Making better Facebook video 606 pixels at a time

Yesterday I did a couple of interviews at Facebook’s headquarters that’ll be up over the next couple of weeks. But in between I stopped at Chris Putnam’s desk. I’ve known him since he was 16, living in Atlanta (he showed me a web service he built so that people on the Internet could listen to him practice his piano). Anyway, he’s the guy who built Facebook’s video system. Interesting that he has three monitors on his desk. One of which shows how many videos are sitting in a queue waiting to be encoded.

That got me to ask him what’s some things that would help his encoder out and also give you the best possible quality on Facebook for video.

He said that making your videos 606 pixels across would keep his encoder from having to scale down your video size. I did a Google search on 606 pixels and haven’t found anyone else that’s shared that data.

Which shows one of the reasons I blog: to get things into Google so I can pull them out later.

Ahh, the interesting things you learn by asking questions of the geeks who build the technologies we all use. Thanks Chris and Facebook for a most interesting day yesterday.

33 thoughts on “Making better Facebook video 606 pixels at a time

  1. I second the request for updated Facebook Video info specifically regarding the new width–it’s definitely bigger than 606 now. Any help would be so greatly appreciated.

  2. I second the request for updated Facebook Video info specifically regarding the new width–it’s definitely bigger than 606 now. Any help would be so greatly appreciated.

  3. as the uber idiot amongst us, can i just ask, “how do you load a video to facebook?” i see where the pictures are stored and it’s easy to add things there. but i see no video tab. there’s no link under my headshot that says “upload a video.” i don’t see any easy “post” link at the top (or bottom) of the page (like multiply has) that helps you know exactly what kinds of content you can add and makes it easy to add them. i feel like a complete idiot, but i’m asking anyway because if i don’t, i’ll never be able to add a video to my facebook page, which would be sad.

  4. as the uber idiot amongst us, can i just ask, “how do you load a video to facebook?” i see where the pictures are stored and it’s easy to add things there. but i see no video tab. there’s no link under my headshot that says “upload a video.” i don’t see any easy “post” link at the top (or bottom) of the page (like multiply has) that helps you know exactly what kinds of content you can add and makes it easy to add them. i feel like a complete idiot, but i’m asking anyway because if i don’t, i’ll never be able to add a video to my facebook page, which would be sad.

  5. Technically you may see a slight gain in image quality by using a multiple of 16 in each dimension. For example, if your video is in 4:3 aspect ratio you might want to go with 576×432. While this isn’t quite as big as the true maximum of 606px (selected due to design constraints in the FB frame), it will not waste any bits in partial macroblocks.

    Note that with the new design we will have a wider frame, so the 606px figure will probably be going away soon. We have some new cool stuff in the works for Video’s size and quality that I think everyone will be happy with.

  6. Technically you may see a slight gain in image quality by using a multiple of 16 in each dimension. For example, if your video is in 4:3 aspect ratio you might want to go with 576×432. While this isn’t quite as big as the true maximum of 606px (selected due to design constraints in the FB frame), it will not waste any bits in partial macroblocks.

    Note that with the new design we will have a wider frame, so the 606px figure will probably be going away soon. We have some new cool stuff in the works for Video’s size and quality that I think everyone will be happy with.

  7. For video on the web you usually need a square pixel aspect ratio.
    This means that the ratio of the height and the width of the pixel composing the video to be 1. For standard definition video, the frame aspect ratio is 4:3. A common size is to use 640×480 resolution.

    The DV and MPEG video (for SD, NTSC) uses 720×480 pixel resolution. This is an aspect ratio of 5:4. When displaying this resolution to a standard monitor, you need to distord the image to compensate for the aspect ratio.

    In the example of resizing to 640×480, you have the advantage of keeping all the vertical lines and to loose little information on the horizontal lines, minimizing information loss and encoding loss.

    Note that most modern Internet video players support non-square pixels aspect ratio (Flash MPEG-4 and Silverlight VMW).

    Cheers,
    Pascal

  8. For video on the web you usually need a square pixel aspect ratio.
    This means that the ratio of the height and the width of the pixel composing the video to be 1. For standard definition video, the frame aspect ratio is 4:3. A common size is to use 640×480 resolution.

    The DV and MPEG video (for SD, NTSC) uses 720×480 pixel resolution. This is an aspect ratio of 5:4. When displaying this resolution to a standard monitor, you need to distord the image to compensate for the aspect ratio.

    In the example of resizing to 640×480, you have the advantage of keeping all the vertical lines and to loose little information on the horizontal lines, minimizing information loss and encoding loss.

    Note that most modern Internet video players support non-square pixels aspect ratio (Flash MPEG-4 and Silverlight VMW).

    Cheers,
    Pascal

  9. Sort of on-topic, but Robert did you ask the facebook folks why there is no to tell how many times your videos have been viewed? Every other video service on the planet has viewer counts. Why not facebook? Why upload videos there is there is no way to track them?

    -Scott

  10. Sort of on-topic, but Robert did you ask the facebook folks why there is no to tell how many times your videos have been viewed? Every other video service on the planet has viewer counts. Why not facebook? Why upload videos there is there is no way to track them?

    -Scott

  11. this seems a bit backwards to me … if most video is (say) 720, then perhaps Facebook should make the max size 720, instead of 606 … 114 pixels isn’t much screen size is it ?
    tail wagging the dog again

  12. this seems a bit backwards to me … if most video is (say) 720, then perhaps Facebook should make the max size 720, instead of 606 … 114 pixels isn’t much screen size is it ?
    tail wagging the dog again

  13. How arbitrary. You’d think they’d at least pick a multiple of 4. Some codecs prefer/require it. 600 would have made more sense to me. Actually, I would prefer 720, as that would require no resizing in many cases (DVD, DV, etc.).

  14. How arbitrary. You’d think they’d at least pick a multiple of 4. Some codecs prefer/require it. 600 would have made more sense to me. Actually, I would prefer 720, as that would require no resizing in many cases (DVD, DV, etc.).

  15. @Peter- Thanks for the tip for the photos as well!

    @Meg- I wouldn’t look for the camera to take pictures at this resolution. Instead I would batch convert any photos or video from their original size to a more appropriate size for the corresponding service you plan on uploading them to (after uploading delete the downsized files but keep the originals). Think about how unhappy you would be, going through your photos in 10 years and all of them being 600X600 when when you could of had them much larger with more detail. At the rate that storage prices are falling you might as well store everything at it’s highest quality.

    @Phil- Google is your friend but this may help http://tinyurl.com/5l4jar

  16. @Peter- Thanks for the tip for the photos as well!

    @Meg- I wouldn’t look for the camera to take pictures at this resolution. Instead I would batch convert any photos or video from their original size to a more appropriate size for the corresponding service you plan on uploading them to (after uploading delete the downsized files but keep the originals). Think about how unhappy you would be, going through your photos in 10 years and all of them being 600X600 when when you could of had them much larger with more detail. At the rate that storage prices are falling you might as well store everything at it’s highest quality.

    @Phil- Google is your friend but this may help http://tinyurl.com/5l4jar

  17. You would think that Facebook would already specify the optimal upload settings somewhere on their site. It seems that if enough of the techies, the ones who probably upload the most video anyways, optimized their video before uploading it could save Facebook some resources and in turn money. Many users a would probably see better finished video quality as well. It would make sense for Facebook to AT LEAST have a Video Upload FAQ page addressing optimum upload settings.

  18. You would think that Facebook would already specify the optimal upload settings somewhere on their site. It seems that if enough of the techies, the ones who probably upload the most video anyways, optimized their video before uploading it could save Facebook some resources and in turn money. Many users a would probably see better finished video quality as well. It would make sense for Facebook to AT LEAST have a Video Upload FAQ page addressing optimum upload settings.

  19. The same seems to go for photos uploaded to Facebook. Since discovery, I’ve changed my Aperture to Facebook exporter to resize to max 600×600, and they look much better now being created from the originals instead of going through 2 phases of resizing.

  20. The same seems to go for photos uploaded to Facebook. Since discovery, I’ve changed my Aperture to Facebook exporter to resize to max 600×600, and they look much better now being created from the originals instead of going through 2 phases of resizing.

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