Best Ways to Compress a Video and Reduce Its File Size

If you want to make your video file sizes more manageable so that they can be transferred more easily and don’t take up as much space – you need to compress them. To be completely honest most video files are already compressed, so what you actually need to do is compress them more.

The good news is that you can certainly do that – provided you know how. While there are several options that you can use, the best ways to compress a video are to:

Convert to a Codec With More Efficient Compression

Every video is compressed with a codec that encodes its data using algorithms to store it more efficiently. Some codecs are more effective than others, and have more efficient compression.

In practice what this means is that if you use a codec with more efficient compression, you can reduce the file size of your video without affecting its quality. For all intents and purposes it will look exactly the same – just with a smaller file size.

As a general rule, newer codecs have better and more efficient compression than older ones – especially among the popular codecs. For example the current most popular codec is H.264, but its successor HEVC (H.265) can reduce the file size of H.264 videos by up to 50% while maintaining the same relative quality.

It should be noted that newer codecs take time to be adopted, and so they may not be as compatible as older codecs – which is why H.264 is still widely used compared to H.265.

Adjust the Video Bitrate

The other highly-effective way to reduce the file size of your video is to reduce its bitrate. That will directly reduce the amount of data the video uses each second, and its file size by a corresponding amount.

While you will have more freedom to reduce the video file size using this method – it will affect the video quality. The lower the video bitrate, the more the quality will deteriorate and compression artifacts will start to appear.

In short while this is a very effective way to reduce the file size to be as small as you want it to be – it needs to be used carefully, or the video could very well end up unwatchable.

Final Words

To compress your video using either of these methods you’ll need a video converter. For example you could try Movavi Video Converter and use it to convert MOV to AVI with H.264 or MP4 with H.265.

Overall it is best to first try converting the codec – provided it is an option. For older video files they should be at least encoded in H.264, or better yet H.265 if the device they’ll be watched on is compatible.

Subsequently if you need to reduce the file size further, you can start to adjust the bitrate gradually. Try to find an acceptable balance between the file size and video quality, though that may involve compromising on both.

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