Make Smaller Video File Sizes With Handbrake

A client’s videographer sent 35 finished video files that were between 1.2 GB and 5.74 GB in size. While they were beautiful, they were too large for the 1 GB file size limit allowed by their web host. HandBrake to the rescue. HandBrake is a free and open-source tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.

HandBrake settings:

  • Preset (dropdown): General > Very Fast 1080p30
  • Format: MP4
  • Web optimized: tick the box

Using the above settings, an original video file size of 2.84 GB (at 1080px) was shrunk down to 499 MB (at 1080px). A huge difference in size. On my 2021 MacBook Air with an M1 chip the process took 14 mins.


As a test, I uploaded an original 2.84 GB file to Google Drive. It took 3 hours. And I had 34 more videos to upload. Ugh. After using HandBrake to reduce that one video from 2.84 GB to 499 MB, the 499 MB version took 20-40 minutes to upload to Google Drive. Sweet!

I had 35 video files (1.2 GB to 5.74 GB in size) that needed to be reduced in file size. The HandBrake process took 8.5 hours. Uploading 35 smaller size videos to Google Drive took ~16 hours.

  • Original 35 videos = 91.13 GB
  • After using HandBrake = 16.41 GB

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