which was changed in late 2016. At present, the maximum file size allowed to be uploaded is 128GB, making large 4K UHD and high-speed videos uploading possible. After all, a 60s 4K footage at 30 fps recorded by GoPro Hero 4 reaches up to 450MB. If you download the video you uploaded before, you'll find the file size is much smaller than the original in the same parameters. Yep, YouTube always re-encodes videos.

Video Length

By default, you are only permitted to upload a video of 15 minutes, but it is possible to remove the duration limit and get longer uploads by verify your Google Account. The maximum upload length is extended to 12 hours.

Aspect Ratio

1. You can always tap the square button on the bottom right of the video on iPhone, iPad or Android mobiles to get a full-screen view. No black bars at all.

2. On computer, YouTube uses 16:9 aspect ratio players, so uploading a 16:9 video file should be the best option. Or else YouTube will make it 16:9 by adding pillarbox to 4:3 video (black bars on both sides of the video) or letterbox at the top and bottom. Note that adding letterbox manually before uploading will result in black bars all around the video. So you'd better capture video in 16:9 originally or upload videos in their native aspect ratio for later processing by YouTube.

Frame Rate

Videos should be in their native frame rates. Resampling is not recommended, which may cause errors like stuttering and shuddering. It is said that 24fps or 25fps in progressive scanning yields the best results. So, interlaced sources need to be deinterlaced previously for uploading. But frame rates like 30, 48, 50, 60, etc are accepted as well.


The higher the resolution is, the more flexible in the later encoding and playback process. For videos uploading for commercial purposes like sale or rental, a minimum of 1080p (1920x1080) resolution is recommended or required. There is no limit on free contents. But at least, it should be greater than 200 lines, like 320x240. Of course you can upload a 4K video to YouTube.

Q - "Bad quality after uploading to YouTube. Video quality must be degraded and there is only 360p option. Can I upload 4k videos on YouTube?"

You can upload 4K ultra high definition videos on YouTube, and it will be able to display in original resolution. But there are some tricks you need to know. Firstly, what you are uploading must be a true 4K video. Secondly, choose a right browser or update your browser to latest version. Last but most importantly, you just have to wait for the 4K rendering. Next two pictures are taken when I just uploaded the 4K video and 12 hours later after it was uploaded.

youtube 4k upload error

fix youtube 4k upload error

Encoding Format

The most preferred video formats:
• MPEG-4 (.mp4) in H.264 codec
• MPEG-2 (.mpg)

All other supported formats:
AVI (.avi), MOV (.mov), FLV (.flv), WebM (.webm), WMV (.wmv), 3GP (.3gp, .3g2, .3gpp), CineForm (GoPro), DNxHR (UHDTV), HEVC, ProRes (Apple)


Bitrate is the main factor that decides file size and reflects video quality. Before the critical point, the bigger the value of bitrate is, the higher the video quality will be. Normally, it is highly affected by video codec and there is no limit on minimum or maximum value. But YouTube does give some recommendations. For example, 35-45 Mbps for 4K 2160p videos at 24/25/30 fps while 53-68 Mbps for that at 48/50/60 fps. Those are for SDR uploads. Things would be a little different for HDR uploads.

bitrate settings

If you have any recommendations regarding YouTube video upload setting, please don't hesitate to reach us below:

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