Video Transcoding for Optimal Storage Size

By: IC

If you want to be able to save a lot of videos in your hard drive and keep good quality on each and every one of those files then you will need to use some video transcoding tricks which include the use of codecs and audio compression as well. In order to optimize the file size of your videos we will have to separate the two streams found in such files, let's start by analyzing the video stream.

When it comes to video compression the best containers to use are: AVI, WMV and MKV -- we are not going to suggest the MPEG-1 format which is used in VCDs because the compression used by this container is not very efficient and the video quality is not that great, but if you prefer this particular container to encode your videos with you or more than welcome to do so.

The AVI video stream can be optimized by using either the DivX or Xvid codec in order to increase the quality and compression of your video file, you will need a bit rate calculator in order to find out the file size after using a certain bitrate, this calculation also takes into account the audio compression that you will use, if the bit rate calculator that you use doesn't include the audio stream you can assume that an MP3 audio file will range between 50 to 100 MB for an hour and a half movie, if you are planning to store this video in a CD this means that you will have between 600 MB to use for the video stream.

If you have captured an hour and a half of video using your camcorder you can set the video bit rate at around 900 to 1100 kbps and your MP3 file at 128 kbps we should be good enough to produce a file which is close to 700 MB, this particular file size is also optimal if you want to keep your videos on your hard drive.

If you have 100 GB of hard drive space you will be able to store around 142 movies which should be good enough to keep a lifetime of memories that you have captured using your camcorder. Other very efficient video containers to use in order to maximize the quality of your files and reduce the size of them are WMV and MKV however, if you decide to use the MKV or Matroska container you will have to download a special video player such as video Lan or VLC.

Please note that we have not suggested the use of MPEG-2 due to the fact that such container requires a very high bit rate in order to maintain video quality which sacrifices the file size, the average size of a 1 1/2 hour recording using the MPEG-2 container would require an average bit rate of 4000 kbps which will take close to 5 GB of space for a single file, as you can see this file size is not very friendly unless you're planning to burn the resulting video file into a DVD or high-density Blu-ray disc.

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