A man in a dark room with a small glowing lamp behind him stands at a desk and smiles at a large external monitor while he compresses a video on his computer.


How to reduce video file size with Adobe Media Encoder.

 Large files can be hard to work with or view on certain devices. Learn how to reduce a video file’s size while maintaining its quality and dimensions.

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Why compress videos to smaller sizes?

Working with video files can quickly show you the limitations of your computer. Large files can put a strain on system resources while editing or viewing large videos, slowing everything down. Video compression — or reducing the overall size of a file or clip — can solve this problem, helping you speed up workflows, make large files more manageable, and share video easily. Adobe Media Encoder provides an easy way to compress video file size with as little visible quality loss as possible and without changing the aspect ratio.


Video file size compression: lossless vs. lossy.

To reduce file size, you can use two types of compression — lossless and lossy. What’s the difference between the two formats? Lossless compression is a way to reduce file size without losing quality — this is what happens anytime you create a ZIP file. In this scenario, the original data is preserved, and nothing is thrown out. On the other hand, lossy compression shrinks the file size by throwing out unnecessary data.


You’ll want to choose the lossless compression format if you need to preserve your video in its original quality. However, if a similar copy is “good enough,” lossy compression can make your video files even smaller, which in turn can make sharing them more manageable.

How to reduce video file size.

In general, there are a number of ways that you can reduce the file size of a video, such as: 

●      Changing the format

●      Trimming the video

●      Decreasing the resolution

●      Reducing the bitrate

●      Using a free video compressor tool

Why a smaller file size is the right video size.

Resize videos for better workflow.

If you are working with high-resolution source files, such as 4K video, reducing the file size of videos also saves time in production. Many video files, like those from a high-end camera, are large and can demand a lot from your machine while you edit, whether you work in Windows or on a Mac. You might create proxy files, which use a lower data rate but maintain the aspect ratio, for a smoother editing experience. Compress video files to a more manageable format like MP4, helping make your workflow more efficient. Then, when you export, Media Encoder will automatically switch back to using your high-resolution sources.


Smaller videos help your viewers.

Most social media sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, will make your video smaller for playback across a variety of devices when you upload it. But if you plan to host the video yourself or want it smaller to share the file more easily, reducing the size of video files is helpful for your audience. While some large high-resolution files might play well on high-quality PCs, content creators also have to remember that many people watch videos on smartphones, on older PCs, or with slower Wi-Fi or cellular connections. If you’re uploading content, you want to publish the best video quality possible at a size that’s accessible to the largest possible audience. You can reduce the file’s resolution or data rate to help with this.

How to create proxy files in Media Encoder.

At the beginning of your edit, you may need to create proxies of large 4K files. These smaller alternate files will make your editing process easier.

1. Bring your large 4K files into Media Encoder.

2. Choose the files you want to reduce and apply a preset that uses a smaller resolution such as 1080p or 720p. Note: 720p will typically allow a faster workflow.

3. Create a new folder for your proxies. They will have the same file names as the original footage, so a new folder is necessary.

4. Set the output location for your proxies to the folder you just created.

5. In the queue of files, click Play, and your proxies will export to the new folder. You’ll have smaller files that are easier to work with in editing.


Explore this user guide for a more detailed explanation of how to create an ingest and proxy workflow in Premiere Pro, including what presets are recommended for the fastest workflow.

How to export videos in Media Encoder.

After you’ve completed your editing, you need to use a video compressor before sharing your work. Media Encoder can help you encode files to make them easier to distribute.

1. Import your video file into Media Encoder. Most of the time, this import will be from a video editor like Premiere Pro

2. If you cannot find a preset for your social media site of choice, use the H.264 format. It is the most common way to encode video content, and all major sites, apps, operating systems, and internet browsers support it.

3. Find the Media Encoder preset that corresponds to where you want to publish your video. For example, if you’re going to post on YouTube, use one of the YouTube presets, which will quickly and easily provide you with the video format necessary for that platform.

4.  Set the file location for your output video and click the green arrow in the upper-right corner to start the encoding process

With these steps, Media Encoder can help you quickly streamline your workflow to create and convert videos with the best quality for your audience. 

Video compression FAQ.

What settings can you change to make a file size smaller?

Lowering frame rate and resolution will make a file size smaller. Keep in mind as you adjust your frame rate that broadcast television is 24fps–30fps, and HD media is around 50fps.

Why should you compress your video files?

Compressing videos makes files easier to upload, store, edit, and manage. Smaller files are nearly always less demanding on bandwidth and system resources.

Which video formats are the most common to convert to?

MP4, MOV, AVI, and MKV are the most common video formats. YouTube uses MP4 and AVI. MP4 is the most popular format.

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