Do you want to be able to reduce the file size of your videos by a significant margin? That can be difficult, but there are a number of things that you can try that may work.
Essentially the file size of a video is determined by its duration, type of compression, and data that is used – and so you should look into tweaking all three areas:
1. Trim out parts of the video that aren’t needed
While this may not always be an option, if it is you should start by trimming out any parts of your video that aren’t needed. The shorter you can get your video to be, the smaller its file size will be.
Although this won’t technically affect the video quality, it will certainly affect its content – so you need to be careful you don’t accidentally trim out something important.
2. Transcode the video to a codec with better compression
Depending on the codec that your video is currently encoded in, you may be able to find a codec that provides better compression rates. For example, if your video is in MPEG-4 then H.264 would be better, and similarly, HEVC (H.265) would be better than it.
Keep in mind that it is the codec that affects compression, not the container, as such if you were to convert MP4 to FLV online for example – the compression would be unaffected.
The only caveat is you need to check to make sure the codec you intend to transcode your video to is supported by the device or platform you want it to be viewed on. Normally H.264 is a safe option in that regard, but HEVC, VP9, AV1, and other codecs have more limited support currently.
Typically this will let you reduce the file size of your videos without affecting their quality.
3. Lower the video bitrate
The video bitrate is quite literally the setting that determines the amount of data it uses each second, and lowering it will directly reduce the file size of your video. However, as it gets lower the quality of your video will look worse for wear and compression artifacts will appear.
That is why although technically you can reduce the file size of your videos by a lot using this option – in practice there is only so much you can reduce it before the video becomes unwatchable.
If you want to reduce the file size of your videos as much as possible you should try to use all three options listed above in tandem. First trim out parts of your video that aren’t needed, then transcode to improve its compression, and finally reduce the bitrate.
At times you may not be able to use all three however, in which case you’ll have to make do with whatever options are available to you. To be honest, it will take a bit of trial and error, but it is safe to say that you should end up with a smaller video by the time you’re done.
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