Are you in trapped in the middle of an archiving nightmare?

Maybe your boss has decided to give you additional responsibility (finally!) — and asking you to catalog and sort all the corporate videos they took on their iPhone somewhere "easy to access" by Friday.

Or perhaps your significant other wants you to pull together all the family footage they've shot on their iPad to create a family archive in time for the holidays — next week.

And now you're stuck with their device, dozens of different MOV files, and a growing sense of dread as you're not even an Apple user!

You don't work in IT. You're just the "techy" person everyone seems to come to with their IT problems. But you're understandably a bit concerned. First, don't panic. Let's start with the basics.

What are MOV files?

You'll see MOV file extensions on Apple QuickTime Movie files, the file format Apple uses for audio and video. QuickTime is the multimedia framework Apple uses to manage the compatibility of various file formats, including sound, digital video, and virtual reality photography. And MOV is the default recording file format for iPhones and iPads, though if you're perusing through older stored files, you may come across videos with a QT file extension. These are also Apple QuickTime Movie files. You may also come across MP4 files — a file format that uses the same MPEG-4 codecs for compress as well.

In case the last sentence lost you, a file like MOV or MP4 consists of a container, inside which is the actual audio and visual data. The container also includes codecs — programs that encode and decode the audio and visual data depending on the data's use. For example, the MPEG-4 codec will help decode the data in your MOV file when you press play. And it will encode your data to compress it when you press stop.

Why compress MOV files

Video playback isn't the only reason MOV files are compressed. Take your archiving project, for example. You may want to first transfer all those MOV files to a laptop or a desktop to start to organize them. But the file sizes are enormous. You'll need to compress them first and then email them to yourself or upload them to your cloud account. You may even need to use a third-party file transfer solution, depending on their size.

If you have questions or need more information about a specific video, you may need to send it to someone. To make sure they get it in enough time for you to make your deadline, you'll need to compress it quickly before sending it. Compressed files will also load more rapidly on their — or your — computer.

And wherever you plan to store these files, keep in mind that raw MOV files can be sizable. You'll want to compress your files so that you're not paying an arm and a leg for a storage and backup solution, especially if these files won't see regular use.

How to compress MOV files

MOV files use lossy compress — a form of compress that gets rid of some data to decrease the total file size. Now you can open MOV files in QuickTime and use the Export function to save them in a reduced file size. However, each time you compress a MOV file, you'll lose more data, and the quality of your video will be affected.

It's much better to use a lossless compress tool — a program that will reduce your file's size while keeping all of your data intact. That way, the quality of your videos won't suffer. And if you're "techy," you've probably seen the ZIP extension. It's used for ZIP files — files that have been compressed using WinZip. It's the easiest and best way to get all your files compressed in a hurry without sacrificing their quality. And you can even decompress ZIP files in plenty of cloud solutions, like Google Drive, directly.

How to compress MOV files in WinZip

From File Explorer:

  1. From your File Explorer select all of the files you want to compress.
  2. Right-click on the selected files. WinZip > Add/Move to Zip File… This will open WinZip with options about how you want your file zipped.
  3. Select your file options, like name, location, encryption, and any other features you want to include.
  4. Select Add. This will create a zip file in the location you selected containing all your files.

From within WinZip:

  1. From within WinZip, locate the files you want to zip using the panel on the left.
  2. Select all of the files you want to compress.
  3. Select the Add to Zip button at the bottom of the left panel.
  4. After you add all of the files you want to the Zip file, select the "Save as" button in the right bottom corner. Name your file and select save.

Note that you must have WinZip installed on your computer to use these methods.


Ok. So now that you know what software you'll need, all you need to do is sit back, label and compress all those files, then upload and decompress them somewhere online.

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