We get a lot of questions from people asking how we manage to preserve the beautiful grain structure when uploading videos to vimeo. Compression hates grain, so does Vimeo. Whatever you do, you won’t be able to feel the grain as in low or uncompressed video.
We test a lot of things, but it mostly depends on the size and the opacity of the grain. 35mm grain, due to its nature, is hard to pass through all this compression. But if the grain is too much, it can look really awful. Upload and re-upload a segment of your video till you find the perfect size and opacity, there’s no rule. Sometimes adding some Gaussian blur(0,1 – 0,2) helps. When using 16mm or 8mm grain, this should be easier.
We highly recommend a light touch of holygrain in any video meant for online use even if you don’t want a grainy look, as it effectively reduces color banding from the compression.
This is how we encode our vimeo videos with Adobe Media Encoder.
1) Drag and drop the clip into the Adobe Encoder.
2) For vimeo we are going to use the H.264 codec, as vimeo suggests. Click the Presets button for further customization. A new window opens. Then, choose the “HD 1080P 23,976″ preset. We are using this preset as a starting point.
3) In the Basic Video Settings tab, lift the level limits from 4.1 to 4.2 and check “Render at Maximum Depth”.
4) In the bitrate setttings, select VBR, 2 PASS. Increase the target bitrate beetween 35Mbps and 45Mbps. Set the maximum bitrate at 50Mbps. Set the keyframe distance at 24 and be sure to check “Use maximum render quality”.
5) Finally, save the preset for future use.