A Guide to Preparing and Uploading Video to Vimeo

Prep and share your videos with your audience

Vimeo is a video-sharing website that caters to more artsy creators than a massive video repository like YouTube. Hobbyists and professionals alike use Vimeo to share their work and reach their target audiences. Here's a look at Vimeo's video compression guidelines and other facts you need to know to prepare and upload your video to Vimeo.

Vimeo website homepage
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About Vimeo Memberships

Before you upload a video to Vimeo, you'll need to join the service. Vimeo has several membership tiers that are sure to fit the needs of any creator.

Basic Membership

Vimeo's free Basic membership plan gives users 500MB of free upload space weekly with a 5GB video storage cap. It features SD and 720p HD playback. This tier includes basic analytics, embedding features, privacy controls, and more. Upload up to 10 videos per day.

Plus Membership

If you're a more advanced creator shooting videos in full HD, you may prefer Vimeo's Plus membership. For $7 per month (billed annually), you get 5GB of weekly storage space, instant video conversions, customization controls, unlimited groups and channels, the ability to choose where your video is embedded, and more. Vimeo Plus is a great option for hosting videos for your portfolio, project, or personal website.

This storage limit restarts every week, so you can upload a new project or clip every seven days if you run out of space.

Pro Membership

If you're a creative professional and need even more storage capacity for your endeavors, Vimeo offers a Pro upgrade that features 20GB of weekly storage space, unlimited video plays, and HD 1080p video. Add your own brand to your videos and site without the Vimeo logo, and enjoy advanced controls for video playback. Vimeo Pro is $20 per month billed annually.

The Pro membership doesn't offer a monthly subscription because Vimeo sees this tier as suitable for long-term projects only.

Prepare Your Video for Vimeo

No matter what membership tier you have, you'll need to prepare your videos for Vimeo before uploading them to maximize storage space and make sure they play smoothly. This involves exporting and compressing your videos and following Vimeo's upload settings.

File Formats

Vimeo accepts a wide range of video file formats, including MP4, MOV, WMV, AVI, and FLV. You can't upload a non-video format, such as a JPEG, WAV, or PNG. If you upload an unsupported file type, you'll get an "invalid file" message.

Compression

Vimeo recommends uploading compressed files to save on storage space and maximize how your videos look. Your video-editing software, such as Final Cut, Adobe Premiere Pro, or iMovie, will easily be able to compress your videos.

Codecs

Codecs are formats by which videos are encoded. The idea is to create the best quality video with the smallest file size. Vimeo recommends using the H.264 video encoder. This is an open-source codec, so most editing programs should support it.

Vimeo also supports and recommends Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and H.265, also called High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).

Frame Rate

Your video's frame rate represents how frequently your image frames appear on a display. Vimeo recommends a constant frame rate instead of a variable frame rate and advises keeping your video's native frame rate. If your video frame rate goes over 60 frames per second (FPS), Vimeo will reduce it.

Bit Rate

A video's bit rate has a lot to do with its visual quality. Vimeo recommends limiting your bit rate to 2,000-5,000 Kbps for SD, and 5,000-10,000 Kbps for 720p HD video. Limiting the bit rate means limiting the amount of information transmitted every second your video is playing. Scaling back your bit rate to Vimeo's specifications will ensure smooth playback for your audience.

Vimeo supports constant frame rates of 24, 25, or 30 (or 29.97) frames per second. If your video was shot at a higher frame, divide that frame rate by two and compress accordingly.

Resolution

Your video's resolution can vary, but most videos will fit a standard definition (SD) resolution of 640 x 480 (4:3 aspect ratio) or 640 x 360 (16:9 aspect ratio), 720p HD resolution of 1280 x 720 (16:9 aspect ratio), or a 1080p HD resolution of 1920 × 1080 (16:9 aspect ratio).

Audio

Vimeo recommends two-channel stereo audio. The audio for your project should use the AAC-LC audio codec, and the data rate should be limited to 320 Kbps. The sample rate for your audio should be 48 kHz. If your project's audio is less than 48 kHz, leave it at its current sample rate.

Exporting Your Video

Vimeo makes it easy to export your video to its specifications. If you're using one of the most common types of video-editing software, Vimeo offers detailed, clear tutorials on preparing your video using Final Cut 10.4.6, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Compressor 4.4.4 and later, iMovie, Microsoft PowerPoint, AVID MediaComposer, HandBrake, Final Cut Pro 7, and Compressor 4.4.1.

Consider exporting two copies from your video editor, one that matches the sequence settings you used to edit, and one that matches Vimeo's upload specifications.

Upload Your Video to Vimeo

Once your video is prepared and ready for Vimeo, here's how to upload it to the video-sharing platform.

  1. Navigate to Vimeo.com and select Log in.

    Navigate to Vimeo.com and select Log in.
  2. Log in to your Vimeo account.

    Log in to your Vimeo account.
  3. Select Upload a Video.

    Select Upload a Video.
  4. Drag your video into the window or select Or choose files.

    Drag your video into the window or select Or choose files.
  5. Find your video and select Open.

    Find your video and select Open.
  6. The video will begin uploading.

    Vimeo video uploading screen.

    You can also upload bulk videos via Dropbox or Google Drive.

  7. Fill in the fields, including title, description, language, etc., and then select Save.

    Fill in the fields, including title, description, language, etc., and then select Save.
  8. You've uploaded your video to Vimeo.