How to Compress a Video: The Complete Guide

So, you have made the perfect video. Now you want to share it with your partners or perhaps get some input from the client. But like most videos we record these days, your footage turns out to be too large. Large video files can be a challenge when it comes to uploading and hosting. This is a problem that videographers, editors, and content creators face every day. 

Compression is the most effective way to get around the frustrating limitations on email and hosting platforms. Compressing your videos reduces bandwidth usage and file size, drastically improving the video creation and editing process. Keep reading to learn how to compress a video and the different video compression methods that you can use.  

What is video compression?

Video consumes a lot of disk space. Depending on the frame rate, raw 1080p HD footage can consume more than 10 gigabytes of storage space per minute of video. Video compression refers to the process of encoding a video in such a way that it uses less space than the original file and is easier to share across different devices and over the internet. 

How to compress video

Compression reduces file size by eliminating redundant and non-functional data from the original video. Unless your goal is achieving the highest resolution possible, having smaller video files is best for everyone. To understand how compression works, there are a few terms you need to understand. 

  • Resolution. Video resolution refers to the quantity of pixels in a video, usually represented via horizontal and vertical measurements such as 1920*1080 for full HD video. Resolution defines the amount of detail in the video. The higher the resolution, the bigger the file. 
  • Bitrate. In digital multimedia, bitrate refers to the amount of data encoded for a unit of time, usually referenced in megabits per second (Mbps) for video. A higher bitrate often translates to a better-looking video and a larger file size. 
  • Codecs. A portmanteau of the terms code and decode, a codec simply is a device or piece of software used to compress the video for storage and playback. The codec affects the size of your video significantly. 

The resolution, bitrate, and codecs all affect your video file size. Therefore, compressing or reducing the size of your video files will, in most cases, involve the modification of any or all of these factors. Speaking of which, here are the different ways to compress video files. 

Reduce video resolution

You may already know by now that high-resolution videos take up a lot of storage space. One of the easiest ways to compress video is by changing the resolution. For instance, changing the resolution from 1080 to 720 will cut the size of your footage by half while still having a good quality video. 

Optimize video bitrate

You can reduce video file size significantly by removing some unnecessary parts. You can manually cut out parts of the video using editing software or automatically by adjusting the bitrate. You can optimize video bitrate for smaller file size without compromising quality. 

Change the codec

You can shrink the size of your video file considerably by changing the codec. The most common codecs for online video are AVC, HEVC, XviD, and AVI. For instance, you can reduce the size of your video by half while still maintaining quality by simply using HEVC (h.265) instead of AVC (h.264). 


Compression is a vital part of the video creation and editing process. It reduces bandwidth usage and upload time, helping you get around the frustrating limitations of email and file-sharing platforms. But the entire process can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there are plenty of applications, such as Roxio Creator, that you can use to make video compression a breeze. 

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