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How to Compress Video for Optimal Storage and Playback

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Whether it's for social media, email, or just to free up some storage space, compressing video files is a skill that's useful to everyone. Unfortunately,...

Whether it's for social media, email, or just to free up some storage space, compressing video files is a skill that's useful to everyone. Unfortunately, large video files can be cumbersome and difficult to handle. This tutorial is all about how to compress video and reduce the file size without losing quality.

Why Compress Video Files?

Video file size is determined by several factors including its duration, video resolution, bitrate, and the codec used for encoding. High-resolution videos, with more pixels and higher bitrate, result in larger file sizes. By compressing the video, we reduce these parameters, leading to a smaller file size.

But does compressing a video reduce its size? Yes, it does. However, the main challenge is to balance the compression settings to avoid a noticeable loss of video quality.

How to Reduce the Resolution of a Video?

Reducing the resolution of a video essentially means decreasing the number of pixels displayed, thus shrinking the file size. Here are general steps to do this:

  1. Open your video editing or compression tool. This could be any of the software or apps listed above like VLC, Handbrake, or iMovie.
  2. Import or open the video you want to reduce the resolution of.
  3. Locate the video resolution or video quality settings. This might be under 'Settings,' 'Preferences,' 'Video,' or similar, depending on the software.
  4. Select a lower resolution than the original one. For example, if the video is 1080p, you could reduce it to 720p or 480p.
  5. Save or export the video with the new resolution settings. Your video file size should now be smaller.

How to Reduce the Size of an MP4?

To reduce the size of an MP4 video, you can use a video compressor or converter like Handbrake or VLC. Here are general steps:

  1. Open your video compression tool.
  2. Import the MP4 video file.
  3. Choose the output format as MP4.
  4. Adjust the bitrate and resolution settings to reduce file size.
  5. Click on 'Start' or 'Convert' to begin the compression process.

Does Compressing a Video Reduce Size?

Yes, compressing a video does reduce its size. Compression works by encoding the video data more efficiently, thereby reducing the file size. However, it's important to strike a balance between file size and video quality, as over-compression can lead to noticeable quality loss.

How to Reduce the Size of a Video that is Too Big?

The best way to reduce the size of a video depends on the specific requirements of the video. If maintaining quality is not crucial, then reducing resolution, lowering bitrate, and changing frame rate could be the best options. If quality needs to be preserved, using a more efficient codec or a lossless compression method might be more suitable.

If a video is too large, it can be reduced in size through various methods such as:

  1. Lowering the resolution: As mentioned, reducing the number of pixels in the video can greatly decrease its file size.
  2. Changing the frame rate: A lower frame rate can also reduce the video size, although it can affect the smoothness of playback.
  3. Reducing the bitrate: The bitrate, which determines how much data is processed in a given amount of time, can be lowered to decrease file size.
  4. Using a different codec: Some codecs are more efficient than others in terms of compression.

What File Size Should I Aim For?

The target file size depends on your specific needs. If you're sharing the video via email or social media, smaller sizes (a few hundred MBs or less) are typically more suitable. For professional use or archiving, larger file sizes might be acceptable to maintain higher quality.

How to Compress a Video to a Smaller Size?

To compress a video to a smaller size, follow these steps:

  1. Open your video compressor or converter tool.
  2. Import or open the video you want to compress.
  3. Locate the video quality or bitrate settings.
  4. Lower these settings as needed. The lower the bitrate or quality, the smaller the file size.
  5. Save or export the video. The file size should now be smaller.

Remember that it's crucial to find a balance between the size and the quality when compressing a video. Compressing too much might lead to quality loss.

Top 8 Software/Apps to Compress Video Files

Compressing video files can be done using a variety of tools available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Here are the top 8 software and apps that you can use:

  1. Handbrake: This is an open-source video converter available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It allows you to customize the video resolution, frame rate, and bitrate.
  2. VLC Media Player: Beyond being a video player, VLC can convert video files to different formats, resize them, and adjust their bitrate.
  3. iMovie: Available for MacOS and iOS, this is an Apple's video editor that has a video compression feature. It allows you to export as different video formats.
  4. QuickTime Player: This player for MacOS allows you to resize, trim, and compress MOV files.
  5. Adobe Premiere Pro: A powerful video editor for Windows and MacOS, Premiere Pro has advanced compression options and supports a variety of file formats.
  6. Video Compress - Shrink Vids: This iPhone app allows you to compress videos right from your device. It's available in the App Store.
  7. Media Converter for Android: This app converts and compresses videos into different formats like MKV, WMV, AVI, etc.
  8. Online Video Compressor: An online tool that supports various video formats and provides customizable compression settings.

Video compression is a handy skill that saves storage space and makes video sharing easier. With the right tools and settings, you can reduce the size of your videos without significant quality loss.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.