How to Reduce Video File Size

Even though computers keep getting faster and hard drive space keeps getting cheaper, video files can still be unwieldy to share on the Internet. Typically, raw video files are too large for the web, so you’ll need to optimize them first. Learning how to reduce video file size is important when it comes to uploading content to a personal website, sending it via email, or adding it to your YouTube channel. Below, we’ve outlined how to reduce video file size using Apple and Microsoft’s built-in editing software.  


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Using Apple iMovie

  1. First, open iMovie and find the video file that you’d like to resize. If it hasn’t been imported into the program, you can add it by going to the File tab on the top bar and clicking “Import Media”. Locate it within the directory and choose “Import Selected”. 

  2. Next, drag the imported video into the iMovie timeline, which is on the bottom-half of the screen. It doesn’t matter where the video came from or which program you originally used to edit it — iMovie will treat the video like any other project. 

  3. Now, you can export the video at a new size. Click the Share button in the top right corner (it looks like a box with an arrow pointing up) and select “Export Movie”. A new dialog box will appear, allowing you to edit the file name, resolution, and overall quality. 

  4. If you want to save the video as a Quicktime file, select the “Export Using Quicktime…” option instead. Here, you’ll also be able to specify the video format, frame rate, image size, and more. When you’re happy with the settings, click “Export”.  


Using Windows Movie Maker

  1. Just like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker is a free and easy-to-use program for editing videos. It also offers a fast way to tweak a video’s file size. First, look at the left panel and choose the “Import video” option under the Capture Video heading. Locate the video and then double-click on it.

  2. Your newly imported video should now be visible in the “Collection”, which is the large panel on the right. To officially add it to the project, drag the thumbnail onto the main timeline. 

  3. Now, it’s time to save your video as a new file. Look for the Finish Movie heading in the left panel and choose the “Save to my computer” option. This will open the Save Movie Wizard, which has a few settings for the video’s file size.  

  4. First, choose a name for your new file and click “Next”. A new box called Movie Setting will appear, allowing you to choose “Best quality for playback on my computer”, “Best fit to file size”, and “Other settings”. 

  5. Selecting “Best fit to file size” will allow you to pick a specific size (i.e. 10 MB) and the program will optimize the video to fit within those constraints. Likewise, “Other settings” allows you to choose a video resolution for specific applications. When you’re happy with the settings, click “Finish” to save your modified video file. 

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