tl;dr I want to compress very big video files and start recording them small in the first place.

My goal is to have my video files be small enough that they don't take up all the space in my Mac (and thus can be upload to youtube at some point). Currently they are around 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes long. I record them with the built in iphone video recorder and they are around 5 to 10 GB of size.

I don't need them to be extremely high quality. In the way youtube has quality, I would be fine with something around 480p. Depending on the size of the video 720p is also good, but if the video is to large its not useful for me.

I am not sure if its because the iphone just automatically records in HD, but I would like to turn that off and have videos of size less than 5GB. One way to solve my problem could be to start recording them with no HD. Is it possible to turn down the HD quality from the automatic recording in iphone? Maybe there is an iphone app that already does this? Its crucial that I am able to save them to my actual computer, so whether the app is free or not, I need to upload them to youtube and save them on my mac.

Another route to have small videos from iphone recording could be to compress these videos after I record them. Since, I already have a large collection of extremely large videos of size 5GB to 10GB, compressing them such that I can still watch and listen to their audio is crucial for me. Is there some kind of software for MAC that does this? Free software is always desirable, but I care that they remain watachble, a software compressing software that costs money is also option that I would want to consider.

Are there other ways to achieving these goals:

1) Recording videos and having them be small in the first place? (the length of the videos are going to be around 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. I am willing to compromise on quality but not size, 30 videos of each 1 minutes size is not a solution to my problem).

2) Compressing the video files that I already have on my MAC book pro?

To get a better sense of what my goal is, I would like to have videos of the quality of the following:


The video looks fine and if you download it its of around 123.8 MB and its 30 minutes long. Something of comparable quality (seems like 480 to me) and that size would be perfect. My videos are presentations and stuff like that, their intellectual content is more important than viewing them HD, so something comparable to that quality and size is my goal.

  • 1
    maybe found a partial answer to my question: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/13749/… Nov 6, 2014 at 17:05
  • by looking at that link I started using handbrake. It doesn't decrease the size of the file as much as I wished, however, 1/10 of the size file and good quality for watching, lectures, presentations, etc is fine! Think it works. Now I am tweaking with the quality and its setting. Once I have a setting that makes me happy I will share with the community :) Plus, its free and open source. :D Nov 6, 2014 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


Apple makes a pro app for Mac, Compressor, that can handle this task, but might be overkill. It can handle batch jobs etc.

There is also Roxio Toast which is a DVD burning utility but has a nice suite of tools for video conversion. You could use this to make DVDs or Blu Rays of all those vids and then get them off your system entirely. A Blu Ray burner is around $100-200 these days.

I use Panasonic 50-year-archival BD-R media, which was about $100 for 25 discs that hold 25 GB each whenI bought it last year. I burn all my HD videos to those, then delete it off my computer entirely. Then to watch it just throw that disc into your Sony PS4 or XBOX One, or Blu Ray Player attached to your TV.

Ideally you could do both: archive the big HD files to BD-R for backup purposes and posterity, and keep highly compressed files on the Mac for the occasional viewing.

  • wow, compressor is like $50 (which I am willing to pay). I wonder if Adobe has a similar product cuz I already have lots of Adobe software... Nov 6, 2014 at 17:10
  • why would it be over kill? Nov 6, 2014 at 17:15
  • what is the difference of compressor and handBrake? Nov 6, 2014 at 17:34
  • I wonder if its possible to download it as a demo to see if it does what I want it to do... Nov 6, 2014 at 22:23

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