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How do I compress a MPEG for the web?

Low quality is a sacrifice I’m willing to make!

2:25 pm on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hello everyone,

I have just converted a VOB to an MPEG for use on the web but my resulting file is 255 megs. I would like to have two different versions of this available online for people to download. One full size version, all 255 megs and another small version for those who can’t wait.

I understand that a compressed MPEG is going to look like junk but that is fine. I don’t even mind if it is YouTube quality as long as it is fast and easy for my users. Those who want quality can sit through the long download.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to compress this MPEG perhaps with some Freeware?

Thank you all,


9:58 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

1. Save the camcorder file (chapter) to your hard drive using the software that came with your particular camcorder. Mine saved as a MPEG file.

2. Open Windows Movie Maker.

3. Import the file by clicking on “File”, then “Import into Collections”.

4. At the bottom third of the screen, click on “Show Storyboard”.

5. Click and drag the imported clip down into the first frame of the storyboard.

6. Click on “File”, then “Save Movie File …”

7. Choose “My Computer” and click “Next”.

8. Enter the file name and location for the saved movie, then click “Next”. I would suggest something like “movie_name_1”. I also let the files store under “My Videos” since it is the default setting, and then move the file(s) into a new folder at a later time using Windows Explorer.

9. Choose “Best quality for playback on my computer (recommended)”, then click “Next”.

10. Click “Finish”. It will save the MPEG as a WMV file. The display size will be 720 x 576 pixels. Just by saving the original MPEG to WMV (Windows Media Video) this one time, the file size was reduced from 37,000 KB to 9,715 KB! This example was for a 40 second video clip.

11. Now, delete the original MPEG file from the “Collections” that was imported.

12. Then, import the newly saved WMV file (i.e. “movie_name_1”).

13. Repeat steps 4-8, but rename the new file (i.e. “movie_name_2”). However, this time choose “Best fit to file size” or “Other settings”. If you choose best “Best fit to file size”, you can manually reduce the file size. As this occurs, you can view the reduction in the size of the file, as well as the display size at the bottom of the pop-up window. If you choose “Other settings”, there is a drop-down menu with (18) options, depending on the intended application, each with differing transfer rate and display size.

Here are some examples of smaller files I saved using the first WMV file:

“movie_name_2”: With “High Quality Video (small)”, the display size will reduce to 320 x 240 pixels @ 2,150 KB. Quality is very good.

b. “movie_name_3”: With “Video for Broadband (340 kbps)”, the display size will also reduce to 320 x 240 pixels, but the file size will only be 1,750 KB. Quality is still good.

c. “movie_name_4”: With “Video for Broadband (150 kbps)”, the display size will also reduce to 320 x 240 pixels, but the file size will only be 760 KB. Quality is fair, but definitely reduced.

d. “movie_name_5”: With a transfer rate of (48 kbps), the display size will only be 160 x 120 pixels and the file size only 260 KB, but the quality is really diminished at this level.

While you still have the imported file “movie_name_1” in “Collections”, repeat the “Save Movie File…” process several times; reducing each saved file as you repeat steps 4-8. That way you can have a half-dozen or so files of the same video clip to choose from. Perhaps you can offer choices for your users, depending on their internet connection speed and computer hardware/software configuration.

In the above example, I was able to take a huge camcorder file (33,000 KB – MPEG format) and reduce it down to around 2,000 KB (or smaller) – WMV format). I think the “High Quality Video (small)” would be a great choice for users with high-speed internet access. The quality is really good at this level. For a 52 kbps connection, probably offering the (150 kbps) would be the best compromise between a long download time, and yet still offer some video quality.

The Windows Movie Maker program can obviously do much more then just compress video files for use on your website. For a good source of information on Windows Movie Maker, check out “Microsoft Windows Movie Maker Tips, Tutorials, Forums and More …” at [windowsmoviemakers.net...]

Using Windows Movie Maker makes compressing digital MPEG videos a "no brainer" I made the following videos using my new Panasonic VDR-M50PP DVD camcorder. It uses DVD-RAM disks that are RW, so you can delete unwanted scenes. DVD-R is recordable only, so once it is stored, it's on the disk forever.

By using the Windows Movie Maker, I cut and spliced two separate chapters downloaded from the DVD-RAM disk, resulting in a 28 second movie. I even added text and a scene transition. Remember, both of these videos started out as huge MPEG files. Check them out:

1. High quality video (small): 1,280 KB; bit rate (512 Kbps); display 320 x 240 pixels. <snip>

2. Video for broadband (150 Kbps): 493 KB; bit rate (158 Kbps); display 320 x 240 pixels. <snip>

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[edited by: limbo at 12:02 pm (utc) on April 20, 2007]

11:00 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just a couple of suggestions and clarifications regarding the post above:

....The display size will be 720 x 576 pixels....

That is a PAL resolution, if you are in the US or other country where NTSC is the Cam/TV format it will be 720x480 .

11. Now, delete the original MPEG file from the “Collections” that was imported.

12. Then, import the newly saved WMV file (i.e. “movie_name_1”).

Why not just use the original? To maintain the quality of video you should use the highest quality source you can use. When you compress a video, you are throwing a lot of information away. Anybody doing this professionally would even consider MPEG a lousy source... WMV is that much worse. Both are meant to be display formats.

I mentioned this in his other thread, if you want more options use Windows Media Encoder. This has a slight learning curve but the encoding settings can be customized.

3:27 pm on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Try getting Apple Quick Time (registered version). It enables files to be exported to various types with various levels of compression. Perhaps you could just use a smaller frame size for the low quality film, that would be a lot smaller.


7:04 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Snapfiles has more than a few freeware converters indexed that will convert mpeg to wmv, qt, xvid, flash (flv). Personally, I needed a solution that would allow people to watch without giving activex warning popups, wouldn't require additional software to be installed, and would allow them to watch without needing to download the whole file before it began. That's why I convert video to flv and just embed the player with video on pages.