Perfect Video Format Long term


Feb 5, 2014
First of all, my apologies if this is in the wrong thread. Couldnt find the right thread for this.

I have a bunch of video files of our private family functions. The video guy gave me DVDs but the quality was crappy so i asked him to give the original files on a hard disk.

Now the problem is each file is 25gigs and i want to convert/compress into a format that takes less space without compromising much on the quality as this will be a lifelong storage.

I intend to delete the original 25gig files and only keep the converted files. Below are the codec details of the files from Mediainfo software.

Complete name : E:\Bhagwat\Bhagwat HD 7 days Original\Day1 - 1.mpg
Format : MPEG-PS
File size : 20.1 GiB
Duration : 1h 4mn
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 44.9 Mbps

ID : 224 (0xE0)
Format : MPEG Video
Format version : Version 2
Format profile : Main@High
Format settings, BVOP : Yes
Format settings, Matrix : Custom
Format settings, GOP : M=3, N=15
Format settings, picture structure : Frame
Duration : 1h 4mn
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 43.9 Mbps
Maximum bit rate : 80.0 Mbps
Width : 1 920 pixels
Height : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate : 25.000 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Interlaced
Scan order : Top Field First
Compression mode : Lossy
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.846
Time code of first frame : 00:00:00:00
Time code source : Group of pictures header
Stream size : 19.6 GiB (98%)

ID : 192 (0xC0)
Format : MPEG Audio
Format version : Version 1
Format profile : Layer 2
Duration : 1h 4mn
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 160 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 73.3 MiB (0%)

My suggestion would be to go to MP4 container, using the H.264 to encode. MP4 plays on almost any device and is the easiest to normalize the sound level (so all your videos are the same sound level).

For my videos I take them down to 480, and the sound dowm to 128k. You may want to start with 720 and see what you think.
For video conversion / transcoding I would use Handbrake. It will allow you to tweak everything, and is free / open source:

Handbrake Link

It works in Windows and Linux.

480 / 720 refer to the dimensions of the video. Currently your video is 1920x1080. If you are going to leave it at that large of a video, you are just going to have to deal with the file size, as nothing is going to change the file size to a meaningful degree.

I suggest you run a video through Handbrake with a couple different settings, and then see what you think. I generally rip my DVDs (ones from my collection) down to 480x320 (in handbrake you can change just the width of height, it will calculate what the other should be), 128k bit rate on the audio, and find the quality to be perfect acceptable on a 1080p TV at full screen. I just checked and one of my videos that is 1 hr 26 min, is 385 MB, which is pretty small really.

For sound normalization I use AACGAIN, in conjunction with EasyMP3Gain. These will require Linux, but you could do this while booting from a USB if you wanted. If you even want to do this. Just throwing out other free software options to help in your video processing.

If you want to make DVDs at any point, I would try Bombono.


Jun 16, 2009
That's crazy! 45Mbps high-definition video with 192k MP2 audio?!

For archival purposes, you don't want to scale the video at all - leave it at 1920x1080 but re-encode it to H.264 High Profile. You can reduce the bitrate to suit how big you want the files to be, which is easy to calculate as a proportion of the 25GB/45Mbps originals.

Leave the audio stream untouched - you don't want to compromise the quality any further than it already is. Just use a stream copy to remux the original audio into the new video stream. It takes up so little space that it won't have any appreciable effect on the size of the file. (If it was PCM audio, I'd suggest using 256k AAC for a substantial size reduction with negligible quality loss but in this case, that will actually make it bigger than the original and will still lose a tiny amount of quality.)

Actually, having said all that, how many files are there? For archival purposes of a once-in-a-lifetime event, you want to retain maximum quality so not re-encoding at all is the best option if possible. Terabyte-class hard drives are cheap these days, as are other large storage devices (such as a Blu-ray writer and some BD-R discs). Just keep a couple of copies of the originals on different media (hard disk, USB keys, BD-R etc.) in different places (home, parents' home, in-laws, etc.) and check them for readability once a year or so (if one ceases to work, you can just make a fresh copy from the other).

By all means re-encode them to sensible-bitrate 720p (3Mbps is usually OK for general-purpose video with a good encoder such as x264 but feel free to throw as many megabits at it as you want!) for distribution and general viewing purposes (or re-do the DVD conversion yourself - you should be able to get fantastic quality DVD video from even a half-way decent 1080i/p source) but the archive copy should ideally be pristine.


Feb 5, 2014
There are a lot of files, so archiving them as it is would not be possible.

What container should i use? MKV, MP4...?

I cant see the option to change to 720p in Handbrake. However it shows me the following options
1- Quality option - Constant or Average bitrate(kbps)
Right now constant quality is at 20RF. Avg bitrate has 2pass encoding and turbo first pass options as well.


MP4, that way it will play on just about any device (phone / tablet / etc). Go to the picture tab, there you can change the dimensions.