Reducing Video File Size


Well-known member
Dec 18, 2013
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I have a question that is haunting me for years, and I have been looking for a solution ever since. I am just an average user/editor of videos. Depending of the term average, it means for me that I can download converters, knows how to twitch (very little) some of the qualities to reduce a file size like resolution and such. But really, I don't know any other things so I'm really not a professional in ay way at all.

Going straight to my point, I really have a hard time reducing file sizes. My girlfriend and I are constantly having vacations. And as normal couples do, we take pictures, videos of the sceneries, beaches, natures, cities. Currently, I'm just using my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge phone for capturing such moments set in Full HD mode, not the 60 FPS mode. just the normal one.

Concentrating on videos, I find it really frustrating why a simple 30 minute HD video garnishes 4GB worth of file! At my first use of a technology, I though maybe it was a glitch, but years of frustration shows an average of 1GB for 10 mins of video, 2.5GB for abround 20 mins and my last one was 3.99GB for 33 mins of video. It's not even on 4k.

Maybe I'm asking for two things, knowledge and solution. Are there anything wrong with shooting with a smartphone? I had the same experience with my other Samsung phones as well and a few LG ones, so I know this is not just hardware related. Am I doing anything wrong? I am also an avid movie viewer as well that downloads digital movies (legally of course). I ALWAYS download 1080p movies and sometimes Blue-Ray ones. I notice that for a 1080p movie which spans to about 1.45 hours to 2.30 hours only has roughly about 1.2GB of space! I mean wow, compared to my videos, these 1080p movies are about 50% clearer, better fps, better sound but about 75% smaller than my home videos. You understand my frustration on this issue, as I have hundreds of videos, and now I was compelled to write in video forums as I'm losing space and just don't want to delete videos for sentimentality.

Now for my 2nd thing to ask which is the solution, I have tried video converters. On my last video the 3.99GB worth 33 mins, I notice that using video converters, and converting it to the same format mp4 to mp4 with 1920x1080 > 1920x1080 resolution, I was able to reduce the file size by have to exactly 1.99GB, even though it has the same quality based on the settings before converting. But I see somehow a reduced quality comparing the old and newly converted video side by side. I am tempted to say that it is a "tolerable reduced quality" being that it was reduced in half, but I can not as better movies shot is 1080p as stated above only garnish around 900MB-1.5GB the most for a full size movie and mine is just 30 mins.

As much as I want to consider reducing resolution, reducing sound quality, reducing fps and anything that amounts to reducing quality, I can not do so as I want to know, how do movie people do that kind of magic? Am I doing anything wrong? Is there some sort of software I'm missing that's why I have these issues?

Apologies for the long post, but I gave my best detail of what is my issue, what I am asking, what have I already done, some things to compare with, hoping that professionals will be able to direct me to a solution.

Thank you so much, may everyone have a God blessed day!


Retired Moderator
May 23, 2010
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Great questions! In short, no. You are not doing anything wrong. That's the way movie files on Mobile devices are formatted and the amount of data can be very high. Aside from continued file compression, your alternative is to save the files to external storage via otg if supported, or SD card.

What phone do you have?


Well-known member
Jan 26, 2013
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Here's the thing. Your phone at full HD is recording 1080 as the "short side" of the screen. This means that for a 1.77 aspect ratio, the "long side" of the screen will be approx 1920... giving you a 1920 x 1080 wide screen video. Full HD is 30 fps, so every second, you're capturing 30 frames of 1920 x 1080 pictures. This produces a lot of data, hence the file size you're seeing on your phone. This is normal. At 60fps, the output file size may double... and 4K will be humongous!

By comparison, the movie files you download with 1.5GB for the whole movie, may have the "long side" at 1080. For an aspect ratio of 1.77, the means the "short side" is only approx 610 pixels. If that same movie has a true 1080p video for download, it can be almost twice the size, if the "short side" is at 1080. There are many downloadable movie files with varying resolutions and as good as they "look", if you read the properties of the file in your video player, you can see that what you think is 1080p is not really so. It could be 1280 x 540, or something like 960 x 544, or almost anything in between. Just because something "looks" HD, doesn't mean it's true 1080p.

However, it's not only the picture size (ie, 960 x 544) that lowers the size of compressed videos, but also how well the program you use can deal with compressing the video. One very popular program for video compression is Handbrake. I use it exclusively for compressing my own videos. Just with the defaults of the program, you can lower the file size greatly if you simply change the "long side" of your video to a lower value. There are other tweaks in the program, but I'm not going to post things here. I advise you look into Handbrake and visit more dedicated video forums. Handbrake is open source and free, which is a big bonus!

Video compression and the resulting rendering of that video can take a loooonnnnngggg time, and if you do 2 pass... even longer! The thing about video is what you can tolerate as "good enough". That, you can only decide yourself. Try Handbrake, learn it, and see where it takes you.

Of course, if you already know about Handbrake, then all this info is mute! :)
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