Compressing a video without compromising the video quality can sometimes seem like an insurmountable challenge. You have to consider factors that can affect a video’s file size, such as its resolution, bitrate, and encoding. Fortunately, there are many online and downloadable programs you can use to compress a video.

How to Compress a Video

You can opt to reduce its resolution, download a video file in a lower quality, compress a video into a .zip file, or share it as a link. You can also trim it, especially if you only need a specific or short part from a much larger video.

Below, we’re sharing a few ways on how to compress a video file and how to compress a video for email.

Using Tools

You can use tools such as Shotcut, VLC, and QuickTime to compress a video.


Shotcut provides a relatively easy way to compress a video.

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Open Shotcut on your laptop or PC, and click the “Open File” button, so you can select the video file you’re going to compress. Click “Export” to export the file in a new format. Clicking it will give you a variety of compression options. If you’re unsure which one to choose, you can go with the H.264 Baseline Profile, which compresses the video without fully compromising its overall quality. Moreover, you can explore Shotcut’s other features and play around with the Resolution and Aspect Ratio fields.

After selecting the best compression option for your needs, click “Export File.” Then, select the location where the new file will be saved. A menu labeled “Jobs” will appear. When the video file says “Done,” you can then close the program.

If you’re planning on sending a video via email, we recommend that you go for the MP4 format.

Note that if you choose a lower-quality output, then your resolution will be adjusted automatically.


Aside from being a versatile media player, VLC also doubles as a video compressing tool. To compress a video using VLC, open the program and click on the Media button. Then, select “Convert/Save.” Click “Add,” so you can select one or more files to be compressed.

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Click on the “Convert/Save” button again to open the Convert Box. From there, you can view the Profile dropdown menu that lets you select your preferred conversion type.

If you want to further reduce the video’s size, you can change its resolution via the Video Codec tab. From there, you can explore the other tabs under it and adjust the bitrate, frame rate, and scale accordingly.

Click the Save button, and select where you’re going to save the file. Click the Start button on the menu to begin the compression process.


Mac users can use the built-in QuickTime player to compress a video.

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Open the program and click “File,” then select “Open File” to load the video of your choice. Click “Export As” to view the options for conversion. Compared to other programs, QuickTime only has a limited number of formats, which include 4K, 1080p, 720p, and 480p.

Alternatively, you can use online video compressors, which can either be a free or paid service. Note that some online video compression services may have a limit on the file size for uploads. Moreover, the larger the file size, the longer it may take for the program to compress it. If you want a more in-depth guide on video editing, we’ve written an article on how to edit videos on Windows and Mac. To help you choose the right video editing software, we’ve also written an article on the best video editing software.

Adjusting the Video File

Aside from using tools to compress the file, you can also make adjustments to the video file itself.

Shorten the Video

If you’re using a Mac device, you can shorten the video using iMovie.

Open iMovie, and click on the arrow located at the top left corner of the menu bar. Select the file you want to edit, and click on the My Movie tab. Choose the portion of the video you intend to use, and click on the plus icon (+) to add a section.

To begin exporting a smaller file size for emails, click “File” on the menu bar, and select Share. From the dropdown menu, click on “Email” and select Small to get a smaller file size.

For Windows users, you can shorten a video using the Photos app. To begin, right-click your selected video file and select “Open with.” Click “Photos” from the selection. Select “Trim,” which you can find on the upper-right corner of the window. Select the video portion you wish to use by toggling the white sliders found at the bottom part. After selecting a portion, click “Save a copy” on the upper-right part of the window. From there, you can rename the trimmed version.

Turn It into a GIF

GIFs are short snippets that are often derived from popular films or TV shows. Aside from being short (only a few seconds long), they also have a very small file size. There are numerous online converters that let you turn your video into a GIF to significantly reduce its file size.

Popular platforms include Giphy, Make a GIF, EzGIF, GIFMaker, Biteable, and even Photoshop.

Download a Low-Quality File

One of the easiest things you can do to ensure that you get a small video file size is to download the file in a lower quality or resolution. You can download the MP4 version of videos or export them at 720p or lower to get a smaller file size.

Compressing a Video for Email

Emails have a file limit for attachments, whether you’re planning to send a document or video. When attaching a video to an email, you’re often beset with a file size problem, as videos typically exceed the 25MB file limit. Here are several ways on how to compress a video for email:

Use a Cloud Service

Cloud services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, enable you to easily share large files, including video files. Select your preferred service, and start uploading your files to the cloud. From there, you can share the generated link via email.

You can also use a file-sharing service like WeTransfer or ShareIt to share your compressed video files. Alternatively, you can upload your video on YouTube, tag it as “private,” and proceed to share the link with your acquaintances in a number of ways, including via email and social media. To help you make the most out of YouTube, we’re sharing some of the best YouTube video editing software you can use.

Compress the Video into a .zip File

To compress a video into a .zip file, right-click your video file, and select “Send To.” From the dropdown menu, choose “Compressed (zipped) folder,” and follow the steps to successfully compress your file if you’re using Windows.

For Mac users, right-click on the file and choose “Compress [video file name].” Similar to Windows, you only need to follow the steps to successfully compress your video into a .zip file.

Final Thoughts

Compressing videos has gotten easier. We’re no longer constricted by file size limits for attachments and uploads. Over the years, we’ve become more creative at coming up with solutions that enable us to share a wide range of videos with family, friends, and colleagues. Don’t be afraid to try any of the above mentioned methods, and let us know which one works best for you.

Happy sharing!