Best Way to Upload HDR Video for YouTube: Detailed Guide

After uploading, the HDR for YouTube videos must have proper HDR metadata to get the HDR badge. Learn the complete process of uploading HDR to YouTube.

With the growth of digital content, YouTube now supports high dynamic range (HDR) videos to allow users to enjoy stunning visuals. HDR videos support high contrast, bright colors, stunning highlights, and realistic images for an incredible entertainment experience. However, most people still wonder if they can watch HDR for YouTube. 


While YouTube HDR video requires the support of HDR-compatible devices for enhanced frames, fortunately, such devices are readily available in the market. Viewers can easily watch HDR videos available on the platform or rent HDR movies for a seamless experience. Let us learn the detailed process and requirements for uploading HDR to YouTube.


Understanding the HDR Video on YouTube


YouTube allows all creators to upload High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos on the platform for higher contrast, more realistic colors, and lifelike frames than standard digital video. This enables the YouTube audience to watch HDR videos on compatible smartphones and HDR TVs. 


To avoid confusion, viewers will see an HDR badge after each quality option in the video player, confirming the HDR quality, such as 1080p HDR. However, the ones watching HDR videos on non-HDR devices will only see the frames as an SDR video. So, regardless of YouTube HDR video, one must have a compatible HDR device to enjoy the stunning and realistic visuals. 


How to Upload HDR Video on YouTube


High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos show more excellent color contrast than standard digital videos, giving the YouTube audience a more immersive visual experience. You can upload an HDR video to YouTube using the YouTube Settings. Just ensure your resolution is set to 1080p and check the YouTube HDR box. In addition, you can change your frame rate from 60 fps to any fps.  Make sure you have an SDR and an HDR version of the same video. YouTube will auto-swap between the two according to your device’s brightness. However, this technique may not always work. 


YouTube prefers videos uploaded in ProRes 422 HQ or Hiro format. HDR videos might need to be converted into gamma color. Ensure encoding it in HEVC quality. At the top of the page, you will find the Upload button. Click it to upload your video file. 

Note: When you upload an HDR video to YouTube, we recommend using a 16-bit ProRes HQ codec. 


  • Open the options menu and set the post-processing of your camera. 
  • Register the required instructions sent by each channel - denoted by a specific color for each channel. 


Note: Currently, YouTube does not support broadcasting HDR content. So, even if you have an HDR video to stream live, it will appear in a standard format with limited color space. 

Set your streaming frame rate to 25 fps or 30 fps. The faster the frame rates, the smoother the videos, especially in clips involving lots of movement. 

Let us see the detailed process of how to upload HDR video on YouTube. 


how to upload HDR video on YouTube.

Step 1: Open YouTube and upload your video. 

Step 2: Tap Advanced in the upload window and ensure the Enable HDR option is checked. 

Step 3: Add your uploaded HDR video to a playlist with the default 320 resolution. 

Step 4: Tap it once uploaded. 

Step 5: Touch the three dots in the upper-right corner. Select Make available for TV. 

Step 6: Click anywhere in the YouTube player or click Enter and save your playlist.

Step 7: You will find the open stereo mode under the playlist menu item. Click the Save button on the screen that appears. 

Step 8: Wait until YouTube uploads your video in a single 360p/480p file per episode in the original resolution. 


Note: You must know that HDR content can be obtained by using video shooting equipment supporting HDR or by upgrading the footage to HDR in post-production. For upscaling  SDR video to HDR, try UniFab HDR Upscaler AI.


Requirements for YouTube HDR Video


Once you upload your video content to YouTube, it will support the resolution and auto-convert HDR videos to SDR if necessary. However, HDR requires special specs and requirements to sync with the platform. The best quality and frame rate for compatibility with YouTube HDR video is 2160p with up to 60 frame rate and H.264 video encoded bit rate.


1. Upload requirements


Check all the upload requirements before uploading HDR to YouTube.


Specifications Requirements 
Required Resolution 2160p, 1440p, 1080p and 720p
Color Primaries Rec. 709 or Rec. 2020
Color MatrixRec. 2020 non-constant luminance
Color Depth10 or 12 bits
Required Frame Rate23.976, 24, 25, 30, 29.97, 48, 50, 59.94, and 60 
Video Bit RateH.264 encoded video bitrate
EOTFPQ or HLG (Rec. 2100)


Note: To get the best results, use UHD rather than DCI widths. For example, you must use 3840 x 1600 instead of 4096 x 1716.


2. HDR Video File Encoding


Here are the MP4 container, MOV container, and MKV requirements.


Formats Encoding Requirements 
MP4 containerH.264 10 bit, VP9 Profile 2, and DNxHR HQX
MOV container or Quick TimeH.264 10 bit, ProRes 422, ProRes 4444, VP9 Profile 2, and DNxHR HQX 
MKVProRes 422, H.264 10 bit, ProRes 4444, VP9 Profile 2, and DNxHR HQX


Let us look at the recommended codecs that support 10-bit encoding with HDR metadata and provide high quality at reasonable bitrates. The other codecs are also supported, but they require high bit rates to achieve high quality, which results in longer upload and processing times. 


Recommended CodecsOther Codecs

VP9 Profile 2



ProRes 422

ProRes 4444


H.264 10-bit


3. HDR MetaData


In a nutshell, first, look at this chart for quick information.


Specifications Requirements 
Transfer Function HLG or PQ
Color Primaries Rec. 2020
Color MatrixRec. 2020 non-constant luminance

You can utilize the YouTube HDR metadata tool to add HDR metadata to your video. What’s important is that the HDR metadata is in the codec or container so it can play back properly on YouTube. Ensure the HDR metadata is tagged with the correct color primaries (Rec. 2020) and color matrix (Rec. 2020 non-constant luminance).


The HDR metadata can quickly be processed with proper transfer functionality with HLG and PQ. The HDR videos using the PQ signaling must contain information about the display it was mastered on, i.e., SMPTE ST 2086 mastering metadata. 


The content brightness should be CEA 861-3 MaxFALL and MaxCLL. The most commonly used HDR mastering display is the Sony BVM-X300. If any of the values above are missing, you can use the values for the Sony BVM-X300 mastering display. 


Alternatively, HDR videos may have dynamic HDR10+ metadata as ITU-T T.35 terminal codes or SEI headers. 


You can use a workflow to grade colors. However, if it does not export standard HDR metadata, you can add HDR metadata to your video using the YouTube HDR metadata tool. But there’s a condition for this tool to work correctly, i.e., your video must be graded using an HDR transfer function. 

Popular Equipment for Shooting HDR Video


Whether you are a professional videographer or a budding filmmaker, you must have HDR video cameras to capture stunning footage. Here’s a list of popular brands' products with cutting-edge cameras to deliver exceptional image quality. 


1. Canon Kit

2. The DGO sensor

3. Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Camera (V2)

4. GY-HM250 12.4MP 4K UHD Camcorder with FHD Live Streaming, 12x Optical Zoom

5. Osmo Action 3 4K Camera Standard Combo

6. Alpha a7 III 24MP UHD 4K Mirrorless Camera with FE 28-70mm Lens

7. XF605 4K UHD 10-Bit Professional Camcorder

8. HC-X2 4K UHD 1" Sensor Professional Camcorder

9. EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera Body

10. Lumix DMC-FZ2500 Digital Point & Shoot Camera


Upgrade SDR Videos to HDR10 and Dolby Vision with UniFab HDR Upscaler AI


While many HDR video cameras exist to record high-quality footage, you may face problems in uploading HDR to YouTube when you do not have the correct video settings. Whether you have an SDR video or need to set the necessary requirements for your YouTube HDR video, UniFab HDR Upscaler AI can help you in all ways for your HDR videos. 


UniFab HDR Upscaler AI helps upgrade SDR videos to HDR10 and Dolby Vision for a better viewing experience. It can easily fine-tune the video parameters, including color saturation and brightness, for each frame to explore more details customized to the content. With its two fantastic color spaces, you can easily set DCI-P3 or Rec. 2020 to meet your device’s specifications and enjoy bright and realistic images.  Also, it offers two video modes, Universal mode and Cinema mode (fast and high quality), to allow you to perceive your video details without discomfort, even in low-light conditions. Cinema mode processes videos more quickly than universal mode and results in a dimmer overall picture effect. The fast model is swifter than the high-quality model but with a slight compromise in quality.

Universal mode and Cinema mode


Additional Features of UniFab HDR Upscaler AI


  • Easily upscale your video footage to Dolby Vision to improve video quality 
  • Upscales to be compatible with your HDR device
  • Various video modes to perceive the footage details even in low-light frames
  • Various color spaces for excellent display effects 
  • Hardware acceleration provides 50 times blazing speed 
  • Assists with crucial trimming to grab everyone's attention 
  • Supports video editing to meet your expectations 
  • Tailor the sound effects in your footage


Step By Step Guide to Upscale SDR Videos to HDR Via UniFab 


Step 1: Launch and open UniFab HDR Upscaler AI


Download the UniFab HDR Upscaler AI program on your Windows computer. Then, enter the HDR Upscaler mode by choosing it from the left pane. 

unifab-hdr upscaler1.jpg


Step 2: Input the source video and adjust the final video settings 

unifab-hdr upscaler3.jpg


Add your video to be upscaled to HDR. Feel free to adjust the output parameters, such as quality and video settings, regarding codec, resolution, frame rate, bit rate, color space, and encoding method. Similarly, select the Audio settings and tap OK. 


Step 3: Edit your video

unifab-hdr upscaler 2.jpg


Tap the Start tab to upscale SDR video to HDR. With the GPU acceleration, Unifab HDR Upscaler AI will quickly complete the task.  


The Final Wrap


We hope this article has given you brief highlights on HDR for YouTube. HDR enables viewing high-quality content on YouTube Premium. However, to view YouTube HDR video, ensure you have a 4K TV with HDR, an HDR-compatible smartphone, or Chromecast Ultra. Also, ensure you have enough storage space to save the HDR video. 


Before uploading HDR to YouTube, set the necessary parameters and requirements using UniFab HDR Upscaler AI. In addition to upscaling your videos to HDR, it helps set the required color spaces, encoding method, frame rate, bit rate, and codec to meet your video’s demands.




Q. Does YouTube support HDR?


Yes, any creator can upload High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos to YouTube. YouTube supports all resolutions and auto-converts HDR videos to SDR videos when required. You can also use 10-bit to upload certain HDR to YouTube.


Q. How can I find and watch YouTube videos in HDR?


If you see an HDR badge on your video, you can watch your HDR video on YouTube on an HDR playback device like a mobile, TV, or Gaming Console. Here’s how. 


  • Mobile users: The Chromecast Ultra allows you to watch HDR videos on YouTube.
  • TV users: You can watch YouTube HDR videos on Samsung, Hi-sense, LG, Panasonic, Vizio, TCL, and Sony.
  • Gaming Console: Use Sony’s PS4 PRO to watch YouTube HDR videos.


Q. How can I play YouTube videos in HDR? 


You can choose the quality under the YouTube player Settings and play any video in HDR. Here’s how. 


Step 1: Open the YouTube player Settings.

Step 2: Choose a video with outdated compatibility. 

Step 3: Move to the Quality section on your screen’s bottom-right corner.

Step 4: Choose Computer - MP4. 

Step 5: Select YouTube original quality.

Step 6: Move down to the Quality drop-down list and choose 1080p 60 fps > 360p 30 fps.

Step 7: Tap Play and wait until your video file loads on the YouTube player. 

As an avid enthusiast of software testing, AI, and tech, I bring a fervent zeal for precision and innovation to my editorials. With a love for ping pong and badminton, and a passion for exploring new horizons through travel, I live by the maxim "Done is good." My articles aim to serve as your trusty compass in the fast-evolving tech landscape.