The 300 Megabyte Movie

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Films are a great form of entertainment suitable for all, however due to limitations on memory and NAND, makes it extremely difficult to bring them along for flights or on the train. Due to apple devices not having external memory(sd), there is an astounding lack of room on the device. The OS on a CDMA iPhone takes up a massive 1GB partition leaving 6.4GB for user storage. This is far too little, as the average iTunes Standard Definition film is 1GB to 3GB with HD films taking up even more space. As an attempt to solve this problem I began experimenting, using ffmpeg, and found what I have found to be good quality and a good starting point for video compression. With the new VLC app making an entrance I also tried other video codecs such as xvid and dvix but the compression size was not enough and It did not support the native Video app in iOS.

For Converting, I used ffmpegX for Snow Lepord, you can use the standard ffmpeg on win32/linux. Once installed with all the libraries, open the ffmpegXprofile at the bottom in the resources folder, these are the settings I use, you are free to change as you wish to increase or decrease the film quality saving space.


  • ffmpgX
  • ffmpgX profile for conversion
  • FFMPEG Video encoder details: h.264 video 640×480@780Kbps,19.75 FPS
  • FFMPEG Audio encoder details: Apple ACC audio @ 44100 Hz, 80Kbps Stereo

Results using the settings shown:

1hr 54min video =416megabytes

1h 30 min video= 364megabytes


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