This tutorial explains how to encode your film (and trailer) to achieve the best quality for web distribution.

The best quality is achieved by encoding from your uncompressed master. If you would rather not deal with the encoding process - you can purchase our encoding service. Just mail us a DVD and we'll encode and upload the film for you. We accept all DVD formats and mov, mp4 or m2v data written on DVD-R. Please include a shipping label if you would like us to ship the DVD back to you. You can also send your film on a Mac-format hard drive - please ensure proper packaging and a return shipping label.

Prepare uncompressed master

The key to best quality encoding for the web is compressing the original, uncompressed master.

Uncompressed footage is often too large to upload (a 90 minute feature could easily be 150 GB). Most video websites require uploading video already compressed once - and then that video ends up being converted one more time to a site-wide standard. This second compression step often results in compression artifacts and overall drop in quality.

filmbinder does not compress the files you upload - whatever you upload will be played as is. Since your film is the product you're selling please make sure you maintain the highest quality of your encoding.

If you're using Final Cut Pro, render out a copy of your film in Uncompressed 10-bit codec and also:

Use square pixels - if your film has been shot anamorphic please convert it to square pixels. Some web browsers may have problem with interpreting anamorphic video resulting in squished frame.

No letter-boxing - crop your frame to the original format. Eliminating the black area of the frame helps with increasing quality - more video can be saved in the same bandwidth.

No interlacing - make sure you're using progressive video frames. Interlaced footage (usually shot with older cameras or edited from telecine) should be de-interlaced using motion-compensated filters to achieve the highest quality progressive frames. If you have to use interlaced video please test the final result.

Use standard resolution - x264 compression works best if you avoid any non-standard frame sizes. To maintain usable bandwidth we recommend video 720 pixels wide:
720 by 404 pixels (for 16:9)
720 by 540 pixels (for 4:3)
720 by 434 pixels (for 1.66)
720 by 390 pixels (for 1.85)
720 by 306 pixels (for 2.35)

1,504 kbps (188 KB/s) recommended

filmbinder can handle almost any resolution and bandwidth. However, before you crank the quality settings to the maximum you should consider the bandwidth limits of an average user. Ultimately, your audience wants to watch the film uninterrupted and without extensive buffering time.

Ideally, the film should have the highest quality but still download faster than it takes to play it back in real time - otherwise your viewer will have to sit and wait for the film to buffer.

Even though an average residential cable internet is advertised nowadays at around 6 Mbps (750 KB/sec) very often it's the peak speed achieved under special conditions (usually, at night when less users are on the network). Majority of time the true download speed is significantly lower.

Based on our testing and research, as of 2010, we recommend a total bandwidth (that is video + audio) of about 1,504 kbps (188 KB/s) = 1,376 kbps for video and 128 kbps for audio. Using x264 codec with 1,504 kbps bandwidth is equivalent to DVD quality or web HD.

If you would like to use higher bandwidth (or resolution) - please make sure your film is playable without significant buffering.

Compress with x264 codec

Currently, the x264 codec is the most universal - it's playable on all popular web browsers, including iPad and iPhone 4.

You're free to use any x264 encoder (such as the Compressor in Final Cut Studio). However, a free and open source encoder, called HandBrake, is available at

HandBrake is not only free - it produces the best video quality (yes, we did test that) - while maintaining the smallest file size.

Once you install HandBrake, download filmbinder preset for HandBrake. Unzip the preset and then import it into HandBrake ("Presets" menu > "Import...")

In HandBrake, open your uncompressed master from the "File" menu > "Open Source..." and then choose the "(import) filmbinder preset" from the Presets drawer (you may need to open it in "Window" menu > "Presets Drawer").

Choose the right destination in the "File:" field - make sure you're target file name ends with .mp4 extension.

In "Picture Settings" window, make sure the frame is not automatically cropped - your uncompressed master should be already cropped to the correct aspect ratio. You may want to render a quick Preview to make sure everything looks fine.

Now you're ready to run the encoding. Press "Start" and wait until HandBrake finishes. Depending on your computer, typical encoding takes about 1-2 times the length of your film.

Once HandBrake finishes encoding, please play your film to make sure everything looks and sounds right. If everything is right - go to and "Add new film". You upload your mp4 file, under the "Film" tab - by clicking "Upload film".

Film distribution 2.0

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