Can YouTube Beat Facebook Video Quality?

I recently had an interesting experience with a video I posted both to our Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel and to the official Mayo Clinic Facebook “fan” page. The video was created to provide a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. I uploaded the same file to both YouTube and Facebook, and the quality difference is striking.

Here’s the YouTube version:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UT6vmldLRw]

It looks fine, but my friend Hoyt, the star of the video, was struck by the superior clarity of the same video on the Mayo Clinic Facebook page. I had noticed this previously with some other videos I had uploaded.

Obviously YouTube has the volume and critical mass for video sharing (and the advantage that you can embed it within blogs, while with Facebook you can only offer a link), but I wonder why YouTube’s quality is so much lower.

Is it because of the sheer volume of videos, that because YouTube is processing so many new uploads every day so it can’t afford to devote the processing power that would render the videos more clearly in Flash? Does the fact that Facebook has a video application for its platform contribute to the quality difference? Or are there some settings that would make YouTube videos look better? The one I uploaded was 137 megs for about a 6-minute video in mpeg format.

What settings would you recommend for export to get maximum quality in videos uploaded to YouTube, while keeping file sizes reasonable?

And do you have to be a fan of Mayo Clinic to see the Facebook version? I’m assuming you have to be at least a Facebook member, although you can at least see the basic fan page without being a member.

What do you think? What’s your experience with maximizing video quality in YouTube? Can it be as good as what you see in Facebook?

Updated: I tried clicking the video link without being logged in to Facebook, and I could see the video, so it seems it isn’t necessary to be a Facebook member to see Facebook video.

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of nine, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

4 thoughts on “Can YouTube Beat Facebook Video Quality?”

  1. I’ve tried a variety of different uploads on YouTube and found that quality tends to max with a standard 320X240 upload. As for Facebook, I’ve definitely gotten higher quality out of 720X480 uploads. I imagine that YouTube’s player is a bit more standardized whereas Facebook’s actually takes into account larger resolutions since the viewer is bigger.

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