MacMost Q&A Forum • View All Forum QuestionsAsk a Question

How To Compress Large MOV Files for Youtube

I have several videos I want to upload to youtube. They are all about 500MB.
As it is now, it takes over an hour to upload each video. I know there’s a better way.
I’ve considered using Handbrake, but they recommend cutting the file in half, which is still a very large file.
I’d like to get the file down to a small size for a faster upload without losing too much quality.
The videos are not HD.
Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
Nick Maestas

Comments: 5 Responses to “How To Compress Large MOV Files for Youtube”

    7 years ago

    The size of the video is dependent on four main factors: video dimensions, video quality, video length and compression type. You mentioned it was not HD, so I assume standard definition. You never mention how long this video is. If it is 30 minutes long, then 250MB is very good. If it is < 10 minutes long, then you can probably do a little better. There are many ways to re-compress the video. Did you try simply using QuickTime Player? For more options you can try MPEG Streamclip ( For a simpler interface, you can try Miro (
    For all of these you need to trade quality for file size. You can make it as small as you want, but if you make it 1MB, it will look unrecognizable. 250MB may look pretty good.
    It doesn’t matter what you send to YouTube as YouTube will convert the video to its own format to use. So it is all about transfer time in your case. Why not send a 250MB file? Even if it takes a while, the result will be better.
    Or, borrow a friend’s Internet connection for the upload. On a nice DSL connection 250MB will only take a few minutes. Maybe a school, workplace or community center?

    7 years ago

    I ended up using Quick Time Player >File> Export to Web then I found the file in the folder under “resources” and uploaded the broadband.m4v mepeg-4 it created. When I uploaded my files to youtube I received error messages that the audio or video might not work, but all of them worked fine from the start without any further adjustments. The warning message had a link to some examples of exporting the files to iMovie and resetting the parameters there. I didn’t have to do that step.

    Thanks for your suggestions Gary.

    Oh by the way, all the videos were 2-3 minutes in length.

    My best,

    7 years ago

    Thanks for the answer, i was wondering the same thing, but I also am wondering, what do i do with my iMovie projects after I have uploaded them to youtube? And, do I need to export out to a 200-300MB file and then delete my iMovie project and events for it to save space? I have a 320GB hard drive and I am already down to like 190GB.

    Do I need to save the original imovie project if I compress it with MPEG stream clip? Does MPEG Stream Clip keep the movie in HD? I shoot HD always.

      7 years ago

      The answer depends on your needs. Some people have the need to save the projects and events from iMovie. Others are fine with tossing them after they are done creating the video. It is up to you. And it might vary from project to project.
      Here is a video on archiving iMovie projects and events if you decide you need to:
      As for MPEG Streamclip, it depends on what settings you are using. You can compress from HD to something less, or HD to HD at lower quality. Or HD to HD at almost the same quality — it is up to you. And then you need to decide whether the final compressed video is what you want to keep, or whether you need to keep the previous file too.

    7 years ago

    ok, thanks! Yes I watched that video. I have a 1TB external drive, so I think I will start backing up to that and remove from my computer hard drive. I have a Macbook Pro 15, and I was wondering if being filled with video files and picture files affects performance at all? Because it seems like iMovie seems to be running a little slower now that I have more projects..

    Thanks so much Gary for all the videos and info you give. I watch your stuff all the time. Thanks!

Comments Closed.