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How to compress videos on Windows 10 with Handbrake

Videos are large files. If you need to upload them, or send them over email etc., you will find that the size is often an obstacle. Many video sharing platforms automatically compress videos to save space and so that they load much faster when they’re being watched. If you need to compress videos on Windows 10, you’re spoiled for choice. If you want to compress videos without losing too much quality, Handbrake is the tool for the job. It can crop videos, convert them, and compress them in good quality.

Lossless compression

Lossless compression does exist but you’re unlikely to get it with Handbrake if you’re trying to reduce the size of the file. To a great extent, it depends on the format that you convert a compressed video to. If you’re using MP4, for example, you’re using a lossy format. That said, compression doesn’t always mean the video quality is going to be terrible. There will be some loss in quality but often, it’s hard to tell.

Compress videos with Handbrake

Download, install, and run Handbrake. Add the video that you want to compress to the app.

Once the video has been added, you have to choose the format the compressed video will be in. You can select it from Presets. It’s a good idea to compress based on how the video is going to be used e.g., if you’re going to upload it to YouTube, use one of the web presets. There’s also the Matroska presets which will convert to the MKV format. The MKV format is excellent for high quality, small size videos but not all apps and platforms support it.

After selecting a preset, go to the Video tab. Here, you need to make two important decisions; select a codec, and select a framerate.

Generally speaking, you should not change the framerate. A smaller framerate means a somewhat  choppier video. It’s something that might be noticeable. Try compressing at the current frame rate and see what size the output video is. If it’s still too big, you can try reducing the framerate.

The codec is what will compress the file and the better it is, the less loss in quality there will be. The supported codecs are MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, and H.265. H.265 is the best one so try using that first.

You can start compression now however, it’s a good idea to set compression conditions for the audio in the video as well. Go to the Audio tab and select which codec you want to use. You have the option to change the bitrate of the audio as well but unless you’re  going for a really small file, it’s best to leave it as is.

That’s about it. Select where you want to save the output file and click Start Encode. It’s always a good idea to save the compressed file as a copy. Compression cannot be undone so having the original file is best should you want to compress it on different parameters. The larger the file, the longer compression will take.

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