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How to Compress a Video for Email

Typically, uncompressed video files are large and take a long time to upload. If you want to send a movie to a few friends, you’re either forced to split them up across multiple messages or pay for a cloud storage subscription. Either way, it’s inconvenient for both the sender and recipient. Learning how to compress a video for email is a useful skill when sharing home movies and smaller versions of your creative projects. There are a few options for reducing a video’s size, including archive software like WinRar and Zipeg, and the built-in video editing programs for Windows and Mac. Below, we’ve outlined how to compress a video for email without sacrificing quality. 

Using a Zip Program
This is probably the easiest fix for sending a video file, but compression can only reduce a file’s size by so much. If you’re using Windows, we recommend downloading a free version of WinZip or WinRar. Apple OS X comes with a built-in program called Archive Utility, so you probably won’t need to download additional software if you’re a Mac user.

After you’ve installed the archive software, right-click on the video file you want to compress. On Windows, there should be a “Compress and email” option on the list. Clicking it will open up your default mail program. Your video will already be compressed and attached to the message — all you need to do is enter the recipient’s email address and press “Send”.

Meanwhile on OS X, right-clicking the video will bring up a different list of options. Select “Compress [file]” to create a new .zip file, and then visit your favorite email client to draft your message.

Using Windows Movie Maker
With Movie Maker, optimizing a video for email is fairly straightforward. First, open the program and import the video file. Then drag the file to your main timeline at the bottom of the screen. 

Next, you’re going to export the video file with new size settings. To do this, go to the File tab and choose “Save Movie File”. You’ll be taken through a few dialog prompts for the new file. When you get to Movie Setting, enable the “Other Settings” bubble and then select “Video for broadband”. Around 340 Kpbs is an ideal bitrate for sending via email. When you’re happy with the settings, go ahead and finish the saving process.  

Using iMovie
Exporting an email-friendly video file with iMovie is just as easy. Open a new project, and then drag the video file onto the Clips tab located on the right. This will import the video into iMovie. When it finishes, drag the clip onto the main timeline. Your video clip is now part of the project.

Next, you’re going to export the project with suitable video quality for email. Go to the Share tab on the top menu and select “QuickTime”. A dialog box will appear with a dropdown option called “Compress movie for”, and you’ll want to choose “Email” or “Web Streaming” (depending on your desired quality). Before clicking “Share”, you’ll be able to see the estimated video size within the dialog box. Save your work, and share away.

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