Technical Solutions

Have an idea for the Small File Media Festival but don’t know how to compress it? Here are a few methods and techniques to get you started.

Handbrake

Handbrake is a free, open source utility that allows you to compress a video file into an incredibly small video file.

Download Handbrake here:
https://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

Don’t know where to start? EngageMedia offers a tutorial into the basics of handbrake here.
https://www.engagemedia.org/help/video-compression-step-by-step-handbrake-tutorial

Feeling confident and want to jump right in? Here are a few settings we used to compress this video of the short film The Hotel (2018) from a 147 MB, 1080P video file with lossless audio to a 2.9 MB, 480P video with 48KBPS MP3 audio. The video was shot using a smart phone.

Below is a side by side comparison showing the stills from both the compressed and uncompressed version of The Hotel.

Reducing the Frame Rate

Clint Enns writes, “For regular HD videos with a standard resolution, bitrate is between 2,500 to 4,000 kbps. I can imagine it being much, much lower.  Lowering the bit rate substantially would produce some interesting results.  Also, making videos that are ~14 fps and really small like 352 x 240 or even smaller might be interesting.”

An example of this can be seen in Putting Yourself Out There

Handbrake has the ability to reduce frame-rates and this can also be done in most video editing software as well. Here we shrunk down a 5:25 long short film Gristle (2016) from a 183 MB, 24FPS 1080P video file with lossless AAC audio to a 5.3 MB, 15FPS 720X480 video file with 48KBPS MP3 audio. The video was shot using a DSLR camera.


The following Handbrake setting were used to achieve this:

Here is a side by side comparison of stills from the compressed and uncompressed versions of Gristle.

Avidmux

Avidemux is another open-source video editing and compression tool that is free to use.

Avidemux on SourceForge

AVIDMUX can be used to compress video files to under 1MB a minute. This 55 second long video file was compressed to under a megabyte with a resolution of 720X404 from a 148mb 1080P video file. The following settings were used to achieve this.

Set VIDEO OUTPUT to Mpeg4 AVC (x264)
Set AUDIO OUTPUT to AAC (lav)
Ser OUTPUT FORMAT to MP4 Muxer

Next, on the main panel under the VIDEO OUTPUT > CONFIGURE set the ENCODING MODE to AVERAGE BITRATE (Two Pass) and set the AVERAGE BITRATE to 75 KBIT/S

Next, on the main panel under AUDIO OUTPUT > CONFIGURE set the Bitrate to 56

Lastly to resize the video dimensions you have to apply a FILTER under OUTPUT FORMAT > CONFIGURE on the main panel. A new window will pop up. Select TRANSFORM and a series of video filters will populate. Scroll down to VERTICAL and drag it over to ACTIVE FILTERS. Lastly, double click on swsResize and the following panel will open.

Under Resize Dimensions set the width – height will automatically be adjusts to maintain the original aspect ratio – for example this video was set to 720 pixels wide and the height was automatically set to 404.

Lastly click the SAVE icon and choose where you would like to save the file. Your video will then be compressed to a super small size!

ANY VIDEO CONVERTER

Any Video Converter is another program with a free option that also allows you to compress a video into a super small size. These steps enabled us to take the same video file as above and compress it to 1mb per minute.

First, drag and drop the video you wish to compress into the task window and under profile and select customized AVI Video.

Next, click on the AVI icon to change the video compression settings.

The settings should be as follows:

VIDEO
Codec: x264
FrameRate: 15
Bitrate: 64
Size: 1280X720

AUDIO
Codec: MP3
SampleRate: 44100
Bitrate: 64
Channel: 2

Once these are set click OK to go back to the main window.

Once the settings are correct click CONVERT NOW and your video will be compressed to a Super Small File Size. If your video isn’t shrinking properly try reducing the dimensions of the image even further.

Because we are doing strange things to video files they may not open in all video players. We found that VLC Player is able to play most video formats.