There are a number of ways you can compress a video file. Adobe, Apple, Black Magic, and pretty much every other media development company out there has a tool that enables you to deal with your footage. In truth, many of them are interfaces wrapped around a core set of coding tools called FFmpeg. This is largely specific to Mac, although it would be very similar for Linux systems, but not really worth it for Windows.
This is a very simple guide on how to install FFmpeg command line tools, and what commands might come in handy. If you're looking to do more complicated things like making custom gifs, processing audio from video, or programmatically processing data from video, you can find the documentation on those moves here
To start you off, you'll want to install these tools.
First, you'll need Homebrew. This is a set of assets that assist with coding. Open Terminal and paste this into the command line.
$ /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"
This may prompt you for a password, it's good to note that will be your computer's login password, and when you type into the field, it will not show that you've typed anything.
Once Homebrew has finished installing, paste this into your command line
brew install ffmpeg
This will install FFmpeg for you, it may prompt you for a password again.
At this point, you have a fully functioning compression program installed on your computer. Below, you'll find a number of commands that will assist in processing video files into smaller, more mobile codecs.
If you're new to command line tools, it is good to note that
path/to/input.ext will always mean the directory path to the video file you're looking to process. You can manually type this, if you know it, or you can drag the file into your Terminal window and it'll autofill.
It is also important to note that with FFmpeg commands, the
path/to/input.ext is the path to the existing file, but
path/to/output.ext is a path to the file you'll be creating and doesn't yet exist.
ffmpeg -i path/to/input.ext -crf 23 -pix_fmt yuv420p -c:v libx264 path/to/output.mov
The command above should work right off the bat, all you need to do is replace your
path/to/in-and-outputs and you should end up with a file that plays nicely with Quicktime and is small enough to send over Slack or Google Drive easily.
It's a little bit cumbersome to constantly be typing out the
path/to/your/file. This is coding, after all, we should be able to make this quite a bit easier. Below, you'll find just a little bit more code that will make it so you can simply write
makeitsmall and drag your file over, and it'll work for you!
Start off by opening Terminal and enter:
This will move you into your Development directory, if you don't have one, you can just write
This is going to move you into your new makeItSmall directory and open a new shell script named makeitsmall
Next up, paste this:
#!/bin/bash VIDEOFILE=$1 NEW_PATH="$(dirname $1)/$(basename $1 | cut -d. -f1)-proxy.mov" ffmpeg -i $VIDEOFILE -crf 23 -pix_fmt yuv420p -c:v libx264 $NEW_PATH
Exit using Control + X and save your file. Next we need to make this file executable
chmod 755 makeitsmall
And finally, we need to add this to the $PATH, which is essentially the directory of files that the command line looks for when given a new command. Type:
Now, I know this was a lot of steps! But it's a small investment on a relatively powerful return!
Whenever you have a large video file now, all you need to do is type
makeitsmall and drag your video file into Terminal, what it will spit out is a light, moveable file!
If you're looking to understand the code, it breaks down pretty simply into a number of tags.
ffmpegis the set of tools you'll be using
.mov, but this can be just changed as well.
.mkvalso work, although aren't as friendly with macOS as