Alright, i'm down to crunch time. I have a video that I have rendered out for something I have to turn in. The submission requires that it be At Most: 200 MB and be one of the following formats:

  • .avi
  • .dv
  • .mov
  • .qt
  • .mp4
  • .mpeg
  • .3pg
  • .asf
  • .wmv
  • .mpg

It's my goal (as is many peoples goal) to preserve as much quality as possible. The problem is, my video is currently 721.99707 MB! Out of the formats, which are the best for me to try? What other methods can I apply to shrink the file size while still trying to keep as much as possible of the original quality.

I'm sure I'll have to use something lossy (as much as I would prefer not). I'm just looking for a best solution, not a God solution if you know what I mean.

Thanks so much!


Sorry, a commenter pointed out some good questions.

  • Current Format: .mov
  • Current Bit Rate: 1135kbps
  • Current Framerate: 30fps
  • Current Resolution: 720 x 480
  • Length: 3 Minutes, 22 Seconds

I would prefer that the resolution not go down any more. It will be viewed in a box about the size of its current resolution, however, if it is necessary, then I will shrink it...

  • What format and codec is the 722MB file? Is it currently in a lossless format or has it already been lossily compressed? What's the resolution, framerate, A/V bitrate? What are the output requirements? Can you reduce the resolution or does it have to be in its current resolution? Apr 13, 2012 at 7:13
  • I assume by .avi, it means some sort of divx codec. Try that.
    – Pygar
    Apr 13, 2012 at 7:15
  • @Lèsemajesté Touche - I've edited my post with the new details.
    – Freesnöw
    Apr 13, 2012 at 7:19
  • How long is that video?
    – Daniel Beck
    Apr 13, 2012 at 7:39
  • 1
    Yep, AVC is a good video codec, though you should have no problem compressing your video into the desired range using almost any modern codec without sacrificing much quality. I've seen 1280x688 video files compressed down to an overall bitrate of 626 Kbps, which is only 0.0764 MB/s. That was using AVC & AAC. If you achieved the same compression ratio, your video would only be about 5.84 MB. Tack on a 96 Kbps audio stream, and you'd just barely top 8.2MB. Apr 13, 2012 at 10:18

2 Answers 2


The formats listed there are simply containers, they have nothing to do with the size of the encoded video.

A container needs to contain video that has been encoded with some kind of codec (and it can then be muxed with audio as well, and maybe some subtitles for good measure depending on the container).

In your case however I would suggest looking at using H264 as your codec inside the mp4 container. H264 (and to some extent MPEG 4 Visual as well) has a very good reputation for retaining video quality even at low bitrates.

The most famous encoder for H264 is x264, which is included in many video encoding applications such as Handbrake, SUPER or even FFmpeg. When you set the quality, don't go for "average bitrate" (since x264 performs poorly there), but rather change the "constant rate factor" setting to get the desired file size.


I would recommend you try to use the video transcoder Handbrake as it is a very good video encoder, and what internet sources I can find state that it is capable of taking in .mov files. It is also an excellent piece of freeware.

Hand brake has a good series of presents and you can play around with settings to get the filesize right with as little loss of quality as possible.

As Turix mentioned h264 is currently the "standard" compression algorithm used and achieves high compression with very good quality video output.

Hand brake can be set to output h264 in an mp4 file so you should be able to use it to do what you are after.

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