Settings for YouTube and Vimeo Publish in ScreenFlow

One of the nice time savers in ScreenFlow is the ability to publish directly to YouTube or Vimeo from the timeline. This takes the guesswork out of trying to decide what formats, data rate, size and frame rate you should use for optimal quality.

I’ve often been asked what settings are used ‘behind the scenes’ in the publish feature. So for those of you wondering, here they are.

ScreenFlow exports a H.264 movie with the following settings:


  • 720p : 1280×720 @ 30 fps (3,000 kb datarate)
  • 1080p : 1920×1080 @ 30 fps (5,000 kb datarate)
  • SD : 640x(aspect ratio adjusted height) @ 30 fps (2,000 kb data rate)


  • 720p : 1280×720 @ 30 fps (3,000 kb datarate)
  • SD : 640x(aspect ratio adjusted height) @ 30 fps (2,000 kb data rate)

If you export from another program you can use these settings to make sure you get great-looking videos on YouTube and Vimeo.


  1. The most important aspect is datarate. 3,000 kb for 720p is a good compromise to start with. We export at a slightly higher datarate (3,200 kb) for fast sequence videos, and at around 2,500 kb for slow sequence movies. There’s an excellent book by Jan Ozer called “Video Compression for Flash, Apple Devices and HTML5” that describes why the datarate is most important parameter in video compression and outlines the formulaic approach for choosing the best datarate. I can highly recommend it

    • Lynn Elliott

      Thanks Veit, that’s great information. Jan Ozer knows his stuff – and compression is a complicated art & science. For anyone interested in digging deeper, I would definitely recommend his book that Veit mentions. We also recently sponsored a webinar he hosted, “Video Compression for iDevices“, which you can watch for free on our site. (Scroll to the bottom under the heading “Third-party Tutorials & Webinars”).

  2. I think that there is a bit of a problem with the Vimeo HD settings in Screenflow. If I record my screen at 1280 x 800 and then use the publish to Vimeo menu option in screenflow it actually creates and uploads a 1152 x 720 video file (this is 10% reduction on both sides from the original size).

    The problem is that Vimeo looks for the horizontal (1280) size to consider it to be HD. When I upload a 1280×800 version it plays as HD fine, therefore I think that the screenflow settings are wrong. They seem to base the HD settings on the vertical (720) rather than the 1280.

  3. Hi,

    When i upload a hd screen cast using the publish to vimeo option it looks like it using 640 and looks terrible in vimeo on full screen? Solution is to export at 100% and then upload. Is this what is bing fixed with the new version?


  4. Jan


    Thanks for this. Good stuff.

    But for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to set the data rate. I’ve read that for Vimeo HD, you recommend something like 5000kbps data rate, but the Customize option only allows us to “restrict to”…and the resulting file doesn’t come anywhere close.

    Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks in advance.


    • Lynn Elliott

      HI Jan,
      Thanks for your comment. Please note that since I wrote this blog post, we have introduced ScreenFlow 3, which has automatic publish to Vimeo directly from the ScreenFlow timeline. This published your video at the recommended settings from Vimeo.

      Secondly, I wouldn’t worry so much about exact data rate especially if your video looks good. How does your video look? You should set the data rate based on the highest quality rendition you want to deliver. When ScreenFlow exports your source video, the file can’t be any higher quality than the source you provide. If you’re using imported video, there’s not much point in uploading a file with an excessively high data rate. The higher the data rate, the larger the resulting file, and very large file sizes result in increased upload and transcode times. If you are not using the Publish feature, if you set your maximum data rate to 5000 kbps, it should result in high quality videos.

  5. Jacob

    I have encountered an issue that the publish button when trying to export to youtube was grayed out. If anyone has this problem here is the fix type a bunch of stuff in the tags like: asdasd, asdasda, asdasd, asdasd,asdad and it should u grey then delete the tags. This worked for me and i hope it worked for you.

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