Reducing footage size is a useful practice for various reasons, such as saving storage space, optimizing video files for online sharing or even keeping raw footage on file while not occupying tons of disk space.
We’re here to guide you with some insightful methods on how to gracefully reduce footage size and ensure that you’ll achieve efficient storage without compromising too much on quality.
Understanding Resolution, Bitrate and Codec
To start off, let’s figure out what’s really important in determining how big or small a video file will be. Three key things come into play here: Resolution, Bitrate, and Codec.
These three buddies team up to balance how good the video looks and how much space it takes up. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty details of how they work together in a bit, but first, let’s break down these three elements in simple terms.
- Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image or video, usually represented as width x height (e.g. 1920×1080 for Full HD). When you reduce the resolution of a video, you are essentially decreasing the number of pixels, which directly impacts the overall size of the video file.
- Bitrate refers to the amount of data that is processed per unit of time in a video (usually measured in bits per second, or Mbps). It’s like the flow of information – the higher the bitrate, the more details are captured in the video, which also means a larger file size. Lowering the bitrate means less data is processed, resulting in a smaller file size.
- A codec is a software or hardware tool and the chosen codec uses compression techniques to make the video file more compact. It identifies redundancies and eliminates unnecessary data. One tip here is that some codecs can maintain better quality at lower bitrates compared to others. For example, the newer H.265 (HEVC) codec generally offers better compression efficiency than its predecessor, H.264, allowing for smaller file sizes at similar qualities.
The objective, when shrinking a video file size, is finding the right balance between resolution, bitrate, and codec to achieve the desired quality within the target file size. This involves choosing a codec that efficiently compresses the video while adjusting the resolution and bitrate accordingly.
Reducing footage size: step-by-step guides
Let’s now take a look at the tools you can use to achieve good results when reducing video files in bulk, we recommend either Media Encoder (if you have an Adobe account with Premiere Pro, this software comes included), or Handbrake, a free and open source tool.
Adobe Media Encoder
Media Encoder stands out as the premier software solution when it comes to effortlessly encoding a substantial volume of video files in one go. While it isn’t available for free, Adobe offers a convenient monthly subscription model. This enables you to simply subscribe for a single month, giving you the flexibility to conduct all your necessary encoding within a span of a few days.
Step 1: Fire up Adobe Media Encoder on your computer and drag and drop your raw footage into the program, there you’ll see it lined up in the queue.