MP3 to MP4: Making a simple video with MP3 by adding only ONE image for YouTube

I was able to clip videos out of a longer video but have two newbie questions.
I have a novice question. I could not find the answer to it despite searching the help and tutorials.

My main need is to upload an old music file in MP3 format on YouTube.

Now since youtube allows only a video format, I want to do something very simple:

Take an MP3.
Add ONE JPEG to go with it.
Render it into the LOWEST resolution video format to keep the file size small as I am on a slow internet connection.
My focus is ONLY on the music or speech I want to upload and not on the pic since that is being used only to get around YouTube’s limitations.
So all I want to be able to do is to ensure that the audio quality remains topclass and the image can be just a standard appearance.

Could someone please guide me to a step-by-step method of doing this?

Or just guide me to a tutorial that might already exist? I am sure there is bound to be one but I am doing something silly and not searching right.

Many thanks.

This is done very simply. You need to create two tracks, maybe even both videos (ctrl-i). Place a picture on one of them, a music file on the second, and then on the track with the picture, the length of the picture must be stretched to the length of the musical composition.

Now export. In order to get the minimum size with good quality, make sure you have hardware acceleration turned OFF, as it makes video files in large sizes. Click “advanced” - codec and set the quality below 50% (the lower the number, the worse the quality of the image, choose the one that suits you). There is no point in touching the Audio tab, the sound quality is already good by default.

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The OP probably wants to set the settings to (non-broadcast) 720p @ 25fps as well. (Or even a lower resolution, like 360p (SD): 640x360.

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Thank you so much. This is most generous and kind of you to respond so swiftly.

I am not sure I understand what exactly is meant by creating two tracks as I am a novice user and just downloaded the programme.

Could you please see if I am getting it right? Let me try before sending this comment.

  1. Open the image JPEG
  2. Move it to timeline
  3. Click on Track Operations
  4. Add Audio Tracks
  5. I seem to be doing something wrong here as when I do Insert Tracks, it overwrites.

Thanks, that part about lower resolution seems most helpful. I would be truly grateful for a step by step tutorial on this. This is something I will share widely as I have seen LOTS and LOTS of people having the exact same question and not know where to turn.

I tried the video trimming and deleting function and was very happy with it. I am sure I will learn to get better at that too.

Here is an example of what I explained.

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Oh WOW. Thank you SO much. I am sure even a dummy like me would be able to follow this demo. Thank you once again!

And this needs to be in a pinned tutorial saying something simple like: Using an MP3 on Youtube. You don’t know how many people would be helped by this – it might be a small gesture but a giant leap for novice users!

In the shotcut program, many things are done very simply, for which many people appreciate this application :wink:

By the way, to make a static image not so boring, you can add the “Audio Spectrum Visualization” or “Audio Waveform Visualization” filter to the audio track. This works if the audio track is placed on the VIDEO track and not on the audio track. This forum has examples of how this can be spectacular.

I will look around the forum for and will search for “Audio Spectrum Visualization” or “Audio Waveform Visualization”.

This worked like a charm, after various hiccups on my part, but that was only because of my idiocy.

May I please suggest adding text notes to the above video and placing it in the tutorials. It will be invaluable for many.

Something like this worked for me. But please correct as you think right. I think novices will appreciate handholding as often they do not want to read all the tutorials on how to make a video etc and just want to accomplish one task.

  1. Add the MP3 and the JPEG file you want to use in the playlist.
  2. Go to Timeline menu and click on Add Audio Track.
  3. Go to Timeline menu and click on Add Video Track
  4. Move the MP3 to the playlist. Shift it the left to align it from 0:00
  5. Move the JPEG to the playlist. Take care that this does not overwrite the above [This was happening to me] Shift it to the right to align it from 0:00
  6. Click on the Zoom icon on Timeline and stretch the image to the same time as the audio file.
  7. Now click on Export. Go to Advance Features. Choose Codec to 40%
  8. Export.

I am very happy that I am able to do this on Shotcut. But I continue to face the problem of VERY large files. The experimentation continues to compress them into the smallest size. The best workaround so far for me has been to render MP3 into MP4 using Shotcut as above. And then to convert again in VLC to M4V. That reduces the SIZE by as much as one fifth.

Another easy way I found was to use Add Image to MP3, set album art cover/thumbnail for MP3 audio or create MP4 music video - Online Converter

But that has a limitation of 200 MB for filesize. I think it would be really great if someone has tried various options and figured out the smartest for keeping the file size smallest as only one MP3 and one JPG image are used in this.

What video file size do you want? What are you willing to sacrifice for size? You can lower the video resolution, you can lower the frame rate, you can lower the video bitrate.

Here is an example of a music video I made.
I used the settings as in the screenshots below.
Note that I manually renamed the encoding preset to preset=veryslow, this will give a little more quality, but the encoding will take longer.
The file turned out to be less than 5 megabytes with almost two minutes of video. You can reduce the quality even further, but you may not like the image. If there is a static image without animation throughout the entire video, the quality can be reduced to 25-20. You can experiment with this setting and get better results.


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As I said, the idea is only to share music on youtube.

I know many, many people who just want to do this. We have many MP3s that we want to share with others on YT.

But the only way to do is to share videos on YT.

So let’s say it is one song by Bob Dylan. Now all I want to do is use my MP3 with a picture of Bob Dylan in JPEG in 16 x 9 ratio. Making 1280 x 720 seems to give the best results for YT display.

Only the audio should not be compromised. What quality deterioration can happen with a JPEG that has to be shown from beginning to end?

That is all.

When you say, “Note that I manually renamed the encoding preset to preset=veryslow, this will give a little more quality, but the encoding will take longer.”

Quality of what? Of audio?

“You can reduce the quality even further, but you may not like the image.”

I am not sure what this means.

“f there is a static image without animation throughout the entire video, the quality can be reduced to 25-20.”

Yes, as I have been saying from my first message onwards, there is indeed a static image, just an old JPEG.

What do you mean by “the quality can be reduced to 25-20.”


Thank you so much for your patience. All of this helps.

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Why 200 MB is not enough.

Please enter the parameters of the mp3 file used:

  • (Overall) Bit rate mode,
  • bit rate,
  • sampling rate,
  • File size.
    and the audio codec export settings in Shotcut:
  • sample rate,
  • rate control,
  • Bitrate.

Do you know the source of this mp3 file (audio CD, flac, cda, wav file) and are you sure about the quality of this source.

What are the parameters of the graphic file:

  • file size,
  • image size.

What sizes of exported design do you get from Shotcut.

Can you share the source files (audio, image) and the mlt file of the project.

200 MB was not a reference to Shotcut.

I do not have any ready details to share at the moment. My question is general as I want to arrive at the best optimal settings to use.

I typically have MP3s taken from old CDs or sometimes I may even have an old MP3 the origin of which I do not know.

Regardless of what the MP3 or JPEG size is, surely there MUST be one set of settings. I am specially looking for what to use for:

Video Resolution: [I have tried from 1280 x 720 to 320 x 180 AND for my purposes it makes no difference.

Frames per second: I have tried from 24FPS to 8FPS. Again, since i want to only use ONE STATIC JPEG it should make no difference for my purposes.

Under Codec, I have tried Quality = 20 % and am fine with it

GOP is what I have not understood. I have tried from 300 to 1 and also tried keeping it Fixed.


See ny explanation here: