6 Ways to Make MP4 Smaller at Desired Quality

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Some MP4 files can be unnecessarily large, no matter it is recorded by your mobile phones and cameras, or from other resources. It is nice to make MP4 smaller as these large MP4 files can take up much storage space on your drive, or exceed the size limitations on video-sharing platforms, forums, mobile memory cards, and email attachments.

This post offers you 6 easy ways to make an MP4 file smaller at the quality you desire, with a detailed explanation on the factors that influence the video file size and quality. You can also quickly follow these tried-and-true methods without knowing the science behind them.

Method 1. Use More Efficient Codec to Make MP4 Smaller

This method is best for: Users who want to make an MP4 file smaller in 1-click, preserving the same quality, without the need to manually adjust parameters or learn about terms in video compression.

Analysis: The MP4 video you have at hand can be encoded with many kinds of codecs, such as H264 (AVC), H265 (HEVC), and many versions of MPEG-4. The compression efficiency varies depending on the codecs and how it works.

For instance, H265 (HEVC) can achieve a 25% to 50% video file size reduction (according to Wikipedia on HEVC) while maintaining the same image quality. In some cases, it can hit up to a 64% reduction at 4K.

Therefore, if your MP4 video is non-HEVC, you can convert it to HEVC using dedicated Video Processing Software. In this tutorial, we will use VideoProc Converter, which is a one-stop toolkit for video codec changing (transcoding), compression, conversion, basic editing, downloading, and recording.

VideoProc Vlogger Interface

Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Step 1. Free download and install VideoProc Converter for Windows or for Mac.

Step 2. Go to the Video module from the main interface and drag-and-drop the MP4 file.

VideoProc Vlogger Interface

You can add multiple MP4 files at once, as this tool supports batch tasks.

Step 3. In the Target Format section, choose HEVC MP4 as the output profile.

Choose HEVC as Output

If you haven't spotted the HEVC profile at the bottom section, you can click on Target Format to find it.

Step 4. Select the output folder and click Run to make MP4 smaller on Windows and Mac.

Once the task is done, the folder containing the output MP4 will pop out. You can see the file size reduced significantly while the quality remains the same.

Note: if your original video is already HEVC-encoded, you can go on with the following method to further compress the video. All the following features are supported in VideoProc Converter.

Method 2. Use the Quality Control Option in Codec Settings

Best for: Users who prefer to simply choose the Quality Level of the video to make MP4 smaller, and users who already have HEVC MP4 video and want to further compress the file. And thanks to the advanced compression algorithms in VideoProc Converter, even if you choose low or medium quality level, the output image quality will be nice enough at a significantly reduced file size.

Analysis: The data in the video is measured by bits. 1byte equals 8 bits, and MB/GB (or MiB/GiB) that we usually see when describing video file size stands for megabytes and gigabytes.

To make an MP4 file smaller is to reduce the bitrate (bits per second), and that's what the Quality Control option does. Reducing bitrate doesn't entail that the image quality will be decreased, since many data are redundant or the change is unperceivable for human eyes.

Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Step 1. Download and install VideoProc Converter, go to the Video module from its home screen, and add MP4 videos into it.

Step 2. Choose a preferred output format.

Choose Target Format

Step 3. Click the Codec option, and in the Quality section, drag the slider to decide the degree of quality you prefer.

Choose Codec Settings Option

The Codec option is the Gear Icon at the right side of each added video.

Video Quality Control

Drag the slider to control the quality. You can refer to the estimated file size while changing the quality.

Step 4. Click done to confirm the codec settings and hit Run to start reducing MP4 file size.

Method 3. Change the Bitrate to Reduce MP4 File Size

Best for: Users knowing the bitrate they are targeting at, for instance, go with the recommended uploading bitrate for YouTube; anyone who love to reduce video size by controlling the bitrate, using VBR, ABR, or CBR based on specific cases; and anyone who also want to perverse best quality using 2-pass encoding.

Analysis: this method can be seen as a step further of method 2. In the previous method, when you drag the Quality slider, the Target Bit Rate (kbps) changes. Now in method 3, you can set the desired bitrate, and choose the bitrate mode. High bitrate produces large MP4 files, and at a given bit rate, the image quality ranks as: VBR (Auto Calculate mode in VideoProc Converter) > ABR > CBR.

Step 1. Go to the Video module in VideoProc Converter, and add MP4 videos into the workspace.

Step 2. Click the Gear icon to open up the Codec Settings panel, and manage Quality and Bitrate settings.

Select Bitrate Mode
  • Auto Calculate mode (Variable Bitrate): drag the quality slider to control the bitrate. Higher quality corresponds to a higher bitrate and a lower CRF value. You also have the option to enable 2-pass encoding to better distribute the bitrate for different frames.
  • ABR (Average Bitrate): ABR is also a form of variable bitrate. It aims to reach an average bitrate set by the target while varying the bitrate among different parts of the video. If you want the final file size to be predictable whiling enjoying the merits of VBR, then ABR can be a suitable choice. It is recommended to turn on 2-pass encoding for better quality. Sets the target Bit Rate at a lower value to reduce MP4 file size.
  • CBR (Constant Bitrate): if you are required to deliver a CBR MP4 video file for specific situations, you can choose this mode, and lower down the bitrate value to make MP4 smaller.

For general users, Auto Calculate is more frequently used than ABR and CBR. If you don't know which one to choose, going with the default Auto Calculate is the no-brainer choice, as the presets in VideoProc Converter are tailored for the best output at the designated quality level.

For techie persons, you can adjust parameters to achieve a desired overall bitrate.

For your reference, below is a chart of recommended bitrate for different resolutions, and the corresponding smaller MP4 file compressed by VideoProc Converter.

Type Video Bitrate CBR (1 Min) VBR H265/High Quality (1 Min) VBR H264/High Quality (1 Min) VBR H264/Default Quality (1 Min)

2160p (4K)

35–45 Mbps

262.5–337.5 MB

26.75-34.4 MB

80.58–103.6 MB

40.6–52.8 MB

1440p (2K)

16 Mbps

120 MB

20.88 MB

58.4 MB

35.92 MB

1080p

8 Mbps

60 MB

17.32 MB

44.8 MB

29.56 MB

720p

5 Mbps

37.5 MB

7.48 MB

18.76 MB

16.25 MB

480p

2.5 Mbps

18.75 MB

3.02 MB

17.28 MB

15.16 MB

The original file is a 1 minute 1920x1080@30FPS H264-encoded video, file size 129.2 MB.

After processing with VideoProc Converter (VBR H265 High Quality), the MP4 file size is reduced to 17.32 MB, which takes up only 13.4% storage space compared to the original file, without any perceivable quality loss.

As you can see, if you have 100GB MP4 videos, now the files can be reduced to 13.4GB, saving a whopping 86.6GB.

  • Columns 1 and 2: YouTube's official recommended uploading bitrate.
  • Column 3. Corresponding file size at that bitrate using CBR.
  • Column 4. Make MP4 smaller with VideoProc Converter, VBR High Quality, H265/HEVC encoding.
  • Column 5. Make MP4 smaller via VideoProc Converter, VBR High Quality. H264/AVC encoding.
  • Column 6. Use default quality (medium quality), other parameters remain the same as column 5.

Note: Depending on the specific case of the video, the resolution, color, how much motion is involved, frame rate and so on, the output file size is related to that specific video. However, you can still use the chart as a reference to get the basic idea.

Method 4. Change Video Resolution to Make MP4 Smaller

Best for: When you want to make MP4 smaller on Windows/Mac without specific requirements on high resolutions. For instance, 4K can be too large for tablet and mobile screens.

Analysis: You can check the video properties to learn about its resolution, and decide whether you prefer to downscale the video. Make sure to keep the aspect ratio the same as the original file. You can refer to the list of resolutions for 16:9 aspect ratio and that for 4:3.

Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Step 1. Install and launch VideoProc Converter, go to Video Module and import your MP4 files.

Step 2. Set target format and click the Gear Icon to go into Codec Settings.

Step 3. The program will display the source resolution and aspect ratio. Choose a lower resolution, and make sure to keep the aspect ratio.

Change Resolution to Make MP4 Smaller

Step 4. Click Done and Run the program to get a smaller MP4 file on Windows or Mac.

Method 5. Adjust Frame Rate to Make MP4 Smaller

Best for: Videos with High FPS such as 60, 120, 240 FPS. If high frame rate is not your priority concern, you can reduce the video to lower frame rate.

Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Step 1. Add MP4 to VideoProc Converter > Video Module.

You can click the information icon to check detailed info about the original video, including FPS and its mode.

Check Framerate of the Original Video

Step 2. Select the target format and go to the codec settings (gear-shaped icon), and change the frame rate.

Change Frame Rate

Step 3. Click the blue button to start making an MP4 smaller on Windows 11/10/8/7/11 and Mac. You can do batch tasking too.

Method 6. Trim and Crop Unwanted Parts to Make Mp4 Smaller

Best for: When there are unwanted black bars, any part of the video (beginning, ending, in the middle) that you prefer to delete, or crop landscape to square video by cropping.

Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Step 1. Import MP4 to VideoProc Converter in the Video Module.

Step 2. Set the target output format.

Step 3. Click Cut from the tool bar to remove unwanted parts to reduce video length, or use the Crop tool to remove unwanted portions of the image.

Cut Video to Make MP4 Smaller

Using the Cut tool to delete unwanted sections from the video and thus make it smaller.

Crop Video to Reduce File Size

Using the Crop tool from the tool bar to remove unwanted parts of the image.

Caution: You can also use other tools available on your computer to make MP4 smaller on Windows 11/10. However, note that some utilities might increase the file size. For instance, if you trim video using the default video editor on Windows, you will find the trimmed video becomes larger than the original file.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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