YouTube is undoubtedly the most popular free online video sharing website. With roughly 1.9 billion users viewing over 6 billion hours of videos per month, there’s hardly any content you won’t find on YouTube. The platform has allowed everyday people to showcase their unique content.
However, because the site is mostly dominated by user-generated content, there are a lot of subpar videos shared on the website. For example, many users create a channel and share their videos without considering the proper dimension, aspect ratio, resolution, and video size for YouTube. But if you want your content to get more views, your video must be optimized for searches.
Also, videos with the correct size and aspect ratio have a higher chance of impacting viewers the most. Regardless of your video’s content, if it is presented poorly, most people won’t even take a look, and your effort will be in vain.
Let’s begin with the different dimensions you can use to create and upload your videos on YouTube.
YouTube Video Dimensions
Making your YouTube video in any of the following dimensions will yield the best output. However, that depends on the device your viewers use to view your video.
|3840 x 2160||2160p||4K|
|2560 x 1440||1440p||2K|
|1920 x 1080||1080p||Maximum resolution for Full HD|
|1280 x 720||720p||Minimum resolution for HD|
|854 x 480||480p||Standard definition|
|640 x 360||360p||Normal resolution for websites|
|426 x 240||240p||Minimum video size for YouTube|
Recording your video using the highest resolution (2160p) will give you a 4K video quality, but that will take up a lot of space on your device space and consume too much mobile data when uploading videos. On the other hand, a 240p video quality may display well on older mobile devices but render poor video quality on big screens.
We strongly recommend filming your YouTube videos using a 1080p resolution. Besides giving your content a professional look, it saves you data and space. Recording in 720p can also give your viewers a great viewing experience, even on LCDs. Using the 720p resolution is particularly useful if you are still trying to get the hang of things on your YouTube channel.
Remember that you do not have to sacrifice quality for convenience. For this reason, you need to find a midpoint where the perfect video size for YouTube meets and satisfies your viewers regardless of their device. That point is the 1920 x 1080 (1080p) full HD resolution.
Recording Your Videos
During filming or recording, ensure that the resolution on your recording device is set to 1080p or 720p, at least. If you are using a recent Smartphone, remember to change the default setting of your video quality from 4k (3840 x 2160) or 2k (2560 x 1440) to the recommended resolution. Recording at 4k or 2k may give you the highest quality. Still, it is an excellent idea to shoot your video using a smaller size, especially if you intend to make a lengthy recording.
Here’s a rough estimate of how much data is used in viewing content recorded using the recommended video size for YouTube. A five-minute video at 1920 x 1080 (1080p – Full HD) will consume about 170MB of data. The same length of video at 1280 x 720 (720p – HD) will take up approximately 75MB of data.
Video Aspect Ratio
Apart from resolutions and dimensions, the aspect ratio of your video is equally vital for making professional-looking YouTube content. The aspect ratio of a video refers to its on-screen proportion – the ratio of width and height of the video. Generally, there are three common aspect ratios:
- 1:1 aspect ratio: Videos in this aspect ratio have equal width and height. This aspect ratio is perfect for videos found on social media such as Instagram.
- 4:3 aspect ratio: The images in videos with this aspect ratio will have a height of 3 inches for every 4 inches width. This was the standard ratio in the early days of television.
- 16:9 aspect ratio: This is a widescreen format, and it is the standard ratio that gives viewers the best experience.
Here’s an illustration of what your video will look like in the three different aspect ratios.
The 16:9 aspect ratio is the best ratio for YouTube videos and any other professional video content. If you upload a 4:3 video on YouTube, you will get black bars on both sides of your video to make up for the empty vertical spaces created at the edge of your video. A 4:3 aspect ratio makes your video looks very amateur.
Finally, here are some guidelines to keep in mind regarding proportions, aspect ratios, and resolutions for YouTube videos.
- Maximum file size: 128GB
- Maximum video length: 12 hours
- Maximum video resolution: 2160p
- Minimum video resolution: 240p
- Best aspect ratio:16:9
- Recommended video formats: .avi, .mp4, .wmv, .webM, .mpeg, .mov, .mpegps, .flv, and 3GPP
Note: If you have a video that you wish to upload to YouTube, but not in the recommended video formats, you don’t have to remake the video all over again. Change the format into one of the correct ones using a video converter, and then upload it on your channel.
However, to avoid going through that stress, it is best to create and edit your video using the right format. Also, if your video is longer than 12 hours or larger than 128GB, you will need to compress the file before uploading it. By default, you can only upload YouTube videos of up to 15 minutes long. You need to go through a YouTube account verification process to upload videos that are longer than 15 minutes.
If you record your videos with these requirements in mind, you will improve the chances of finding your content through organic searches. In other words, you are tweaking your content for search optimization, which will give your videos more views. Ignoring the right video size for YouTube will make your content less discoverable, and your videos will display poorly on your viewer’s screen.