Making big video files smaller, or encoding the easy way

I just mentioned a neat site that allows you to share videos without letting the whole internet see them. But there’s a problem, the videos have to be under 50mb. I know that the majority of my videos are done on my digital camera or my cellphone, and even at the poor resolutions these devices use file sizes can quickly grow well beyond the 50mb limit set by Vox.

Here’s an easy solution. Video encoding is taking a video file and changing the resolution, bit-rate, or even file type so that it can be played with certain “decoders” or media players. There are several applications available for doing this, but one of the best (read free) and easiest I’ve found is MediaCoder. Even with the default settings MediaCoder took a 50mb video and converted it into a 2.5mb file for uploading to Vox. The only downside I can find with MediaCoder is that it is updated pretty regularly and if you want the best results you’ll need to check the website for updates pretty often. And that’s just nit-picking, I actually prefer updates and improvements over a product that gets released and then is never touched again.

So, if you’re looking to share videos online, or just want to save some room on that hard drive, get working on encoding those video files to a more efficient type of file. Just remember, while you can and will lose some quality if your settings aren’t set right or you try to compress them too small, you can never improve the quality above what the original file had. This is off the subject, but I’ve had some people come to me complaining that they didn’t hear any improvements when they converted their mp3 collection to lossless audio… well of course not, you started with mp3’s, the information that was lost when creating the mp3’s isn’t going to magically reappear! You need good source to get good finished product.

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