The size of your videos can take up a lot of space on your devices, as you’ve probably discovered. Instead of taking drastic measures, like deleting your videos, you can simply compress video files (without quality loss!) and save them from going to the bin. Not only will you clear space, but you can make life easier when you need to send off videos via email or upload your videos to a hosting platform.
Curious about how to compress a video without losing quality on your larger video files? Today, we’ll take a look into that very question.
What Does It Mean to Compress a Video?
You’ll likely find a lot of technical terms out in the ether, but in laymen’s terms, video compression is simply about making a video smaller so it doesn’t bog down your upload/download process.
Again, there are a lot of “tech specs” that go into reducing the video file size, for example, bitrate (aka the amount of data used by each video file), format, and video resolution. Resolution refers to how many pixels are in your video – these are the horizontal and vertical numbers you see everywhere. How do you know which to use? Especially when every iPhone iOS and Android differ in terms of screen size, pixel density, and resolution.
When it comes to social media, Instagram is famous for its altered video quality. So if you’re uploading a video and don’t want to compress it, make sure your videos are sized appropriately:
- Square: 1080 by 1080px
- Portrait: 1080 by 1350px
- Landscape: 1080 by 608px
The recommended size for Facebool is 1280px by 720px and YouTube videos are 1920px by 1080px.
For more information on aspect ratios, you can check out our blog. But for now, we’ll get back to video compression...
What Are the Benefits of Compressing Videos?
- For starters, video compression reduces the video to a smaller file size, which frees up lots of room.
- If you need to send a lot of videos via email, problem solved! No need to worry about the size of a video anymore.
- If you have large video files, some sites have limitations on file size. Video compression is a workaround without compromising quality.
How to Compress a Video?
Now onto the million-dollar question… how do you compress a video?
If you’re a Mac user, you have a video compression tool at your disposal. That’s right, to make your video smaller you can use the Quicktime media player.
Simply open up the app, click on File > Open File and choose the video you wish to compress.
Then, click File > Export As and choose from 1080p, 720p, and 480p.
Just a heads up, Quicktime does have a downside. If you need to edit your video to crop and resize, you’ll need another app. Still, it’s not a bad option for having this at your fingertips if you simply want to compress your video.
How to Compress a Video Without Downloading New Software
Don’t have the room to download another program to your computer? No problem! There are web-based programs you can use for both Windows and Apple computers. Like anything else, you’ll come across some that are free to use (but may leave you with a watermark) or others that might ask for a small monthly free. In any case, we’ll list a few to start you off.
Veed is an easy-to-use web-based program to compress your video. This supports a range of file types:
- MPEG-4 (aka MP4 – the most widely used video file format that’s compatible with most platforms)
One of the greatest features of this Video Compressor is that it estimates the file size before you even click compress. This is great for those who need to compress videos to make them small enough to add as an e-mail attachment (or send through a messaging service that restricts the file size).
Bonus: You can sync up your Dropbox if that’s where you keep your videos.
Another free web-based application you may come across is VideoSmaller. Depending on your needs, this could be helpful, but there are limitations.
As with VEED, VideoSmaller supports the same types of video formats (MP4, AVI, and MOV). But VideoSmaller has size limits, only supporting the upload of videos up to 500 MB in size.
You get two compression options with VideoSmaller – reducing the size and using a low compression.
A few things to consider:
- You’ll get a better-quality video by using a low compression level, but the video size won’t be reduced as much as it would with standard compression.
- When it comes to scaling down, yes, you’ll adjust the size the quality will likely suffer.
There is always an option to remove the audio from your video to save on space, but then you’re obviously left without any sound. But, hey! Not all videos need sound, so that may be fine depending on what you are creating the video for.
How to Compress a Video Using Software
If you don't like web-based programs or don't have the bandwidth, VLC can be downloaded to Windows, Mac, and even Linux.
- After you have downloaded and installed VLC, click Media > Convert/Save (Or use the cmd+shift+S keyboard shortcut).
- Click Add, then select a video file.
- To view conversion options, click Convert/Save. Choose the type of conversion from the Profile dropdown.
In VLC, file sizes aren’t displayed in estimates, so you’ll have to guesstimate which level of conversion to use (but VLC offers recommendations depending upon the type of video!).
Additionally, you can change the resolution of the video to further reduce video file size. If you want to do this, simply click the Settings button just above the Profile drop-down menu, then click the Resolution tab. By using the scale feature, you can maintain the proportion of the video, or you can change the video size manually. To watch the video playback, click Save and start once you're done.
You can always do a bit of video editing to reduce the size of your video directly from your smartphone without losing the high quality. You can edit videos by trimming the beginning or end to make them shorter (if possible!) and remove the audio from your HD video. Or as you’ve seen in this article, there are programs out there with the functionality you want. You’ll just need to do a bit of research to find one that suits you.
Have a video project you’d like to discuss? Contact Levitate Media for a free video strategy session to get off on the right foot!