4K monitors are the next big thing in display but without video that’s been shot and processed to display 4K, your monitor isn’t going to be able to do much. If you produce video content, you not only need a good tool to edit it post-production, you also need a way to reduce file size for big 4K videos so that they can be shared online.
Reduce file size for 4K videos
When it comes to reducing video size with the aim to keep the quality at 4K, or near 4K, it’s key to use the right app to process it. It’s also important to understand that while lots of different cameras can record 4K video, they don’t all process them the same way which is why some cameras may output larger video while others record videos that are smaller in size.
Video compression plays a major role in how large, or how small your final video is. With 4K videos becoming more common, video compression has been improving. If your 4K video is too large to upload or share easily, you should check which compression standard you’re using.
What you want to use is the HEVC or H.265 compression instead of the older AVC or H.264 compression which gives you larger files. If you have a large 4K video, this compression standard will reduce the bit rate without reducing the quality of the video and thus give you a smaller file. To compress a video file using HEVC or H.265, you need an app that supports this compression standard. You can reduce the bit rate on the AVC/H.264 standard as well however, the resulting video will be of inferior quality.
Trim and cut
A somewhat radical approach to reducing the size of a large 4K video is to trim unnecessary footage, and cut out the parts that aren’t relevant. A little editing goes a long way to reduce file size and when you remove even a few seconds of footage from a 4K video, the overall impact on the size is considerable. Combine this with the previous method i.e., use HEVC compression and you can keep your 4K video reasonably small. Again, any old video splitting app will not do. You need an app that, once it trims your video to your liking, can save it on the same compression standard.
If your videos was originally encoded in HEVC but the app you used to trim it down saved the edited video using the AVC compression standard, your output file might actually end up being bigger than the original file that had more video.
If the audio that accompanies your video isn’t important, you can always remove it and your video’s size will be reduced considerably. This is of course the rare case where the footage is good but the audio is mostly noise that adds little to the video itself but it is nevertheless a trick that works.
Reduce audio bit rate
Understandably, removing audio is only going to work in rare cases so what you can do instead is reduce bit rate for the audio that accompanies the video. Audio quality, like video quality, depends on bit rate and like video, the bit rate for audio can be reduced. You can reduce it to some extent without compromising the quality. In fact, as far as bit rate goes, you can get away with a much lower bit rate for audio than you can with video before the difference is noticeable. More importantly, reducing the bit rate for the audio accompanying a video will have an impact on the entire video and you can expect a major reduction in the file size. The video itself can still be saved as a 4K video but because the audio will be of a slightly lower quality, your video file will be smaller.
You can reduce the bit rate for the audio in one of two ways; you can extract the audio from the video and use an app like Audacity to reduce the bit rate or, you can use an app like VideoProc that can reduce the bit rate for an audio file directly without having to extract it from the video first.
Reduce frame rate
Frame rate per second is a measure of a video’s quality. The higher the frame rate, the smoother your video will play however many people, particularly in the gaming community, argue that after a certain frame rate, the human eye can no longer detect the difference. For avid gamers, a high FPS is important but if you just want to share a good quality 4K video that people an easily stream, you can reduce the frame rate to something more reasonable.
This is also where it’s important to explain that the frame rate of a video is not the same as its resolution. A 4K video is more pixel dense with more detail in a single frame than say a video that is 1080p. Frame rate on the other hand deals with the number of frames captured in one second of a video. To the human eye, a video doesn’t exactly separate itself into individual frames but a video is essentially multiple frames playing in rapid sequence. The human eye can, arguably, not detect when a video has more than 60 frames per second so if your video has been recorded in 80 or 120 frames per second, consider reducing it to 60 and be mindful of the compression standard you use.
VideoProc for reducing 4K video size
The methods listed above to reduce file size for big 4K videos requires an app that supports the right compression standard, has video editing capabilities, can edit audio, and more. There are apps out there that can do all this and we mentioned one of them; Audacity. For video editing, you can use the popular Handbrake app. Both apps are free however, they’re not exactly easy to figure out. These apps offer fine-grained control over aspects of audio and video files that you don’t need if you’re looking to make a 4K video file more manageable in terms of size.
A much simpler option is to use VideoProc. It not only supports the HEVC/H.265 compression standard but it also supports a decent number of other ones as well which, if you ever need to, you can use. Additionally, the app can edit audio in a video, and it can edit audio files separately. One major, under-the-hood advantage of using this app over apps like Handbrake is that you can pick the GPU it uses and thus control which system resources are utilized to convert videos.
To compress videos on the HEVC/H.265 standard, click the video button at the top and add the video you want to compress. If you have multiple videos that need to be compressed, move them all to the same folder and then add the folder from the Video Folder button at the top.
At the bottom, you will see different tabs that let you select the compression format. Go to the Video tab and scroll through the listed formats until you find the H.265 or HEVC format.
Once you’ve selected the format, click the Run button at the bottom right to convert the video.
If you want to trim a video before you compress it, add it to VideoProc and, once added, click the cut or crop button under it.
A new window will open where you can cut the video down to a particular part and crop out portions of the screen. You will notice that this same window also lets you add effects to the video and include a watermark. Once you’ve reduced the length of the video, you can return to the main video compression interface and use the HEVC compression standard to compress and save it.
Audio bit rate
To remove audio, or reduce the audio bit rate for the selected video, click the large cog wheel button next to it. This will open a new window that lets you customize various technical aspects of the video. At the very bottom there is a section dedicated to the audio that accompanies the video.
At the bottom right there is a dropdown that lets you change the bit rate for the audio.
If you’d rather just remove the audio from the video, you don’t need to interact with this window. Instead, return to the main video editing interface and click the little arrow button next to the audio detected for the video. Uncheck the audio stream and your video will no longer have any audio.
To reduce the frame rate of a 4K video in VideoProc, add the video to the app and click the large cog wheel button. In the window that opens, there’s a Video Codec Options section. Under this section, you can select the video codec. Under the Video Codec option you will see a Frame Rate(FPS) dropdown. Open it and select the frame rate you want your video to have. Exercise caution here; you can go down to 60 but anything lower than that will be noticeable.
Recording 4K video & screencasts
The above features deal exclusively with reducing the file size of large 4K files however, if you’re looking for a tool that can also record 4K videos via your webcam or record 4K screencasts, VideoProc has you covered. This feature requires that you have the right hardware for it. If your webcam cannot record in 4K, the app won’t add the capability to your hardware. Likewise, if your GPU doesn’t support 4K and you do not have a 4K monitor, it will not be able to record screencasts in 4K.
To record a screencast or a video, return to the app’s home screen and click the Recorder option. Select from the buttons at the top what you want to record; your screen, your webcam, both the screen with PiP feed from your webcam, or both the screen and the webcam but independently of each other. You can record audio from a mic, or from your system’s speakers. You can also choose to silence the audio and crop the recording area to include only a section of your screen.
VideoProc can also burn DVDs and download online videos from various social media sites. There are dedicated buttons for it on the app’s home screen.
Additionally, it can also give you an overview of the hardware on your system and which features of the app you will be able to use with the given hardware.
VideoProc does quite a bit but the screencasting feature is limited in that it doesn’t support multiple monitors. It can only record your main screen. You can work around this limitation by setting the screen you want to record as your primary monitor and use VideoProc to record it. Other than that, it supports a good deal of audio and video codecs and there isn’t a device that it can’t convert video for.
VideoProc has a free version that lets you compress videos that are up to 5 minutes long. You can purchase a lifetime license for $42.95. If you often need to edit and compress large 4K video files, you’ll find this price tag is worth it. The alternative is to use free apps that aren’t user friendly in terms of the interface. Learning to use them is time consuming whereas VideoProc offers professional video editing features that are easy for beginners to use.