Introducing 2 export presets for video conferencing, slide decks, and screencasts

Intended usage

The attached export presets are ideal for editing video conference recordings and archiving online education classes. They are optimized for the following types of media:

  • PowerPoint slide decks
  • Screencast recordings
  • Photo slideshows
  • Webcam footage

Quality targets

The priority for these presets is the smallest possible file size while preserving these levels of quality:

  • Text: perfect
  • Speech: excellent
  • Photo/Image: very good
  • Video conference webcam: very good
  • High quality video source: semi-decent
  • Music: very good (mono only)

The goal is to produce a small file that can be presented to professional audiences (meaning clear speech and zero artefacts around text characters) and also support webcam-grade video. To this end, CRF 30 is no longer used. I can explain the new settings if anyone’s interested.

Installation and use

Update: These presets will be preinstalled with Shotcut starting with version 20.06. Download the following files only if using an older version of Shotcut.

Download these two files:

Copy them to this folder:

  • Windows:
    • %LocalAppData%\Meltytech\Shotcut\presets\encode
  • Linux/Mac:
    • ~/.local/share/Meltytech/Shotcut/presets/encode
  • Notes:
    • If the encode folder doesn’t exist, then create it. All lowercase is required.
    • This is the user’s custom presets area, not the Shotcut built-in presets area. The custom path is more stable since the installation root can vary widely by distribution.
    • Once Shotcut 20.06 is released, remove the presets from the custom area so they don’t collide with the built-in versions.

Once copied into the proper folder, rename those two files to remove their .txt extensions. (The extensions were necessary to upload them to the forum.)

Start Shotcut and look for these new export presets:

  • Stock > Slide Deck (H.264)
  • Stock > Slide Deck (HEVC)

Export your video with either preset, but remember… Turn hardware encoding OFF for best results. Using a hardware encoder could cause exported files to be substantially larger than the software encoder.

Encoding time and file size comparison

  • For text-only screen recordings: The file sizes of H.264 and HEVC will generally be within 10% of each other, with HEVC being smaller. The H.264 preset may be favored for its speed. The average bitrate at 1080p is around 1.5 MB per minute, although results will vary depending on content.

  • For recordings with embedded video: HEVC will generally be 30% smaller than H.264.

  • For both cases: The HEVC preset generally takes 2.5x the time of an H.264 encoding. So one hour of H.264 encoding would be 2.5 hours of HEVC encoding. The end results of both are visually similar, so choose a preset based on encoding time or file size preference rather than visual quality.

  • Compared to other presets: The “Slide Deck (H.264)” preset creates files that are around 10% the size of the YouTube preset. The space savings are substantial when applied to recordings of 2-hour class lectures and business meetings.



Update: These presets will be bundled with Shotcut when the next MLT Framework release is ready. Note that the presets will be renamed to “Slide Deck (H.264)” and “Slide Deck (HEVC)” in the official distribution.

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At this time and for the next release the Shotcut builds we provide always use git master of MLT. So, these will be included in version 20.06.

Thanks for this!

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What is the path to copy these to for Linux/Mac installs?

Hi Mike, I have updated the original post to provide a Linux/Mac path. I’ve also updated the files so that they are now identical to the files that will be released with Shotcut 20.06. If you’ve already downloaded the files, please re-download the new versions. Thanks!

I just updated the presets in the original post again to improve audio quality. There were some common scenarios that resulted in poor audio quality with the old settings.

@Mike_Feldman If you downloaded the presets prior to this post, please re-download them again to get the latest changes. Sorry for the inconvenience, this should be the last round!

More details on GitHub if anyone’s interested: