How to Compress Video for Email: Best Practices

6 min read
November 13, 2023
April 9, 2024
Andrew Kozik
Reviewed by
Helena Raise
July 8, 2024
April 9, 2024


Email's file size limits make attaching and sharing large video files challenging. Compressing oversized videos is crucial for delivering content without compromising quality or overwhelming recipients.

This guide covers expert techniques for optimally condensing video files for emailing. We'll explore compression methods, recommended formats, tools and customizations for resizing videos. Follow these best practices to seamlessly share impactful video content through email. Let's get started!

Understanding Video File Size

To effectively compress video, you need to know what determines file size. Consider these key factors:

Video Resolution

Resolution indicates video pixel dimensions. Higher resolutions equal larger files due to more pixel data.


Bitrate measures data processed per second. Higher bitrates improve quality but increase file size.

Frame Rate

Frame rate is frames displayed per second. More frames mean smoother video, but larger files.


Longer videos contain more data, increasing file size. Keeping length concise is key.

With this foundation, let's explore video compression techniques.

6 Methods for Compressing Large Video Files

Use these proven tricks to condense oversized videos for delivering via email:

Convert to a Compressed Format

Zip compressed formats like .zip significantly reduce size by condensing data. Conversion tools like 7-Zip or VideoProc streamline zipping video files.

Lower Resolution

Dropping video resolution lowers pixel dimensions for reduced file size. Use editors like VLC, iMovie or Shotcut to customize resolution.

Share a Video Link

Upload videos to YouTube or hosting platforms to share lightweight links instead of attachments.

Re-Download in Lower Quality

Many sites let you re-download videos in lower resolutions, instantly reducing size.

Trim Length

Shorten long videos by cutting unnecessary sections at start/end. Every second eliminated reduces size.

Export as a GIF

Convert clips to GIFs, which use much less data. Useful for capturing a short moment.

With the right approach, compressing video for email is easy. Now let's optimize settings.

GIF Compression

Customizing Video Settings for Ideal File Size Reduction

When compressing video, strategic tweaks to settings like resolution and bitrate are key:

Use Resolutions Like 720p or 480p

For web-shared videos, mid-range resolutions between 1080p and 360p balance quality and file size.

Lower the Bitrate

Reducing the video bitrate significantly condenses files. For reference, 5,000-10,000 kbps is generally sufficient.

Cut Back FPS to 24-30

smoother frame rates above 30 FPS greatly bloat files. 24-30 FPS gives fluid motion at smaller sizes.

Pick Two Pass Encoding

Two pass encoding compresses more efficiently than single pass by analyzing then encoding video.

Use H.264 Codec

The H.264 codec excels at condensing video without compromising watchability.

With the right optimization, you can massively shrink files while retaining quality.

Choosing the Best Video Format for Emailing

For emails, aim for widely compatible compressed formats like:


MP4 using H.264 encoding strikes a great balance of compression and compatibility. Modern HD standard.


QuickTime MOV files also use H.264 effectively. However, MOV support is more limited.


Windows Media Video is lightweight. But given the name, compatibility issues can arise on Mac/Linux.


GIFs work great for compressing short clips under 10 seconds to tiny file sizes. Lossy format.

For broadest support across devices and platforms, MP4 is your best bet.

Using the Best Tools to Compress and Downsize Videos

Leverage these handy video compression software options:

Online Converters

FreeConvert Interface

Tools like FreeConvert, Clideo make compressing video easy through web browsers.


VLC Media Player Logo

The popular VLC Media Player also lets you export videos in compressed formats. Easy to use.


Avidemux Logo

Avidemux excels at bitrate, frame size and frame rate compression modifications for optimizing sizes.

VideoProc Converter

VideoProc Converter Logo

VideoProc provides specialized options like directly setting target output file size for emails. Very handy.

With the right software, compressing video is simple. Now let's cover email limits.

Understanding Video Size Limits for Popular Email Services

To sufficiently condense videos, you need to know email providers' restrictions.


Google allows up to 25MB attachments on Gmail. Extensions like Google Drive allow more flexibility.


Outlook sets a limit of 20MB for attached files.

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo Mail permits up to 25MB on sent attachments.

iCloud Mail

iCloud caps attachments at 20MB in size. 5GB of total storage is provided for free.

Aim to keep video files comfortably under the target email provider's limits.

Email Services Video Size Limits Comparison Table

Tips for Further Reducing Video Sizes

If compressed videos still exceed limits, also try:

  • Trimming duration to bare essentials
  • Lowering bitrate until satisfactory quality
  • Using ultra-compressed codecs like H.265
  • Reducing frame rate below 30 FPS if viable
  • Downscaling resolution past 720p/1080p if necessary
  • Comparing multiple compression tools for best results

With the right balance of modifications, staying within restrictions is achievable.

Streamline Video Compression with ScreenStory

While essential, manually compressing videos is tedious. Solutions like ScreenStory simplify the process through automation.

ScreenStory enables effortless screen recording and one-click exporting to compressed MP4s ideal for email and web sharing. Converting raw videos into compact social-ready clips is made seamless.

Smart compression combined with automated zooming, cursor effects and quick editing features empowers rapid video creation without technical hurdles.

Download and see how ScreenStory can unlock easy video compression tailored for your workflow. Compressing video for email and beyond is now dead simple.

To Summarize

Compressing oversized videos for sharing via email is made simple by following the right techniques. Consider resolution, bitrates, duration, formats and more when condensing files. With the proper tools and optimization, delivering video content without roadblocks is achievable for any mailbox. Now you're ready to attach impressive videos that captivate audiences without clogging inboxes. Compress confidently and share away!


Common Video Compression FAQs

What is a safe compression ratio for email videos?

30-50% file size reduction is reasonable in many cases. Test to ensure satisfactory quality.

What factors mainly affect video file size?

Resolution, bitrate, frame rate and duration have the largest impact on video file size.

Is there a size limit for Google Drive video attachments?

Google Drive allows up to 10GB for attachments. But sharing Drive links to large videos is better.

What's the best free video compressor?

Clideo, VEED and FreeConvert offer excellent free video compression.

How can I compress video on iPhone?

Use the built-in Photos app editor or third-party apps like Video Size to compress and export smaller videos on iPhone.

What resolution is best for email?

720p or 480p balances quality and file size for web video. Lower if needed.

Does Gmail compress attachments?

No. Gmail applies no compression or modification to attached files. Google Drive can compress.

What are safe video formats for emails?

MP4, MOV and GIF offer broad compatibility. Test files beforehand when possible.

How much can I compress a video without losing quality?

It depends on content, but ~10% file size reduction is reasonable in many cases if judiciously compressed. Use the built-in Photos app editor or third-party apps like Video Size to compress and export smaller videos on iPhone.

Create stunning videos with Screen Story

Record your screen with audio and create stunning videos without editing skills. Screen Story applies the best design patterns to the video automatically.

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