computer with video editing software

How to compress video files (360 VR) with HandBrake

Working with large 360-degree video files can be a hassle, as most people don’t have the storage space readily available. Thankfully, you can compress video files and minimize the size of your videos with free software like HandBrake. This article will explain how you can safely and easily compress video files by using this program.

Why is video compression useful?

Compressing video files can be incredibly useful when sending footage to partners, clients, or film festival print traffic coordinators. It helps get around the often-frustrating file size limitations of many file transfer and email platforms, and compressed videos also reduce bandwidth usage, upload and download times, and the amount of buffering required when streaming video. One of the most popular tools that can significantly shrink the file size without losing quality is HandBrake.  It is popular due to three reasons:

  • It can convert video from nearly any format, e.g. .wmv – Windows Media Video File, .avi – Audio Video Interleave File, .m4v, .mov, etc.
  • It is free and open source
  • It works on Windows, Mac and Linux

Find and install HandBrake

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. It was originally developed in 2003 by Eric Petit to make ripping a film from a DVD to a data storage device easier. HandBrake’s backend contains comparatively little original code; the program is an integration of many third-party audio and video libraries, both codecs (such as FFmpegx264, and x265) and other components such as video deinterlacers (referred to as “filters”). These are collected in such a manner to make their use more effective and accessible so that a user does not have to transcode a video’s audio and visual components in separate steps, or with inaccessible command-line utilities.

You can download HandBreak here.

How to compress video files with HandBrake

Compressing video is the final step in producing video for distribution. A few things to consider when compressing 360 videos:

  • Format: MP4
  • Codec: H.264
  • Max frame rate: 30fps

The resolution will depend on the device you are using for viewing the video. Most VR headsets like Oculus Quest and Pico G2 4k support resolutions of up to 3840×1920 (4K).

We prepared a Viar360 “Preset” that you can use to compress your 360-degree videos before uploading them to Viar360. You can download it here. To use these presets in Handbrake, select the “Presets” menu item from the menu, select the “Import from file” menu item, choose your preset file, and start encoding!