Video compression is essential to share your video edits online without any hassle. Video files are often far too large to post to the majority of sites and it will therefore be necessary to find ways to reduce them. Learn how to compress a video on any device and across different platforms.
What does video compression mean?
Video compression is an encoding process aimed at reducing the number of bits required to display an image or video sequence. The programs generally used each have their own algorithm or formula (we speak of codec) in order to remove all obsolete or superfluous data contained in the video file.
It is thus possible to effectively reduce the size of a video while retaining the essential data, and in particular the moving images and the audio sequence. There are several techniques, algorithms and codecs for compressing video files, some of which are capable of reducing a file to one thousandth of its original size.
Why compress a video?
Video files are naturally large and take up a lot of space. This is especially true as the quality of clips recorded by smartphone cameras increases. In other words, even very short videos now take up a lot of space.
Compressing a video file allows you on the one hand to store more of it on your phone, hard drive or cloud, but also to easily share compressed videos via email, web pages or social networks. Finally, most file sharing systems impose size limits:
- For standard accounts, YouTube limits file size to 15 minutes and 2 GB.
- Vimeo ‘s Basic plan allows you to upload a maximum of 500 MB per week.
- Instagram imposes a limit of 10 minutes and 650 MB from a mobile device, or 60 minutes and 3.6 GB from a web browser.
- Videos on Facebook must not exceed 240 minutes and 10 GB.
That’s why you might not be able to share your cousin’s fifteen-minute wedding speech. However, with a video compression tool, anything is possible.
Does compressing a video reduce its quality?
Depending on the video compression method and format chosen, the quality may actually be reduced since some data will be deleted or restructured. However, this difference is not noticeable to the naked eye, unless you are compressing a very large file to a very small format.
There are two main modes of video compression whose impact on quality is different.
Lossless compression modes.
In order to compress a video without compromising on quality, the lossless format does not delete any original data and aims to keep the original resolution.
This is particularly useful for simply transferring a file from one computer to another, without losing quality, through an external disk. The disadvantage is obviously that the file remains relatively large, and we therefore reserve this method for cases in which the size is not a real problem.
Lossy compression modes.
The so-called lossy compression modes are the most common and consist of reducing the size of a video file by deleting superfluous data before downloading it. Some information may therefore disappear, and the quality will necessarily be reduced.
In majority of the cases, deleted data is not essential and the difference is not easily noticeable. Many DVDs use a lossy compression mode to reduce file sizes by 15 to 30 times, but audiences don’t see the difference. The majority of files downloaded from the Internet also use a lossy compression mode.
How to compress a video according to the platforms.
For each platform, the optimal format and the required resolution will be different, and so you will need to adopt specific methods to compress a video, depending on what you want to do with your video clip.
Read Also: 10 Best Video Editing Apps For Your Phone
How to compress videos to send them by email?
The best way to compress a video for emailing is to zip the file with a compressor. The method is to install the video in a smaller file that is easier to share without affecting the quality. Note, however, that the recipient must also have access to software that will allow them to decompress the file upon arrival.
To zip and email a video file:
- Open a new email.
- Click on Attachments and find the video.
- Right-click and choose Send to / compressed (zip) folder.
Windows will take care of compressing the file and all you have to do is add it to an email as an attachment.
How to compress a video for YouTube?
With a standard YouTube account, you can upload videos under 15 minutes and 2 GB. Verified accounts are entitled to 12 hours and 256 GB.
The easiest way to compress video for YouTube is Windows Movie Maker tool which is pre-installed in your system. Here’s the procedure to follow:
- Open the video file you want to compress in Windows Movie Maker.
- Click Play to check the content and length of the clip.
- Save and enjoy compressing the video by clicking Files/Save Movie/Web Settings/YouTube.
- Specify the save location and the program will automatically compress the file to a format compatible with YouTube.
How to compress a video for a messaging app?
Even the most widely used messengers in the world impose restrictions on the size of video files:
- Facebook Messenger — 25 MB
- WhatsApp – 16 MB
- Snapchat – 2.5 MB
Depending on the required app, you may need to compress your video to stay within the specified size limits.
How to compress a video for PowerPoint?
PowerPoint files often take up a lot of space, especially if the slideshow contains video or audio files. This may slow downloading and cause sharing issues, and it’s generally a good idea to compress your videos for use in your slideshows. The process is as follows:
- Open the PowerPoint slideshow containing the video or audio files in Windows.
- Click Files – Info – Multimedia – Compress Media.
- Then choose from the three quality options, which allow you to change the size.
- Full HD. 1080p, to maintain high resolution in a file that will remain heavy.
- HD. 720p, a quality similar to movies that can be viewed online.
- Standard. 480p, perfect for sharing your slides by e-mail or saving space on your hard drive, but the quality will be lower.
- Save the presentation in the format of your choice before sharing or uploading it.
How to compress a video for live streaming.
It is possible to encode (compress) a digital video file using a codec (or algorithm) that will reduce its size and transmit a large amount of data during streaming.
It can then be saved in various formats (MP4, MOV or MPEG2) and decoded (or decompressed) later. Depending on the formats, the video compression mode will be lossy or lossless. There are two main types of codecs for streaming:
- H.264. It is the industry standard for compressing videos and is mostly used for videos intended for the web. This format is compatible with resolutions lower than 8192×4320.
- H.265. For high-resolution streaming, for example on an HD mobile device or for streaming in UHD 4K/8K, it is preferred to use H.265 which offers 25 to 50% better data compression than H.264. This mode preserves much better quality.
What do video compression terms mean?
To help you better understand video compression, we define key terms here:
Aspect Ratio: The proportional relationship between the width and height of the image.
Bit: The unit of measurement used to determine the size of a video file. It comes in several multiples:
- Kilo (KB). 1024 bytes.
- Mega (MB). 1024 kilobytes.
- Giga (UK). 1024 megabytes.
- Tera (TB). 1024 gigabytes.
Codec: the code or algorithm that is responsible for compressing a video or decompressing it on arrival so that it can be viewed normally. The most common codecs are MPEG, ProRes and WMV — they all belong to different programming companies.
Container/Container: This is the file in which your compressed video is contained as well as the codec. Examples include MP4, AVI and MOV extensions.
FPS/IPS: the frame rate, measured in frames per second (ips) or, frames per second (fps) in English. It is she who affects the quality of the video clip. The higher the number, the better the quality.
Master version: the original uncompressed video which must be preserved in the compression process.
Resolution: Measured in pixels, the resolution of a video is indicated by a width and a height. For example, an HD (high definition) video — sometimes called 1080p or 1920 x 1080 — contains 1920 pixels widthwise and 1080px lengthwise. The higher the number, the better the quality and the larger the file.
How to compress a video with Adobe Premiere Pro?
Drag and drop to import your MOV, WMV, AVI, or other codec or audio formats to Adobe Premiere . The full app is accessible from all mobile devices and is part of the Pro suite. When you export a video from Premiere Pro, the compression is automatic and you only have to share quality videos on all the sites and social networks of your choice.
To compress a video on your PC:
- Click on the Sharing panel and check the destination.
- Identify yourself on the site or network with the Adobe Pro interface.
- Add metadata and tags, and customize thumbnails or custom design.
- To delay posting to YouTube, schedule the upload date and time.
- Click Export. (Premiere Pro automatically converts your file to MP4 format with the optimal default setting).
To compress a video in mobile format:
- Click Export, to convert the video to MP4 format in Premiere Pro.
- Choose the network or channel and identify yourself.
- Add metadata such as description, tags, thumbnails or custom designs.
- Click Publish.
How to compress video on iPhone and iPad.
iOS does not have a built-in tool to compress video. You will therefore need to download a separate application. There are several free options, such as Video Compress.
- Download and install Video Compress from the App Store.
- Launch the app and choose the type of file to export.
- Select and open the video.
- Drag the slider to determine the size of the compressed video.
- Click on save and the app will take care of compressing the video and saving it to the gallery of your iPhone or iPad.
You can also change the quality and resolution settings before taking your video, to remove the need for compression. Follow these steps:
- Click Settings.
- Choose the Camera tab and click Video Recording.
The default settings appear and you can change them, to record and save smaller videos for example.
How to compress a video on Mac.
For Apple Mac users, the pre-installed program QuickTime allows you to compress videos. On newer models, you have access to iMovie.
To compress a video in QuickTime:
Open the file you want to compress in QuickTime.
Click File – Export As – Option.
Choose the required compression from the options, codec and quality offered:
- 4K. Select H.264 or HEVC (H.265) for a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160.
- 1080p . H.264 or HEVC (H.265) for resolution lower than 1920 x 1080.
- 720p. H.264 for a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720.
- 480p. H.264 for a maximum resolution of 640 x 480.
You can also use iMovie to compress video on Mac:
- Edit or open the video in iMovie.
- Click the share icon and choose the file.
- Choose resolution and quality from the drop-down menu.
- Click next to export the video, then save the file.
Compress video on Android.
On an Android device, it is easy to reduce the size of a video file before sharing it. Android devices have features to automatically reduce the size of a file when you want to share it. To compress a video on Android:
- Select the Application menu and click on the camera.
- At the bottom of the window, move the slider to the video camera.
- Choose the resolution icon, bottom left.
- Click on the send option you want — for example, MMS to send it by text message.
- Your Android device will automatically compress the video based on the chosen sending method.
How to compress a video on Windows.
The Windows 10 video editor allows you to easily compress a video and prepare them for sending:
- Open the Video Editor, and create and name a new project.
- Drag and drop or add the video to compress.
- Move the video to the main board.
- Click “Finalize Video” and choose the resolution you want — 1080p, 720p, or 540p.
- Export and then save the video to a location of your choice.
On Windows, you can also choose to create a Zip folder that will contain your compressed video. To zip a video file:
- Go to the folder containing the video.
- Right-click and click Send to — compressed (zip) folder .
- A smaller zip folder appears in which your video is located.
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