Periscope Video Quality

I love Periscope.  I watch video, interact, and broadcast (called “scoping”) for a variety of purposes.  Most recently, I’ve used it at church and at the MAA Southeast Section Conference.

When I set the app to locally store the video, I then upload my session’s video to YouTube for permanent storage.  However, I’m not always impressed with the Periscope video quality.

Periscope Video Quality

I uploaded the locally stored video to my computer and ran

ffmpeg -i video_file_name.mp4

to determine the video quality.  Here’s what I found out.

In the mp4 container, the video uses the h.264 codec.  Resolution is 320×568 at 29.96 FPS.  The bitrate is 561 kbits/sec (70.13 kilobytes per second).

Audio is mono aac at 44100 Hz.  The bitrate for the audio is 65kbps.  This is slightly more than 8 KBps.

According to this Wikipedia article,  the audio quality is better than standard voice audio.  Similarly, the video is roughly akin to 320p YouTube video.

Maximize Your Video/Audio Production

If you’re broadcasting on Periscope, then it only makes sense that you should maximize your production effort.  Here are some pointers:

  1. Get a tripod.  Your tripod choice will be impacted by how you plan to record video.  If you’re going to be outside, buy a traditional tripod and get the smartphone/tablet adapter with a quick clip.  If you’re only going to be recording inside, get a desk tripod.
  2. Get a lavalier microphone.  Since audio quality is poor, you have to transmit the best audio possible.  A wired lavalier microphone will get the best audio imaginable to your phone.
  3. Get a bluetooth keyboard.  If you’re trying to create good video (the limitations won’t support lots of vibration) the typing on the screen with your fingers or thumbs will create lots of unnecessary motion in the image and I’d bet that the microphone will pick up your screen taps. Try for one with relatively silent keys.
  4. Use good lighting.  Don’t be in a super dark room; don’t be in a blinding space.  Use multiple lights (to avoid shadows) that won’t make you squint or sweat.
  5. Ensure that you have a strong network connection.  If you’re a Periscope broadcaster, upload speeds are your primary concern. If you’re using one of the major mobile carriers and are in an area with strong reception, then I’d bet that your home/work/school network cannot match the sheer upload/downloads speeds of your high-speed mobile network.  However, if data overages are a concern, don’t use it.  Use an app like Speedtest to test your up and download speeds.  Be more particular about finding locations with strong upload speeds from which you should scope.


According to, Periscope has over 10 million users.    In other words, this tool has enough of a following to warrant investigation.

In the end, you’ve got low-quality audio/video that is being broadcasted.  Do your best to make it better, be creative, and see where this new medium takes you.


If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!  Please take some time and share the review and/or subscribe to the blog or my YouTube channel. Thanks!

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