Compression Guidelines

In order to prepare the best product for submission, you should prepare your video using the following guidelines. These settings are easily found in Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Adobe Premier Pro, Quicktime Pro, imovie, and most other professional and even consumer editing products. If you start with quality, full-size video, these settings will result in a file that looks and sounds good for projection.

Codecs: H.264 – video, AAC – audio

A codec is the format in which your video will be encoded. Different codecs have different features and varying quality. For best results, we recommend using H.264 (sometimes referred to as MP4) for the video codec and AAC (short for Advanced Audio Codec) for the audio codec. If you’re on a Windows machine, WMV3 is a good choice for video codec.

Frame rate and keyframes

30 fps If there is an option that says “current,” it is best to just go with that. Otherwise, this is usually 30 fps (frames per second) for USA, Canada, and Japan, while in Europe and rest of the world it’s usually 25 fps. If there is an option for key frames, use the same value you used for framerate.

Data rate

2000 kbits/sec for standard def or 5000 kbits/sec for high def This setting controls both the visual quality of the video and how big the file will be. In most video editors, this is done in terms of kilobits per second (kbits/sec or kbps). Use 2000 kbits/sec for standard definition 4:3 video, 3000 kbits/sec for widescreen DV, or 5000 kbits/sec for high definition footage.


640 x 480 for standard def, 1:1 pixel aspect ratio or 1280×720 for high def 640×480 for standard definition 4:3 video, 853×480 for widescreen DV, or 1280×720 for high definition. It is also best to export 1920×1080 or 1440×1080 video as 1280×720 too, since we will automatically scale it down. If you have the option to control the pixel aspect ratio (not display aspect ratio) make sure it’s set to “1:1” or “1.00”, also sometimes called “square pixels.”


Yes, if you have this option, enable it.

Audio settings

AAC, 320 kbps, 44.10 kHz Choose AAC for the audio codec. You’ll want to set the bit rate to 320 kbps and the sample rate to 44.100 kHz.

Acceptable video format


*Note: These guidelines are identical to those suggested by and will result in a file that is also ideal for posting on Vimeo or other online streaming services. Thank you to Vimeo for the clear and detailed instructions.