Mac Video Editing

What type of compression is recommended for best video playback performance?

In the world of live production there is always a battle of how do I share the best version of my content while also ensuring that my presentation works flawlessly. Knowing the best compression and bitrate for your videos can help avoid headaches. We have some best practices we’d like to share with you to make sure things go off without a hitch!

The easy bottom line for most people: h.264 or h.265 compression at 50mbps or less.

To elaborate on these settings…

For general playback (no alpha channel)…


h.264 in a .mov or .mp4 video encoded at the same resolution you are sending to your output. If your projector only works at 1280×720, you should be using a 1280×720 video file. Generally, it is not recommended to use a 4k video if your output does not support it as the file sizes are exponentially larger and can cause your playback to be choppy. If you are interested in running video with an alpha channel, your requirements may be different. We’ll tackle that in another article.

Regarding the bitrate of these files, it depends on how much motion is in the video itself. If you have a lot of motion in your project, your bitrate needs to be higher. Higher bitrates will mean larger files and can be difficult to play depending on your computer configuration. You may need to try a couple of different versions to ensure your video looks as good as it can while not taxing your computer.  Here’s some more information about bitrate.


The same rules apply as ProPresenter though it can handle h.265 encoded videos really well also. For more information on the difference between h.264 and h.265, click here. 

What about quality?

We understand that you want to preserve the quality of the videos that you have worked so hard to produce. Picture quality degradation in a live production environment, however, is far less noticeable than dropped frames during playback. Further, with 30-50mbps bit rates, only the most detailed of video (like shots of the surface of the ocean, for example) will have visible artifacts.

But what if the video still looks choppy

If you are experiencing choppy video playback, a number of things could be the cause. The first one to check would be the video compression and bitrate as explained above. Also, if the file is set to a higher output resolution we recommend you export it to one that matches your output. Another potential cause for choppy video playback is your video card and its drivers. If your graphics card meets the minimum requirements but is still not performing well you may want to download the latest driver for your graphics card. 

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