Handbrake is probably the most commonly used method.
You can also use FFmpeg in a variety of ways. By way of the command prompt or with one of the multiple UI interfaces out there.
Truth is almost all conversion/compression softwares use FFmpeg in the background
I use both. FFmpeg from the command prompt but Handbrake makes it easier.
Here is a good write up on using Handbrake that should be helpful.
All of that being said, Handbrake is the most popular choice for compression -- although it's hard to tell whether it's superior to every other option.
If your content is nothing more than a screen recording. You didn't use zoom in and zoom out animations. It's a Microsoft WORD tutorial, or perhaps a Excel Tutorial.Things of this nature. Lowering the quality shouldn't hurt the overall quality.
Recording with highly detailed images and videos. Content with a lot of colors. You'll find increasing the quality may be warranted instead. That's just the way it is.
I don't know what video dimensions your working with? If it's 1920 x 1080. You might want to think about switching to 1280 x 720. It will reduce file size dramatically and should leave you plenty of head room to produce at normal to higher quality output levels.
So, just as an example.
Here I used a 1920 x 1080 video clip containing a fair amount of color and contrast. It's not as vibrant as a lot of footage I could have chosen. I thought this footage would represent a good "Average Quality" non screen recording video.
I converted it using HandBrake's default quality settings. "HQ, 1080p 30fps Surround “And “Fast 30fps”
In both cases the conversion washed out the contrast. The Darker
areas becoming lighter stands out the most. You can see it in side by side
comparisons.Look at the rock face behind the waterfall.It's pretty dark overall.Than look at the conversions wall.
Overall, it has a washed out effect on everything. Some quality and clarity takes a hit. Camtasia renders are off a bit as well.But there much closer.
Be sure to click the images and enlarge them to 100%. The differences really stand out.You'll have to pan around.
I render the same footage using Camtasia. I rendered using 60% quality and 50% quality settings.
Both videos came out better than the HandBrake conversions. The 50% quality video was only slightly larger than the HQ handbrake conversion.
For what’s it’s worth, here’s the Camtasia’s renders.60% Quality
If you don’t mind some degradation. A program like HandBrake can help you reduce video size.
In general, people will never know the difference. Even if they viewed the original footage.Regards,Joe
Thanks again for taking the time to give us a side-by-side sample.
I found the time to do some follow up. I don't know exactly what HandBrakes problem is?
But I believe it could be the luminosity levels that are being changed. This is a issue that has been reported going back years in the HandBrake community.
For a lot of Camtasia users, recording their monitors and producing videos.A minor shift in colors could easily go undetected, or perhaps not be necessary.Due to content.
Whereas standard videos, have a lot of color space to be effected.
This is a link to a video someone converted in 2013. I chose it to show how long this problem has existed.The top image is the original video, and the bottom is the HandBrake conversion. https://imgur.com/a/VPQ7y
I've had better luck with HandBrake in the past.In general, it puts out a good high quality copy of the original.With little detectable degradation.
I was actually surprised how much it altered the video featured above. I just threw it in Camtasia as a test, I wasn't looking at it from a perspective as whether it looked better after rendering.
I was looking at as, does it look identical to the original.Which is what the conversion process should do.
That footage was to dark so I applied color correction in Premier Pro. I tried to do it in Camtasia but it was the mid-tones that needed the most attention. Luminance levels primarily".
You probably can't see all the foliage growing on the rock face of the distant waterfall in my images.
So anyway, here's a color corrected mp4 and a HandBrake High Quality Conversion.
The sun was blinding that day, I wear self darkening prescription lens.This footage was taken at mid day, Summer.
Camera was on auto pilot settings.
With levels cranked up to bright sunny day, I can't see any difference between the original and the HandBrake conversion. But bear in mind, this is a bright sunny day. Not a dark video.
For what it's worth, HandBrake is nearly flawless under some circumstances.Not so much in others.
And here's the actual HandBrake video. It's only a minute long. The Waterfall and cliff below made for a unique place to visit. There as water dumping into this river from all over the place.