Video files are often some of the largest, particularly when they're uncompressed. For example, uncompressed videos of 1080p HD quality can take up as much as 10.5 gigabytes of space every minute of runtime, and this can fluctuate based on the video's frame rate. If videos are too large and you need to save space due to a bandwidth limit, you can use a process called video compression to make video files smaller. When done the right way, video compression can reduce file size without visibly affecting quality.

What is video compression?

Video compression entails reducing the amount of information present in an image or video sequence. This information is represented in bits. Programs with formulas or algorithms are often used to reduce video file size without compromising the quality of the footage. For instance, certain algorithms like H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC are capable of reducing the video data by a significant amount of up to 1,000 times.

If you need to reduce the file size of a video while maintaining quality, proper video compression can help achieve this and save storage space. It can also help reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed when streaming videos in real-time.

How does video compression work?

Video compression often consists of a lot of trial and error, but there are ways to approach the process to reduce file size while keeping the same level of quality throughout the video. If you want to know how to compress a video, it's best to find the right video compression software that can simplify the process.

Video compression software looks at all the pixels in each frame of video files and compresses them by combining similar pixels into a collective pixel. This method can often result in low-quality videos as videos become blocky and apparently pixillated, losing detail in the process. However, when done right, the combined pixels will be less noticeable, and only objects of a similar color and texture will be bunched together, which can minimize quality loss while reducing file size.

The key to successful video compression is having minimal changes take place throughout the video, but that isn't always the case.

Fortunately, there are ways to film video footage that makes it easier to compress during the post-production process. Some steps you could take include:

  • Shooting videos with minimal motion, such as through the use of a tripod.
  • Keeping the subject the core focus of the video, with minimal background movement that floods the footage with more changing pixels.
  • Filming shots with brighter lighting that partially washes subjects out, which can help reduce detail and further simplify compression.
  • Filming with a static background that doesn't involve any movement.

While lossless compression is available to keep the data in video files nearly identical, the file size is likely to be almost the same before and after compression.

Why compress videos?

In most cases, video compression is used to make video files smaller for the purposes of saving storage space and bandwidth. Hard drives and other storage locations have a limited amount of space, and many high-quality video files can consume a lot of it. By compressing those video files, you can save more storage space for other types of files without the need to delete or transfer those videos. When uploading to video streaming services such as YouTube, compression can increase upload speed while also saving space if there's an upload limit.

When streaming videos in real-time, high-quality videos can also consume a large amount of bandwidth when only so much is available in a connection. 1080p videos, for instance, can take up to 3 Mbps when streaming, but through compression, you can reduce that consumption to around 1 Mbps.

How to Compress Video 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: Certain file types do not compress as much as others. You must have WinZip installed on your computer to use these methods.

Conclusion

Whether you want to save storage space, reduce the bandwidth used when streaming, or increase upload speed when putting your videos online, video compression can be useful. If you're compressing video footage that you've filmed, there are also filming techniques you can use that are conducive to video compression. Using the right software, compression can be both fast and easy to have your videos ready in no time.


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