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Compressing a video file using Handbrake

Handbrake is free, open-source and cross-platform software (works on Windows, Mac and Linux) that enables the straight-forward compression of video files. This guide will take you through compressing a 5 min (4.3 GB) video down to less than 500 MB. You can download HandBrake for free at

Please note: screenshots are taken from the Mac version of Handbrake (v0.10.2)

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Step 1: Launch HandBrake and find the video file you want to compress

Launch HandBrake - it will open a window asking you to locate your source video. Find it on your computer and select this file.

HandBrake locate file

Step 2: Check your settings are correct then Start the compression

Take note of where the compressed video will be saved (1). Ensure the format is an MP4 File (2) and tick the Web optimized checkbox (3). Click the Start button (4) to begin the compression.

HandBrake settings

Step 3: Wait for the compression to finish

At the bottom left of the window you can see a progress bar detailing the percentage completion. When compression has finished you should receive a notification. Locate the compressed file and just check that your video file is now less than 500 MB (in the example above using these settings a 4.3 GB video was compressed to 216 MB).

HandBrake encoding