Wistia

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Best Export Settings for Audio and Video

Before you start uploading to your Wistia account, get familiar with our recommendations for video resolution, settings, and formats. This will make uploading a painless experience, and you will end up with top quality web encodes for your videos!

Wistia does have a few specifications and guidelines we recommend following in order to obtain the best performance using our service.

Video

  • Codec: h.264
  • Resolution: between 640px and 3840px (4K) wide
  • Bitrate (recommended): 5,000 - 10,000 kbps
  • Framerate: constant, 15-60 frames per second
  • Aspect Ratio: Get crazy! We accept videos of any aspect ratio.

Audio

  • Codec: AAC (Advanced Audio Codec)
  • Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz
  • Channels: 2-channel Stereo (not surround)

In some sections of our exporting guide we recommend a higher quality bitrate. Wistia encodes versions of your video (or derivatives) at a target bitrate, so the exported bitrate isn't super important. We recommend capping your videos at 10,000 kbps to keep your file size down.

And now, a little more explanation on why these settings are preferable:

After you upload a video, we perform encoding on it - creating multiple derivatives for different use cases and environments (like mobile devices and Flash) and we also get these versions ready to play on the web. We have video type detection and encoding settings (what we call Smart Encoding) so that live-action videos look great, and longer videos that require fine detail (like Webinars) will be as efficient a file-size as possible (for smooth playback).

The largest resolution we create is 4K, or 3840px by 2160px. We'll create derivatives based on the width of the original file. If you upload a 4K video with a 16:9 aspect ratio (the most common here) we're going to create the following derivatives (as well as some Flash counterparts):

Derivative Bitrate
3840 x 2160p (4K) 7,500 kbps
1920 x 1080p 3,750 kbps
1280 x 720p 2,500 kbps
960 x 540p 1,200 kbps
640 x 360p 700 kbps
400 x 224p 200 kbps

Adaptive Streaming

With Wistia's Vulcan player (shown below), we'll use HTTP Live Streaming—or HLS—to deliver the best possible version of your video at any given time. This means that the Wistia player will switch quality streams depending on the internet speed available. If we gauge that your viewers have slower internet initially, but the quality picks up after a few seconds of watching, we'll automatically switch to a higher quality viewing stream as the viewer watches. They don't have to touch anything! Pretty rad, right? Check out an example of what this looks like below:

 

Tip

Keep in mind, this video is forcibly showing the adaptive streaming switch to illustrate how it would look to your viewers. It's not flipping through the streams. On your video you'll be able to see the current stream under the settings menu if your video is using adaptive streaming.

Wistia's adaptive streaming will automatically choose the highest quality version of the video to serve your viewers without buffering. We'll choose a range between 360p and 1080p (depending on the aspect ratio of your video, and its original quality).

Formats Wistia Supports

Our bakery (where the encoding magic happens) accepts many common file formats (see a partial list below), but for the most consistent performance we recommend exporting files in MP4 format.

If a file type is not supported (or recognized), users will simply be able to download the file.

Media Type Formats Accepted
Video MOV, MPG, AVI, FLV, F4V, MP4, M4V, ASF, WMV, VOB, MOD, 3GP, MKV, DIVX, XVID, WEBM
Audio MP3, WAV, AIF, AU, M4A
Documents PDF, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX
Images JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, DCM

Tip

Just a heads up, only videos are embeddable. You're welcome to upload different file types, but we'll only supply embed codes for videos.

A Note on File Sizes

The standard Wistia upload function supports files up to 8 Gigabytes in size. Wistia transcodes all video before it can be shared, so that your viewers have the best playback experience possible. Part of the transcoding process is compressing the video using an efficient codec like FLV, MP4, and M3U8. As a result, the quality of your original upload matters only up to a certain point.

We recommend adhering to 1080px and 5,000 - 10,000 kbps as the max settings for upload, as it will reduce the likeliness of upload errors. If you find yourself with a short video (under 2 hours) that is larger than 8GB, it's likely something has gone wrong or a compression step was missed.

Exporting Guides

Looking for help exporting from software like Final Cut Pro X, ScreenFlow, or Camtasia? Head over to our exporting guides.