A quick comparison of video compression quality at three of the major video upload services. I posted the same video file to YouTube, Flickr, and Vimeo, and have added them here alongside the original for comparison. I think the results speak for themselves.
The original video was not shot with a video camera, but with a Canon SD1100S pocket still camera, which generated AVI files. I stitched a few together in QuickTime and saved the result as a QuickTime .mov. I did not alter any of the compression settings, and ended up with a file using the old standby codec Motion JPEG OpenDML at 640×480, 30fps, at a data rate of 15.75 mbit/sec.
Because it’s 60MBs, I’m linking to the original rather than embedding it.
Subject, by the way, is my son Miles (6) stomping in puddles on a rainy day at Jewel Lake in the Berkeley Hills.
YouTube clearly generates the worst results, with a huge amount of compression artifacts and general jerkiness:
To be fair, YouTube also offers a “high quality” version, which doesn’t look much (any?) better. Especially not compared to Flickr’s and Vimeo’s “normal” output.
Update Sept. 2013: The YouTube version above is no longer the original version. In 2013 I re-uploaded a bunch of old videos, and found that the YouTube quality has increased dramatically. I no longer stand by any of the negative comments about YT video quality stated here.
Few people use Flickr Video, though the feature has been available for nearly a year. Results are definitely better than YouTube, but not as good as the original, and very similar to Vimeo (bottom).
I expected Vimeo to be the clear winner. Vimeo is known for excellent video quality (and the site design is excellent too). But now that I see them side by side, I’m having trouble finding much in the way of quality difference between Vimeo and Flickr. Downsides: It took Vimeo 70 minutes to make the video available after upload, and the tiny size of Vimeo’s social network means the video will get far less “drive-by” traffic than it will on YouTube.