Video conversion, high resolution with small file size

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by cool11, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. cool11 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2006
    I am a simple user, regarding video recording and managing.
    I want to be able to record videos in HD format, but without keeping these files with big size.
    I know some things about resolution, movie formats etc, but instead of reducing the resolution I think there should be some ways today, to compress them with good quality.
    Several things should be kept in mind.

    - Can I proceed with mp4 format? I think it uses high compression and nice picture quality.
    - I don't want to 'burn' my mbp with long hours of encoding. I saw many deviations in several video converters. For the same video, one can take an hour to do it, other can do it in minutes.
    - Most videos I have for conversion are .mov and .avi.
    - I want applications which can use all cores of my i7 cpu. But not completely heavy load it, as some video converters seems to drive the whole machine 'mad' (loud fans etc).
    - I want 'easy' and user friendly applications. Straightforward. I don't want to deal with many options in encoding etc. Just choosing some presets.
    - Can I re-compress mp4 files? I am doing something wrong because I have whole movies(produced by others) with two hours length in less than a gigabyte, and the videos I encode(HD), could be one gigabyte for just fifteen minutes.

    Please help me find the easiest solution for video converting, keeping the resolution high and small size quite small.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Used HandBrake and its settings yet? You can determine the final size via the data rate, but remember, that 8 bits are 1 byte. For the calculation you could use online data rate calculators or the one by AJA.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes you can do most of what you want. You can compress MP4 down and still keep it as MP4. But you ALWAYS give up image quality. Even if you keep the same resolution the compressed video will loose quality. So you have to experiment. You might not notice or care about what is lot.

    Two programs work well. "Handbrake" is good and easy to use and it's free. But Apple sells "compressor" for $50 and even if people think it is harder to user the output quality is very good. Compressor has more options than handbrake.

    Today terabyte sized disks are cheap, well under $100 so what are you saving? Even if un-compressed it still costs less than $1 per hour to store on a disk.
  4. cool11, Apr 2, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014

    cool11 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2006
    I 'll keep trying, I read your comments carefully.

    I wish there was something so good like mp3 for audio.
    Fast and easy compression, with loss in quality that you can barely hear.

    Or something like jpg. Even the biggest alternative of a psd or tiff file in jpg format, is by far smaller from psd/tiff. Quality fair enough for most cases. And all is done with a few clicks.

    I would like a similar process in video. Numerous 'try and see' options, with the fear of 'lost quality' or 'big size', is not a very easy task and takes enough time.

    In jpg, mp3 etc, I never felt that I lost any significant quality, at least with my own standards.
    In fraction of time, I can have huge compression, I do not have to think anything about sacrifice quality, and I get significant smaller size of files. So simple.

    I wanted a similar solution. We are in 2014. We use mac. I hope there is such a similar option in digital video.
  5. AcesHigh87 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2009
    New Brunswick, Canada
    The fact is, whether there should be something or not, doesn't mean there is.

    Video is a much trickier beast than audio or images. If you compress you will lose some quality. The more you compress, the lower your bitrate gets. The lower the bitrate, the worse your quality will look.

    I can tell you that 1080p encoded as H.264 at 20mb/s will be about 7GB for an hour of video. Something like 8-10mb/s will still offer pretty good quality for the file size.

    Fact of the matter is, if you want full quality HD you pay the price with file size. There's no way to compress and not lose quality. H.264 is your heat bet but it's still not perfect. The reason you can see full length stuff around a gig is because those people encode as H.264 at a miserably low bitrate. It keeps the HD resolution but certainly not HD quality.
  6. e1me5 macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2013
    You can also use QuickTime player. It doesn't have all the options Handbrake has, but for me it's much more easier to use. Just open the file with QT, go to file>export and choose one of the presets. It utilizes all the cores of CPU and you can also convert more than one video at the same time.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The trouble is your video is ALREADY highly compressed if it is H264. It is already like what you are asking for but you want even more. And you can't compress it more without loosing quality.

    Try converting what you get from your camera to "uncompressed" and see what a huge difference you get. You will find that it expends even more than audio does

    It is sort of like if you had MP3 audio files and you said "Why can't I compress this?"
  8. cool11 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2006
    Most of the files I want to convert and compress, are .avi and .mov.
  9. Unami, Apr 4, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014

    Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    just to clear that up: .avi, .mov and .mp4 are containers - so an avi/mov/mp4 file can contain a video in h.264, mjpeg, mpeg-4, photo-jpeg, xvid, divx,.... -format for example. those file-extensions say nothing about the format (on the contrary, it's even possible to rename h.264 encoded mov files to .mp4 to play them back on a ps3 for example)

    your .avi and .mov files are quite likely already in h.264. your best bet for small file sizes and good quality is using variable bitrate and multi-pass encoding. (this takes longer to encode). also, the higher your "h.264 profile", the more you can compress something while retaining good quality - at the cost of higher hardware requirements while decoding.

    you can use something like cpu-throttle for limiting your cpu-load. so your computer's fans won't have to work like "mad". but this obviously will slow down your encoding process.

    for encoding, handbrake is pretty nice & easy. calculate the bitrate you need for the movie, enter it under "average bitrate" (the preset bitrate of 1500 for video and 160 kbps for audio will give you a bit more than 1 gb per 90 min - probably not enough for good quality in 1080p), check 2-pass encoding and hit start.

    also, do you need the movies in fullHD ? - a lower resolution will usually give you better results at the same filesize. (and you will have a hard time seeing the resolution difference between a 720p and 1080p movie on a 50inch tv, if you're more than 2m away from it)
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    That is like saying "most of my movies are kept in a square or a round box."

    What matters is the video codec and the bit rate of the video data inside the files, not the kind of file.

    The way to think about this is to think of video data as separate from the way that data is stored or transmitted. The data can be stored on a BluRay disc, transmitted over the air. Sent over a cable or stored in any of several different kinds of files.

    Your problem is that the data is already compressed. You can always compress it more but doing so reduces quality. YOU have to judge if the loss is acceptable.

    Compare that to the cost of storage. Movies take about 1GB per hour. So a 1TB disk drives holds 1,000 hours of video. and cost about $80.00 That comes to 8 cents per hour. How hard to you want to work to save 8 cents? Even at higher bit rates it is hard to get up to 20 cents per hour.
  11. cool11 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2006
    Nice information.
    It is acceptable for me, a ratio of 1gb/1 hour of video.
    But till now, I have 1gb/15 minutes of 720p video.
    Don't you think I should do something about it?
  12. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Most encoders allow you to specify a target bitrate — 2200Kb/s video and 128Kb/s audio should turn out around 1GB/hr. Give that a try and see if the quality is acceptable. I'd find that too low for most videos at 1280x720 resolution.

    You can use JPEG compression for video and MP3 for audio, but the file size would be far larger than you'd expect. Video compression has to be much more aggressive and complex to yield file sizes most people will find acceptable.
  13. perery macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2014
    Well, how to say, it all depends on the program you choose, in fact, you can convert your videos to mp4 and then customize videos, if you use Quicktime to record, it is mov formats, you can convert mov to mp4, now there are many free converters that you can choose like Adoreshare free mov converter or you can choose others. Just a way, I hope that can help you. As for the program, you can search on Google
  14. dorsal macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2002
  15. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Hard drive space is cheap.. just buy a drive.

    And if you want a gb an hour, well you'll need to really crank down the bit rate for both audio and video on those clips.. prob 2000kbp/s or lower, h.264 VBR..

    and what are you shooting, that you have sooooo much footage, but you dont want to keep it at a quality compression?

    And like others have stated.. you are already starting with h.264 as your source.. so its already compressed a bit.. so the more that you try and compress it (to save space) it will look like garbage.

    Not to mention you're comparing the ease and small amount of time it takes to save/compress a still image to video.. you do realize there are 24, 30, 60 or more photos PER second in video?... the algorithms that are needed to compress video are far more complex then what is needed for audio or stills..

    You are receiving advice from video/production professionals (including myself).. and if some of that advice means trial and error to see if the compressions suit your needs, then you should follow it.

    And on behalf of the entire world, including super smart video people, and most importantly Apple.. sorry if we've let you down in NOT creating a video codec/file format that you feel should be made to store hundreds of hours of HD video to a thumb drive.

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