Did you know that almost all of the video files that you’re likely to encounter are already compressed? It is rare to run across raw uncompressed video files, mostly because they are simply because they are far too large.
Despite the fact that the videos you encounter are already compressed – in some cases you may want to compress them and reduce their file size further. For example it could help you to save storage space, transfer video files more easily, or adhere to attachment file size limitations for emails.
At first glance ‘compressing’ videos may seem complicated, but in actual fact it is anything but.
Transcode to a Codec with Better Compression
The ‘format’ of your video file consists of two parts: A container and a codec. The codec is the part that determines the type of compression that is used, and so transcoding to a codec that has better compression will help reduce your file size.
In general newer codecs often have better compression rates than older codecs, and are able to compress videos to smaller file sizes while retaining the same quality. For example the H.265 video codec can compress H.264 videos to about half their original file size, without affecting its quality.
That being said the reason why people don’t just always use the ‘newest’ codec available with the best compression rate is because it may not be supported. For example the H.265 codec has only recently started to be supported by more devices, but still is not supported by most browsers which is why H.264 is often preferred.
Simply put this method of compressing a video file is useful and will help you to preserve the quality of the original video. However it is only going to be an option if there is a codec with better compression that is supported by the device you are going to watch the video on.
Reduce the Video Bitrate
The video bitrate is quite literally the amount of data that the video uses each second – and its file size is basically the bitrate multiplied by the video duration (in seconds). Needless to say that means that if you reduce the bitrate, you will effectively compress the video file size and reduce it.
Unfortunately the downside of this approach is that reducing the bitrate will affect the video quality. The optimal bitrate for videos varies depending on their resolution, framerate, and codec – but if it gets too low then various compression artifacts will start to appear.
In short while this is an effective way to reduce your videos to any file size that you require – care must be taken to ensure the quality doesn’t deteriorate too much. Some converters such as Movavi Video Converter will let you reduce the bitrate gradually and preview the results in parts.
All in all you should be starting to understand how you can compress your video files and reduce their file size. As you can see the ‘best’ option will depend on your circumstances, and the device that the video will be viewed on.