Video tutorial: Understanding the critical H.264 encoding options

This short (under 10-minute) PowerPoint-based tutorial details how to configure the most important H.264 encoding parameters (profiles, levels, entropy encoding and b-frames), discusses why H.264 encoding quality varies by encoding tool and identifies which tools produce the best quality. It's the entry level information that I provide in most H.264 encoding lectures and useful to anyone producing H.264 videos with tools like Sorenson Squeeze, Adobe Media Encoder, Apple Compressor and Telestream Episode Pro.

The video compliments the application specific videos available on, which detail how to configure options like CABAC and b-frames in different encoding tools, but don't discuss why. This tutorial details the pros and cons of each configuration option, and tells you when and why to use it.

H264 overview

Comments (7)

Said this on 06/30/2009 At 03:56 am
What about framerate setting ?
I'm still confused when I need to set its value. Do I have to pick the same value than source ? Is it so critical for computer playback ?
Thank you.
Jan Ozer
Said this on 06/30/2009 At 08:33 am
I didn't cover that here because it's not H.264 specific. This snippet is from the From the streamingmedia primer (search for primer and it will come right up):

"Most video starts life at 29.97 or 24 frames per second (fps). Usually, producers who shoot at 24 fps deliver at that rate, while many producers that shoot at 29.97 fps deliver at 15 fps to save bandwidth. Though, in concept, it feels like dropping the frame rate by 50% would also drop the data rate by 50% with no loss in quality, it seldom works this way.

Rather, according to the research that I’ve performed, the average data rate of video produced at 15 fps is about 20% lower than that produced at 30fps, not 50%. Still a substantial reduction, but often that comes at a subtle quality cost.

For example, when considering 15 fps, note that high motion video will look noticeably choppy to many viewers. In addition, tight facial shots, where lip synch is critical, often a look a bit out of sorts at 15 fps as well. When deciding which frame rate to use for your video, you should produce video at full frame rate and the lower rate, and then compare to see which delivers the best overall presentation."

Hope this helps; it not, let me know.
Said this on 03/25/2010 At 12:17 am

Dear sir,

May i get avi to H.264 conversion source code .........

please reply me


Said this on 07/29/2010 At 02:30 am

i just want to know how they named as H.264?

Said this on 01/17/2013 At 05:17 pm

I just wanted to say thank you for that. I've been making various files for years and usually went to presets and started tweaking from there.  Now I'll have a much better idea of what to actually do. Plus I was always confussed about the realtionship between mp4 and h264, now I know. Very informative and put together coherently.

Again, thank you.


Said this on 01/17/2013 At 05:39 pm

You're welcome, I'm glad you found it helpful. Thanks for taking the time to share your positive thoughts.

Said this on 03/06/2013 At 11:53 pm

CABAC algorithm  video lecture is needed.

if u have please forward it


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