Shrink HD Videos to a Managable Size

I recently went on a spree of downloading music videos. The ones I couldn’t find I resorted to downloading them from YouTube with the youtube-dl. But videos, even HQ ones, look like crap. So I got the idea of downloading the HD versions. Sadly one thing my precious Eee PC can’t do is properly decode HD video at a reasonable speed.

After a little searching I found that MPlayer came with a video conversion utility called mencoder which I could use to shink my video down. However using it can be a little intimidating, especially when all I wanted to do is resize a video. So here’s the steps I took.

First I downloaded the HD video from YouTube using:

% youtube-dl -d "[url of video]"

Then when that was done I used this command to shrink it:

% mencoder input.mp4 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:mbd2:trell -vf scale=852:480 -oac mp3lame -lameopts vbr=2 -o output.avi

So let’s break that down a little. -ovc specifies the video options while -oac specifies the audio options. I made the video mpeg4 and made the audio a LAME encoded v2 mp3. The real important part here is the scale option. Since we had a 16×9 HD video we need to make sure that we maintain that aspect ratio. 852×420 is effectively a 16×9 SD resolution. So this shrinks the video down to a widescreen standard definition video.

After that my eee handled the video with ease. While I did this with a video from YouTube you can do this to any format that mencoder supports (everything MPlayer supports). For more information take a look at this and this link.

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