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What is video bitrate and why it matters?

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May 16, 2023• Proven solutions

When you export a video, you may have encountered the term "bitrate" once in a while. Then you are confused about what bitrate is exactly. Is there anything to do with my video quality? Don't worry. In fact, there are so many readers like you who have these doubts too. 

In this article, we will let you know what video bitrate is, and the relationship between video bitrate and quality. In the end, we will give you a bonus about how to change the video bitrate. Continue reading!

What is the video bitrate?

Bitrate is the number of bits per second. The symbol is bit/s. It generally determines the size and quality of video and audio files: the higher the bitrate, the better the quality, and the larger the file size because of File size = bitrate (kilobits per second) x duration. In most cases, 1 byte per second (1 B/s) corresponds to 8 bit/s.

How does bitrate affect video quality?

Video bitrate affects video quality in several ways. First, it is the key measure of any video file size. Secondly, high video bitrate results in high video quality and low bitrates result in poor video quality. However, using an extremely high bitrate is just a waste of bandwidth.

Higher video bitrate, higher video quality?

In general, a higher bitrate will accommodate higher image quality in the video output, only when comparing the same video with the same resolution. Bitrates should be expected to go up whenever the resolution goes up, as more data is being processed. 

Therefore, high video bitrate may provide excellent quality, but it can also place a major strain on your hardware which can result in stutters.

What is a video bitrate calculator?

A bit is defined as the smallest amount of data on a computer. And bitrate is the rate (per second) at which bits are transmitted to an output. So, the video bitrate calculator refers to the software used to determine the amount of data processed in a video clipper specified time.

Do you want to know the amount of video bitrate you require to fit a given storage medium like DVD-R? Here are the best video bitrate calculators to use when video encoding.

What is the best video bitrates setting for YouTube videos?

According to the official YouTube help document, recommended video bitrates have two sets of standards: SDR uploads and HDR uploads.

1. SDR uploads

Type Video Bitrate: Standard Frame Rate Video Bitrate: High Frame Rate
2160p 35-45 Mbps 53-68 Mbps
1440p 16 Mbps 24 Mbps
1080p 8 Mbps 12 Mbps
720p 5 Mbps 7.5 Mbps
480p 2.5 Mbps 4 Mbps
360p 1 Mbps 1.5 Mbps

2. HDR uploads

Type Video Bitrate: Standard Frame Rate Video Bitrate: High Frame Rate
2160p 44-56 Mbps 66-85 Mbps
1440p 20 Mbps 30 Mbps
1080p 10 Mbps 15 Mbps
720p 6.5 Mbps 9.5 Mbps
480p Unavailable Unavailable

What is a good video bitrate for streaming?

For your videos to stream steadily, the video resolutions have to match with the right video bitrate. The right video bitrates for streaming on YouTube, Facebook, or any other channels are;

  • For full HD videos with a standard resolution, set bitrate between 3,500 to 5,000 kbps.
  • For regular HD videos with a standard resolution, set bitrate between 2,500 to 4,000 kbps.
  • For full HD videos with high resolution, set bitrate between 4,500 to 6,000 kbps.
  • For regular HD videos with high resolution, set bitrate between 3,500 to 5,000 kbps.

What video bitrate should I use for OBS (Open Broadcasting Software)?

OBS is free software that allows video-makers to capture and record videos as well as live streaming. Video viewers usually choose video resolutions according to their device's compatibilities and data affordability.

Use the OBS video bitrate cheat sheet below to set your video resolutions.

Quality Quality Resolution Video Bitrate
LOW 480 X 270 400kbps
Medium 640 X 360 800 - 1200kbps
High 960 X 540/854 X 480 1200 - 1500kbps
HD 1280 x 720 1500 - 4000kbps
HD1080 1920 x 1080 4000 - 8000kbps
4K 3840 X 2160 8000- 14000kbps

What is a good OBS video bitrate for Twitch?

Thousands of videos are streamed daily on Twitch. To maintain good viewers' experience on its site, they have a set standard video bitrate for their video streamers.

For your videos to stream on Twitch, the best video bitrate to use is 450-6000kbps.

How to change video bitrate with Filmora

To change the bitrate of video files, you can use Wondershare Filmora. It features extensive media format support and a user-friendly interface so that you can change the bitrate of your media files quickly and easily. 

Download Win VersionDownload Mac Version

Here you’ll find detailed instructions on how to change the bitrate of video files. You can also easily change the audio bitrate.

1 Import the video files

Install and run Video Editor. Then click the “Import” button to locate the file you want to change bitrate on your computer and click “Open”. You can also drag-and-drop a file to Video Editor right from the Windows Explorer window.

increase bitrate software

2 Choose the video file

Then drag and drop your video or audio file to the Video or Audio timeline. Click EXPORT and then choose your desired video or audio format. If you want the finished file to play on a mobile device like iPhone, iPad, iPad, Zune, click the Device tab and find the appropriate device in the list of presets.

export video file

3 Change the bitrate of video or audio file

Then click SETTINGS. In the window that opens, you can change audio parameters such as encoder, sample rate, channel, and bitrate and video parameters such as encoder, frame rate, resolution and bitrate. To change the bitrate, just choose the required value from the bitrate list.

how to change bitrate

Tip: If you want to reduce the size of your media files, you can lower the bitrate. But do remember that this will lower the quality. So you should find a balance between size and quality that gives you the best of all worlds. 

If you are interested in more information about this, check out our guide about how to reduce the size of video files.

4 Start exporting your new file

Before launching the exporting process, specify the folder where your new file should be saved. Then click the EXPORT button and Video Editor will start processing your files. When your conversion process is completed, click the Find Target button and the specified folder containing your ready-to-use file will open. 

Then you can transfer the files to your portable device and enjoy your favorite video or music anytime, anywhere!

Besides changing the video bitrate, Filmora provides many other advanced features to help you create the videos you want. Let's have a quick look up.

  • Instant Mode: This feature is for Win users only. You can create a lovely video using this feature by simply importing your media files to Filmora and Filmora will do the rest for you.
  • Speed Ramping: Want to make time flow slower for a certain moment? Speed ramping is here to help. You can adjust the speed up or slow down a certain clip freely.
  • New Blue FX & BorisFX: Use the same stunning effects Hollywood movies used to make your video breath-taking.
  • Stock Media: No need to open a new browser window and search for image/video resource anymore. Filmora has built-in stock media that lets you complete the action in the software.

Download Win VersionDownload Mac Version

author avatar
Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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