The most commonly used video format for online sharing is MP4. It offers a good balance of compression vs quality. This format is also universally playable on most devices, whereas other formats, like WMV (native to PC) or MOV (native to Mac) may require special players or plug-ins.
In the Tech Commons, we currently use a free tool called MPEG Streamclip for the majority of our video conversion and compression tasks. It is available on each of the workstations in CL240 of the Parnassus Library. You can also download and install the application on your own computer.
Note: If you’re having trouble playing a video file, we recommend VLC Player; it’s free, and plays just about anything!
To compress and/or convert a video:
- Open MPEG Streamclip.
- Drag and drop your video file into the center of the MPEG Streamclip player window.
- Select File > Export to MPEG-4.
- Leave Compression set to H.264.
- Drag the Quality slider to the left to increase the compression applied to the video and decrease the size and quality. Drag the slider to the right to decrease the amount of compression applied and increase the size and quality of the video. The higher the quality, the less compressed and larger the video file will be. 65-75 is a good range to select from.
- Choose a Frame Size. 1280×720 (often referred to as “720p”) is a good size for web playback. The choice labeled “unscaled” is your original recording size. Larger frame sizes will produce large files.
- For basic compression, leave the remaining options at the default settings.
- Click Make MP4 to begin compression.
- Type a name for the new file, and select a location to save it to. Click Save.
The conversion process could take some time to complete, depending on the length of the video!