4 ways to make a video smaller in Windows 10

Do you have a video that you want to send to someone over the internet, but it is too big to do it via email, chat apps, or other similar services? Do you have to record your homework and upload it on an e-learning platform so that your teacher can grade you? You might stumble upon an annoying size limitation that doesn't let you do that, simply because your Full HD video is too large. Regardless of your reasons, if you want to learn how to make a video smaller, in terms of size, read this guide. We show several different ways to make video files smaller on any Windows PC:

1. How to make a video smaller with the Windows 10 built-in Video Editor app

Windows 10 comes bundled with one handy video editing app called simply Video Editor. Open it and load the video that you want to make smaller, by following the instructions from this guide: 12 things you can do with the Video Editor from Windows 10. If you don't have time to read the entire tutorial, the basics are these:

Click or tap on the Video Editor shortcut from the Start Menu, or look for it using the search from your taskbar.

The Video Editor shortcut from Windows 10's Start Menu

Push the "New video project" button.

The New video project button

Choose a name for the new video that you're going to create, and press OK.

Choosing a name for the video

Drag and drop the video that you want to make smaller, onto the Video Editor window. Alternatively, you can also press the Add button and select the video.

Drag and drop the video onto the Video Editor window

In the Video Editor window, drag the video from the Project library and drop it on the storyboard from the bottom.

Drag and drop the video from the Project library onto the storyboard

And now comes the essential part of the "making the video smaller" process: click or tap on the "Finish video" button from the top-right corner of the Video Editor window.

The Finish video button

Video Editor opens a dialogue in which it asks you about the "Video quality." Click or tap on the preselected option, which should be "High 1080p (recommended)."

The Video quality setting

To make the video smaller, select Medium 720p or Low 540p. The Medium 720p makes the video smaller while not losing too much of its quality in the process.

However, if you need the smallest video file size possible, select the Low 540p option.

Choosing a lower resolution for the video file

After you've made your choice, press the Export button and select the location where you want to save the smaller video on your Windows 10 PC.

Exporting the video file

Depending on the length and initial quality of the original video, the converted video file can be much smaller. For example, when we used Video Editor to make a 65MB video smaller using the Low 540p setting, the converted video file that we got had only 29MB.

The converted video file is smaller than the original video

2. How to make a video smaller with VLC

VLC is one of the most popular media players in the world, thanks to its ability to play almost any video and audio files out there. However, it can do much more than just play media files, and one of the things you might not know is that VLC can also compress video to make them smaller. If you don't already have it on your Windows 10 PC, you can get it from the official VideoLan VLC media player website.

Once you've installed VLC on your PC, launch it, open its Media menu, and click or tap on "Convert / Save." Alternatively, you can also simply press the Ctrl + R keys at the same time.

The Convert / Save option from the Media menu in VLC

This shows a window called "Open Media." In the File tab, which is selected by default, push the Add button on the right.

The Add button from the Open Media window

Browse through your Windows 10 PC to find and select the video that you want to make smaller. Once you do that, click or tap on Open.

Selecting the video file to shrink

That adds the video to the list of files that are going to be converted by VLC. Click or tap on the "Convert / Save" button from the bottom-right corner of the window.

The Convert / Save button from VLC's Open Media window

Click or tap on Profile and select one of the predefined video profiles. In our experience, the first one - Video - H.264 + MP3 (MP4) - is one of the best choices, as it's supported by almost every media player and online video sharing website. It also offers one of the best compression rates without compromising too much on video and audio quality.

Choosing to use the Video - H.264 + MP3 (MP4) profile

You could leave this profile set as it is and you would still get good results making the video smaller. However, if you want to make sure that it is going to be small enough to fit your needs, you can further adjust the profile's settings. To do so, click or tap on the small wrench button next to it, and VLC gives you access to all the settings available.

The wrench button that allows you to customize the profile settings

One of the best ways to make sure the video is smaller than the original is to decrease its resolution. You can do that from the profile's settings, in the Video codec > Resolution tab. There, either choose to Scale down the video or manually input a new and smaller resolution, like we did in the screenshot below (we set the video width to 720 pixels, as the original had a resolution of 1080p). Once you've changed the settings as you want, click or tap Save.

Changing the resolution of the video

Back in the Convert window, click or tap on Browse at the right side of the "Destination file" field.

The Browse button from VLC's Convert window

Navigate through your Windows 10 PC to select the location of the newly converted video, and choose a name for it.

Choosing where to save the smaller video file

Back in the Convert window, click or tap the Start button.

Starting the video conversion

Wait for VLC to convert and save the new video file. You can monitor the progress in real-time as it's displayed at the bottom of the VLC window.

Monitoring the video conversion in VLC

When it's done, you can find the new video where you chose to save it. Using the settings we've mentioned earlier, we managed to transform a video that was 65MB in size, into a smaller video file that was just 16MB, without noticeable loss in image quality.

The compressed video file is smaller than the original video

3. How to make a video smaller from a website (using online tools)

One of the easiest ways to make a video smaller is to use an online service like the one offered by the videosmaller.com website. We're using this website to show the process, but you can use Google to find others, as there are many such tools available online.

In your favorite web browser, go to videosmaller.com. On it, click or tap on Browse.

A website that lets you reduce the video file size

Browse through your Windows 10 computer or device to select the video that you want to make smaller. Then, click or tap on Open.

Selecting the video file to shrink

The video file is now shown in the Browse field. Click or tap on "Upload Video." If you want, you can also check the "Use low compression level (best quality)" option and/or select a value from the "Scale (reduce) video width." The first setting gives you a converted video with better quality. Still, the decrease in size might not be as significant. The second one - scale - lowers the resolution of the video, which makes the converted video file smaller, but at a lower quality.

Choosing to upload the video

Wait for the video file to upload: you can check the status on the bottom-left corner of the browser.

Waiting for the video to be uploaded and compressed

Once the video has been uploaded and converted, you can get the shrunk version of it by clicking or tapping on the "Download File" link, which also tells you how big it was before and after the compression.

The download link for the smaller video file

Once you've downloaded the smaller video file, it is a good idea to "delete the file from [the] server."

Deleting the video file from the server

Using this method, we managed to compress a video of 65MB into one of only 8.5MB.

4. How to make a video smaller with Handbrake

Finally, another popular tool designed for converting video files is Handbrake. You can get it from its official website. Download and install it and open it. Then, drag and drop the video that you want to make smaller onto it, or choose "File (Open a single video file.)" and browse through your Windows 10 PC to select the video file.

Loading a video file in Handbrake

After Handbrake loads your video file, you should see a window filled with many options and settings, like the one below. Don't be scared by the wealth of options: making a video smaller is quite easy, and you only need to use a few of those settings and buttons.

The Handbrake interface

On the Summary tab, click or tap on Presets and navigate through the list to select the video profile that matches best your intentions regarding the video that you want to make smaller. Note that, to make sure that the converted video is smaller than the original, you should choose a preset that uses a smaller resolution than the initial one. For example, if you have a short video filmed in 1080p resolution and you want to send it to someone via email, you could use the "Gmail Large 3 minutes 720p30" profile, which lowers its resolution to 720p and surely makes it smaller. Similarly, if you want to upload a video to YouTube, choose one of the Vimeo YouTube presets. This step offers many options, so the best way to get a smaller video without too much quality loss is to experiment.

Choosing a video preset in Handbrake

Then, in the Format section, select MP4 and "Web Optimized" so that your smaller video is compatible with as many devices and platforms as possible.

Choosing the MP4 Web Optimized format

Select the Video tab and choose H.264 as the Video Codec to use.

Choosing to use the H.264 video codec

On the bottom-right corner of the window, click or tap on Browse.

The Browse button from Handbrake

Navigate through your Windows 10 PC and select the location where you want to save the smaller video file. Also, choose a name for it. Then, press Save.

Choosing where to save the smaller video file

Back in the Handbrake window, click or tap on the "Start encode" button from the ribbon at the top.

The Start Encode button from Handbrake

Handbrake starts to encode the video file and shows you the progress at the bottom of the window. Wait for it to end, and then you can close the Handbrake app.

Waiting for Handbrake to encode the video file

You can now find the smaller video where you chose to save it earlier. As you can see in the screenshot below, using the settings we've told you about, we managed to shrink a video of 65MB into one that's just 18.4MB.

The converted video file is smaller than the original

Handbrake has many other options and settings that you can use for converting and compressing videos, but for the main purpose of making videos smaller, the ones we've shown you should do the trick. If you want to learn more about using Handbrake, check the official documentation.

Why did you want to make your videos smaller?

Now you know not one or two, but four different ways to compress video files. You can use any of them for making smaller videos, which you can upload and share more easily on the internet. What's your favorite method? Do you prefer to make video files smaller using other tools that we didn't mention? Don't hesitate to share them in the comments below so that others can hear about them also.