Reduce MP4 File Size with HandBrake

If you have DVD/Bluray movies and looking for a solution to convert them to MP4 file format so you can transfer them to your storage or mobile device, or you have video files and want to reduce their file size to upload them to the Internet and share with your friends, this article has a solution to these problems by using a free software, HandBrake.

Handbrake is a free tool that converts video file from almost any formats to MP4(.M4V) and .MKV file formats. You can customize video/audio encoders, chapter/title selection, manage subtitles, etc. It’s simple to use and does work on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating system.

This article will show you how to reduce MP4 file size with HandBrake on Windows 8.1. Here is the sample MP4 file, the size is about 64MB which is a screen record for about 3 minutes long and I want to reduce the file size for uploading to YouTube.
A Sample MP4 Video File

Watch on YouTube


  1. Download and Install HandBrake
  2. Convert MP4 to reduce file size

Step-by-step to download and install Handbrake

  1. Download HandBrake from
    Download HandBrake
  2. Run the downloaded file. On Setup Welcome page, select Next.
    HandBrake Setup - Welcome Page
  3. On License Agreement, click I Agree to accept the license.
    HandBrake Setup - License Agreement
  4. On Choose Install Location, select folder to install HandBrake and click Next.
    HandBrake Setup - Choose Install Location
  5. HandBrake is installing.
    HandBrake Setup - Installing
  6. Click Finish.
    HandBrake Setup - Finish

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Step-by-step to Convert MP4 to reduce file size

  1. Run HandBrake and open source file by click Source.
    HandBrake - Select Source
  2. On Source Selection, click File.
    HandBrake - Select File Source
  3. Then browse to the video file that you want to convert and click Open.
    HandBrake - Open File
  4. If HandBrake supports the file, you will see information updated on Source section (title, chapter, duration).
    HandBrake comes with pre-defined presets (templates) if you want to convert it for any specific device (iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, Andriod, Windows Phone, etc) by select Presets on the right side. In this example, I want to reduce file size only so I leave it as Normal.
    HandBrake - Select Preset
  5. Then, set file destination, you can click Browse and select where do you want to save the file to. And, select output file format (MP4/M4V/MKV) and check the box Web Optimized on Output Settings section.
    Note: The Web Optimized option will optimize video file for streaming across the web.
    HandBrake - Select Destination
  6. Next, select Video tab. Here you can customize video codec and quality. If you lower quality of video, the smaller file size will be, and vice versa. The video codec H.264 (x264) and quality at 20 are already default and optimal options for converting most videos.
    HandBrake - Video Codec and Quality
  7. If you would like to customize some more advanced option, select Tools -> Options.
    HandBrake - Open Options Menu
  8. On Options – General, check the box Show Advanced Encoder Options Tab and click Close at the bottom.
    HandBrake - Show Advanced Encoder Options
  9. Then, select Video tab and check the box Use Advanced Tab instead.
    HandBrake - Video - Use Advanced Tab instead
  10. Select Advanced tab. Here you can customize advanced options. I recommended set Reference Frames to 4.
    HandBrake - Set Reference Frames
  11. Next, select Audio tab. Here you can manage audio tracks, customize audio codec and bitrate. You can change bitrate down to 128 to reduce output file size if you don’t need high quality audio.
    HandBrake - Audio
  12. Now click Start to begin convert the video.
    HandBrake - Start Convert
  13. You can see the converting progress at bottom.
    HandBrake - Converting
  14. Once it’s finished, you can check the output file. In this example, HandBrake has reduced file size of this video from 64MB to 13MB.
    Note: The file size that HandBrake can reduced/compressed is depends on many factors, for example, quality of output video/audio, source file, etc.
    A Sample MP4 Video File

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  1. aref August 25, 2017
  2. linglom September 7, 2017
  3. Phred E June 13, 2018

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