In this article, we will talk about how to prepare a high-quality video, shot in high resolution, for sending to the network or to any device (for example, iPhone or iPad) without losing quality, talk about audio and video formats, and also talk about convenient tools who are capable of these tasks.
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We live in a high-tech world in which almost any device, be it a DSLR camera, GoPro or even a smartphone, can shoot high-quality, high-definition video. This is definitely great except for one drawback – the size of these files.
Storing and moving such content is a real pain, because the size of data in everyday life is no longer even calculated in gigabytes, but in terabytes. And when it comes to uploading files to the network or transferring to mobile devices, then get ready to go through a considerable number of converters and spend a good part of the day looking for an acceptable tool and profile. We are happy to help you in this matter.
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What determines the size of a video file?
Compression can be used to transcode a video by specifying certain processing settings. The size of a video file depends on its resolution, frame rate, and several encoding parameters such as audio and video bitrate. But you need to understand that changing these parameters can significantly affect the quality of the picture. In fact, compression while preserving the original quality can only be obtained by reducing the bitrate. And if the video is not particularly dynamic, then you can try to lower the frame rate as well.
It will help to change the video and change its resolution, but it will definitely affect the picture quality, and not for the better. But this approach is also justified if the video needs to be adapted for those devices that, in principle, do not support high resolution and cannot display it. But reducing the audio bitrate will practically not affect the final result, so this parameter can be left unchanged.
When choosing a video compression ratio, you need to focus on its resolution. The higher it is, the more bitrate you need. It is advisable to choose the following parameters as a guideline:
- For 4K video – 35-50 Mbps;
- For 2K video – 16-24 Mbps;
- For Full HD – 8-12 Mbps;
- For HD – 5-7.5 Mbps.
Compressing a video file can significantly reduce its size, sometimes even by 50-80%. And with a higher compression, the picture quality will begin to deteriorate.
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Free video compression software
If you have a question about converting video files, then you definitely need a computer (not a smartphone or tablet). Handbrake is a very powerful, free and, most importantly, cross-platform utility (macOS, Windows, Linux) that will perfectly cope with this task. Of course, if you want something less sophisticated, you can use some Freemake Video Converter or FFmpeg, which also proved to be excellent, but in this article we will perform the conversion via Handbrake.
Download Handbrake for macOS, Windows or Linux (developer’s official site)…
Launch the application and select a video, and only then we begin to understand the jungle of numerous settings.
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1. Start with audio
Before working with video, let’s take a look at audio. After the lines Original file, Heading and Preset there is an area of deep settings with tabs. Now we are interested in Audio… You will be surprised, but high-quality sound takes up quite a lot of disk space.
- Make sure the video contains no more than one audio file. A high-quality video (especially if it’s some kind of Blueray license) can have several audio tracks (channels) in different languages. Leave the one with priority, and delete the rest by selecting the option “Nothing“. This is done in the column Track…
- Select AAC (CoreAudio) or MP3 in the Codec column. These are the so-called lossy coding formats, in which the audio is of a fairly high quality and relatively low weight.
- In the “Bitrate” column, select “160” for most videos. If audio is very important, then you can set a higher bit rate (256 or 320). But generally 160 is enough.
P. S .: Please do not confuse the “Bitrate” and “Sample Rate” columns. The second one is always recommended to be left in “Auto”.
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2. Choose the best container and codec
If the video will be uploaded to video hosting sites like YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook, select MP4 as a container in the line Format tabs Summary…
Codecs are configured in the “Video” tab.
Choose H.264 or H.265 if you are working with high quality, high definition video. MPEG-4 will perform compression and the quality will drop slightly.
ATTENTION! Never change the Frame Rate (FPS) value.
FPS (Frames per second) – the number of frames per second. It is believed that for comfortable viewing of video, it is enough to have a recording with FPS fluctuating around 24-30 frames per second. It is logical to assume that it is possible to reduce the FPS with the 60 recorded by the camera to values acceptable to the eye, thereby supposedly achieving a smaller size without loss of quality (as if it were a resolution).
In fact, absolutely all video hosting sites, guides and experts do not recommend changing the number of FPS that was recorded by the camera. Reducing the number of frames will make dynamic scenes choppy and unnatural.
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3. Decrease the resolution
It’s cool if your device can shoot video in 4K resolution, but not every monitor or TV supports it. The most popular resolution is HD or Full HD TV. Resolution is one of the most important components in reducing the size of a video file without degrading quality.
List of the most popular resolutions:
- 2160p (3840×2160);
- 1440p (2560 x 1440);
- 1080p (1920 × 1080);
- 720p (1280 × 720);
- 480p (854 × 480);
- 360p (640 × 360);
- 240p (426 × 240).
In Handbrake, the resolution setting is done in the menu “Dimensions (edit)“.
Conveniently, the new window has a button “Preview“, Which allows you to look at the final resolution of the file in the window before converting.
For YouTube or Facebook, the optimal resolution is 720p, although the same YouTube perfectly supports 4K.
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Let’s start with a little educational program. Bitrate is the number of bits used to store one second of multimedia content. In our case, the bitrate expresses the degree of compression of the stream. The whole thing is measured in kilobits or megabits (mainly for video) per second. The higher the bitrate, the better the video quality.
Many DSLR cameras and other devices shoot video in a higher bitrate than video hosting can transmit. For example, below are the recommended bitrate requirements based on the video resolution for YouTube:
It is not recommended to make the bitrate lower than these values. Otherwise, quality will suffer. But if the bitrate is higher than these values, then you can reduce it.
This can be done in the “Video“By checking the box”Average bitrate”And indicating an acceptable value. Be sure to check the box “2-pass encoding“.
To start converting video, click the button “Start”… With this step-by-step guide and clever Handbrake settings, you will be able to reduce the size of the final file without losing quality.
If desired, the encoding process can be stopped with the Stop button. You can watch the progress at the bottom of the program window.
The difference in size will greatly depend on the device or service on which the video will run.
Having worked in such a program, you can save a lot on the purchase of devices and drives with less memory. You look, 64 GB iPad instead of 256 GB or 512 GB modification is already enough for a rich film library.
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This media player quickly gained popularity among users. The application was open source, and its omnivorous nature made the player truly unique. VLC was free to use on any platform, including mobile. But not everyone knows that in addition to simple content playback, the application has many related tools, including video editing. There is also a conversion function that allows you to compress the clips.
1. Download the VLC app from the official website. Launch the media player and then go to the menu File → Convert / transfer.
2. Drag the video you want to the application window.
3. Select the Video profile – H.264 (MP4) for it. Press “Tune”…
4. On the tab “Video codec” set the bitrate to 6,000 – 8,000 kbps, click Apply… The rest of the parameters can be left alone.
5. Now press “Save as file”, and then “Overview” and specify the location to save the new file. Click on “Save”…
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How to compress video online for free: popular services
The obvious advantages of this service are simplicity and no fees. And although the service does not offer the user any settings, but decides for himself how to compress the video, the result is excellent. At the same time, the quality does not suffer especially. The service processes files up to 500 MB, while there are no more restrictions
1. Open the website of the online converter YourCompress in any browser.
2. Click on “Select a file…”… In the explorer window, select the clip to edit.
3. Press the blue button “Download and compress file”…
4. After the conversion is complete, click the button “Download”… Next to it, it will be indicated how much the file has decreased in absolute and percentage terms relative to the original.
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123Apps Video Converter
This online tool will also not please with the number of settings. But at least, unlike YourCompress, it gives the user the opportunity to choose the final video resolution and codecs, to estimate the approximate size of the result. In free mode, you can work with videos up to 1 GB.
1. Open the 123Apps Video Converter service page in a browser, click the “Open File” button to select a video.
2. Select MP4 as the format, but the resolution can be left the same if you do not know exactly how you want to see it.
3. Click on “Settings”… Using the slider, you can change the final video size, as well as select a different audio / video codec.
4. Click on “Convert” to start the process. Wait for it to end.
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This service differs from its predecessors in its capabilities. More than 200 formats are converted, including video. Cloudconvert provides a huge number of compression settings, can process files in a batch. The only limitation is the size of the files, it cannot exceed 1 GB. No watermarks are embedded in the end result either.
1. Open the Cloudconvert website, click on Select File. You can select videos not only from the local folder on your computer, but also from the cloud or another location.
2. Click on the button with three dots and select MP4 as the output video format.
3. Now click on the wrench button.
4. Specify a constant quality setting, we recommend choosing a parameter from 18 to 24. The lower the number, the better the final video will be. Select the setting as the encoding preset medium… The rest of the settings can be left alone. Click the button Okay…
5. If you need to compress several videos at once, click the Add more files and set the parameters for the files. After the end of the process, just press Convert and wait for the end of processing.