Generally speaking Android devices tend to have less of an issue with storage due to the fact that many can expand theirs via a microSD card. Increasingly however there are some devices that don’t have that option, or you may already have pushed it to its limit as well.
In any case if storage is an issue – being able to compress videos can help. As you’re probably aware videos can take up a lot of space and by compressing them you stand to reduce their file size significantly.
If that’s your goal, the first thing that you need to know is that there are several ways that you can actually compress videos.
Transcode to Codecs with better compression
Almost all the videos that you’re likely to encounter are already compressed in some form or other. The type of compression that is used is determined by the video codec, and it is what will encode and compress your video data into a file, and then decode it into an approximation of the original video for playback.
Different codecs operate differently, and some are more efficient than others. In other words they can reduce the file size of your videos by a greater margin, while maintaining its quality.
First however you need to determine whether or not this is an option in the first place. That involves identifying the current codec that your video is using, and finding out if there is one that is better.
The most common video codecs that you will run into nowadays are MPEG-4, H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC). Generally H.265 can reduce the file size of H.264 videos by up to 50%, and H.264 can reduce the file size of MPEG-4 similarly.
However the other question you need to ask is whether or not your Android device itself supports hardware decoding for these formats. Almost all Android devices manufactured after 2011 feature AVC support, however most devices manufactured before 2014 will not support HEVC.
Even newer devices may not support HEVC – especially not if they are budget or entry-level devices.
In any case once you know what your options are, you can decide whether or not to transcode to a codec with better compression. For example you could use Movavi Video Converter to learn how to convert MOV to MP4 and H.264.
Try using desktop software to encode or transcode videos where possible, and set the encoding quality to high. Mobile devices tend to prefer speed over quality, and as such video data is often encoded less efficiently and the file size normally ends up slightly bigger.
Reduce the Bitrate of the video
The other method that you can use to compress videos is to reduce the video bitrate. By reducing the bitrate you’ll directly reduce the video file size, seeing as the bitrate is the amount of data the video uses each second.
Unlike transcoding the video, you don’t need to worry about compatibility when reducing the bitrate – and can reduce it until your video is the file size that you want it to be. However it will affect the quality, and as you reduce the bitrate further various types of compression artifacts will start to appear.
Because of the impact this method can have on the video quality, it is best to reduce the bitrate by increments and observe the video quality as you do. That way you should be able to find an acceptable balance between the bitrate and video quality, and won’t risk reducing it to the point that it is unwatchable.
Typically the bitrate that is required by videos will depend on several factors, including its resolution, frame rate, and the codec that is used, and for example if you’re using MP4 with H.264:
- 1080p with frame rate of 30 requires video bitrate of 8 to 10 Mbps
- 1080p with frame rate of 60 requires video bitrate of 12 to 15 Mbps
- 720p with frame rate of 30 requires video bitrate of 5 to 7 Mbps
- 720p with frame rate of 60 requires 8 to 10 Mbps
That should give you a gauge that you can use when adjusting the bitrate of your video. While you can reduce it below those values, you should expect the quality to start deteriorating and compression artifacts to appear more frequently the lower you go.
Assuming you feel neither of these methods will be a good fit, there are a few other options that you could consider. Keep in mind that these won’t really ‘compress’ your video – but they may help you to effectively store videos nonetheless:
- Extract clips from videos
If some parts of your videos are important but the rest are not – this option could be very useful. Basically you will want to extract clips of the important parts from your videos, and only store them on your Android device as they’ll take up a fraction of the space.
- Use the cloud
Storing the bulk of your videos on the cloud can be a very good option, but the downside is that you will need to be online to watch them. Sometimes you may want to keep videos that you watch frequently on your device, and place the rest on the cloud to conserve space.
Although these options are situational, it is worth considering them. In some cases you may even be able to take advantage of both options to reduce the load on your device’s storage.
Between all of these options it is safe to say that you should be able to find at least one that lets you reduce the size of your videos. Ideally it would be best if you could compress them by transcoding the video without affecting its quality, and then perhaps look at the other options to reduce it further if need be.
As far as possible be sure to keep a copy of the original video (stored separately on a PC or on the cloud) in case you require it at any point.
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January 16 2017