How to Make Video Files Smaller

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Video files are prevalent these days and though many computer users have broadband access to the Internet, it can still take a while to download your favorite video clips. One of the most straightforward video files to reduce is an MPG video file, either MPEG 1 or 2. Many converters exist to change the video type from MPG to almost anything else.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium to small-sized video file (preferably an MPEG or MPG file)
  • Reasonably fast computer with plenty of RAM
  • VirtualDUB video conversion software
  • DivX video codec

Instructions

  1. Search for and download the latest version of the VirtualDUB software. VirtualDUB is an easy-to-use program for converting MPG video files.

  2. Extract the VirtualDUB program to a location on your hard drive. It usually does not come with an installer, so put it somewhere you can find and run it. Run the VirtualDub.exe program from the directory you just extracted it to.

  3. Choose "Open video file..." from the File menu and select the MPG file you want to convert to a smaller format. Notice that VirtualDUB will open other file types including AVI, DIVX and MPV.

  4. Select "Compression..." from the Video menu.Here you will find a list of codecs VirtualDUB will attempt to transcode your MPG file to. For this case, it will be easiest to use the DivX codec. There may be more than one in the list, it doesn't really matter which one you choose. Click "OK."

  5. Go to the Audio menu and make sure the "Direct stream copy" item in the menu is selected. If you want to transcode the audio codec as well (which can also make the file smaller), select the "Full processing mode" item, then select "Compression..." from the Audio menu. Choose an audio codec (MP3 works best) and click "OK."

  6. Click on the File menu and choose "Save as AVI...." In this screen, put the resulting file where you want to and give it a descriptive name. Click the "Save" button to begin processing. How long processing takes depends on the size of the file, the speed of your machine and the type of video/audio codecs you've chosen to transcode the file to.

  7. Play the new media file you've created to make sure it works and the video/audio quality is still good.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the original file in case you want to convert it again later.
  • Covert the video file using a popular and widespread codec type. That way you can ensure the widest possible audience will be able to view your file.
  • If you are going to upload your video to YouTube, just upload the original file at its full size and audio quality. YouTube's servers will automatically transcode the video file into a format that is used by its site.
  • A number of properties contribue to the size of video files and can be changed to affect the size of the file: the video quality and codec type, the audio quality and codec type, audio/video bitrate stream size, the size of the video (i.e. height and width of the video), the number of frames per second of the video and even the color depth of the video stream.
  • When sharing the resulting video file, it is best to inform the persons who will recieve it what codecs were used to make the file smaller. That way if they have problems viewing the file, they can download and install the proper codecs.
  • Sometimes a media file type that is listed in VirtualDUB's Open File list cannot be convert or opened.
  • Changing any of the audio or video properties will always result in a file that is not as good a quality as the original. Your efforts should always be geared toward creating a file that is as close to the original quality as possible while making the file size as small as possible.

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