The quick and straightforward answer to that question is, it depends.
There are a lot of things that we’ll have to factor, in order to reach a somewhat decent estimate. Things like video resolution, length of the video, audio, effects, format, and so much more.
Plus, the answer could greatly vary from person to person. An indie filmmaker might get a very heavy file size with all the actors, scenes, and locations. A YouTube video editor will get different results depending on their content and amount of movement. And then we have those casual videos on our phone, which are often much smaller in comparison.
So, whether we like it or not, finding a middle ground when it comes to video file size is a very challenging task. Therefore, before we can move forward let’s agree to follow the formula for uncompressed video file sizes.
Video File Size Formula
The formula is fairly simple to understand. What we’re trying to get first is the file size of each frame in our video, and to do that we’ll need to multiply the video resolution by the bit depth. After which, the resulting number is the bits in each frame.
Now, since measuring a file size in bits will result in an absurdly large number, we’ll have to divide it by 8 to convert it into bytes. And then further divide it by 1024 to convert it into kilobytes.
From here on, all we need to do now is multiply that file size by the video frame rate (frames per second) and the video duration in seconds. And Voila, just take your kilobyte results, convert it into gigabytes, and you got yourself your video file size!
For example, this is how it would like if we calculate the video file size for a 720p 30 fps 6-bit 90 second clip.
Uncompressed Video File Sizes
Now, with the formula out of the way, let’s make some progress in finding out the uncompressed video file sizes. To give some variation and have a wide array of results that caters to everyone, we will be observing the following parameters:
- Bit Depth
- To give a bit of background on what Bit Depth is, it basically refers to the overall number of color combinations an image or video contains. Otherwise known as Color Depth, a higher bit depth will allow for more color combinations to be captured. Thus, resulting in more data being stored and a larger file size.
- While some of the more high-end cameras and video capturing devices can reach of upwards to 16-Bit. For our examples, we will only be concerning ourselves with 8-Bit and 10-Bit, as these are the most common.
- Video Resolution
- As far as video resolution goes, technology has come a very long way to improve video and image quality. However, that is not to say lower resolutions have become obsolete, as people still tend to use them.
- So, to cover most and give a general consensus, we will be taking a look at 720p, 1080p, 2.7K, 4K, and 6K Resolution. Basically, starting from standard high definition and all the way into elite levels of video resolution.
- Video Duration
- In terms of duration, this factor is entirely dependent on the type of content the video contains. A simple YouTube video might land around 10-12 minutes, an indie film feature could take over an hour, and a documentary for even more than that.
- So, to keep things simple, we will only be concerning ourselves with the 5-minute, 10-minute, and 15-minute mark. However, if you do want to know the file size for much longer video lengths, you can simply multiply the results to the time you intend.
- Frame Rate
- As for the number of frames per second, again this delves once more into the purpose of the video. Most theaters fall under the 24 fps/23.98 fps mark as this is the universally accepted film frame rate. On the other hand, base-line slow motion replay and action-packed reviews usually start at 120 fps.
- So, depending on the purpose of your film/video, we will only be including 24 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps, and 120 fps. However, if your videos concern with stop motion at lower frame rates or very high frame rates for slow motion capture, you can simply adjust the formula to your needs.
- File Size Denomination
- Since we’ll be dealing with video resolutions of upwards to 4K resolution and 6K resolution. For the sake of simplicity, and ease of reading the charts, all values below are denominated in Gigabytes.
All the tables below indicate the different video file sizes according to the aforementioned parameters, under the 8-Bit Depth.
All the tables below indicate the different video file sizes according to the aforementioned parameters, under the 10-Bit Depth.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “How are these numbers so high!? My videos never get this heavy, regardless of how good I set the quality to be!”
And we wouldn’t fault you for thinking that, but remember these are full uncompressed videos. Which means that this is all of that raw unedited footage with no video information removed and hasn’t gone through any form of compression. This also means that what you’re getting is the absolute best quality you could get out of a capture device as it did not limit itself with space.
However, it is a fair argument to say that not all of us have the luxury of unlimited space to work with video footage and editing. And that most of the videos we use regularly do undergo some form of compression.
But now this introduces a new aspect of video file sizes that we’ll need to factor in. So, what exactly is video compression?
What is Video Compression?
As the name suggests, video compression refers to the method of reducing the amount of data used to encode the video content, ultimately reducing the amount of space it takes up. In essence, what video compression does is minimize redundancy found in the video data.
An example of this would be repetitive images, same backgrounds, and similar sounds being played over and over again. If it’s already been encoded, remains the same throughout the video, then video compression will remove this unnecessary extra data.
Video compression does these through two methods, spatial compression (intraframe) and temporal compression (interframe):
- Spatial Compression
- Spatial Compression, also known as intraframe method, is only applied to each individual video frame. It compresses the pixel information in each frame independently, much like how a still image or a JPEG were to be compressed.
- Temporal Compression
- Temporal Compression, also known as interframe method, is applied over a series of video frames. It takes advantage of key areas that remain the same and unchanged from frame to frame, getting rid of unnecessary and redundant video data.
- So, in contrast to Spatial Compression, Temporal Compression takes place over a group of video frames as opposed to compressing them one by one individually.
Just think about it, if all YouTube videos were raw and uncompressed video data, then even a simple 15 minute 1080p video would be extremely heavy. That video alone will require you to download over 40gb of data from the internet just to watch it. Which is way too expensive for some 15 minutes of entertainment.
Video compression is what allows an uncompressed video format to go from 40gb down to 2gb and make it much easier to stream or download. However, not all video compression methods are made equal. In the pursuit of reducing video file size, this comes at the expense of video quality. Which then introduces the two types of compression according to loss data, lossy compression and lossless compression:
- Lossy Compression
- Lossy compression is method of compressing data that results in information becoming permanently lost and cannot be restored back to its original form. This also compromises the video quality and puts the video data at higher risk of compression artifacts. However, it does get the job done and substantially lowers the video file size.
- Lossless Compression
- On the other hand, Lossless compression is a method of compressing data that doesn’t permanently removed information and gives you the opportunity to decompress back to its original form. In this method, video quality remains the same and is not compromised. And while it won’t reduce the file size as low as Lossy compression, it gives you the balance of maintaining the original quality.
Compressed Video File Sizes – 50%
Now that we’ve gone though all those newly introduced factors that affect video file size, we can now proceed to make further progress with the question we all want answers to.
How many GB is a 1 minute video?
Since we’ve come to the agreement that all videos are unique and can vary greatly from one purpose to the other, we will now again make some basic assumptions. We will assume that over 50% of the video data can undergo lossless compression and remain the same original video quality.
All the tables below indicate the different video file sizes according to the aforementioned parameters, under the 8-Bit Depth. With the assumption that 50% of the video data is losslessly compressed.
All the tables below indicate the different video file sizes according to the aforementioned parameters, under the 10-Bit Depth. With the assumption that 50% of the video data is losslessly compressed.
As you can see, while the file sizes do appear substantially lower than before, they’re still pretty up there. And as much as we’d like to get you an exact or approximated answer, there is no discrete formula that can perfectly calculate the compression for all videos.
Again, no two videos could ever be the same. The first might contain a still background with someone talking at 1080p for 15 minutes, and the latter could be a 15-minute action packed short video at 1080p, but both will yield varying results.
So, take these charts with a huge grain of salt, and rather use them as a reference or guide to gauge how heavy of a workload your video holds. And whether you are a simple content creator, professional editor, or even an aspiring filmmaker, these result should prove to be very useful in managing drive space and the like.
Moving forward though, rendering and knowing your video file size is just the first step of a three-part process of getting video content to your client. So, keep reading and find out how much time it will actually take for a video to reach you.
How Long Does It Take to Upload and Download Clips?
While we’ve already broken down the basics and identified the video file size for different formats and resolutions, uploading and downloading these videos is another story. To be frank, things like these are entirely dependent on how strong and fast of a connection both the uploader and downloader can muster.
In one case, even if the uploader has high speed internet and can upload at over 300mbps, it will still take a snail’s pace to reach its destination if the client only has a download speed of 50mpbs. The same also applies vice versa, which makes it extremely difficult to get an exact average that will be applicable in all use cases.
So, for the sake of simplicity, we will be taking the upload and download speed averages from Speedtest’s Global Index as of June 2020. We will only be using the results for fixed broadband, which translates to an average download speed of 143 mbps and an average upload speed of 56 mbps.
The formula for solving this one is also fairly simple. To start, we’ll need to solve for the upload time in minutes. We take the video file size, covert into megabytes, and divide it by the average upload speed. The results will be the upload time in seconds, and to make it easier to read, we will divide it again by 60 to convert it into minutes.
Next, we’ll need to solve for the download speed in minutes. Once again, we’ll need to take our video file size, convert it into megabytes, but this time divide it by the average download speed. The results will be the download time in seconds, divided it once more by 60 to convert it into minutes.
Lastly, all we need to do now is add together the upload time and download time and you will get the total time it takes from uploader to downloader!
For example, this is how long it would take to get a 720p 30 fps 6-bit 90 second clip to get from uploader to the downloader.
Roughly, it would only take around a minute to download that one, but here comes the real fight. How long would it actually take to upload and download much longer and higher definition videos?
Average Upload and Download Times
For this part, we will be taking a look at how long it will take in total to upload and download a video file, under these parameters:
- It will be in 720p, 1080p, 2.7K, 4K, and 6K Resolution
- Using a 10-Bit Depth
- With a frame rate of 30 fps
- Video length of 15 minutes
- At 50% Lossless Compression
Clearly, the higher definition we go, the larger the file size becomes. And with a larger file size, the total time of uploading and downloading the video file also increases. So, make sure to take this into account when selecting your format, when you intend to finish, and at what time you intend to send over your work.
Furthermore, there exist plenty of limitations under this formula. It can’t account for when your internet service provider suddenly experiences hiccups in its system, power outages, or those who generally have much slower internet connections.
Therefore, if you are aware of such circumstances that could greatly hinder your total time of uploading and downloading then do adjust accordingly.
On that note, if you wish to solve for much longer videos or at much higher definitions. Don’t hesitate to refer to the video file size formula and the total upload and download time formula, and adjust according to your needs.
On the topic of Video File Sizes and Internet speeds, a lot of the factors that go into them are extremely variable and differ in every case. And no matter how hard we try to get an approximated answer, it’s just a fact that everyone’s situation is vastly unique.
So, whether your a client that’s looking to get some extra video editing help, a freelance editor trying his best to turn in his client’s request, or maybe even an aspiring YouTuber just staring at the upload progress bar. Always remember to use a video format that best suits your needs and manage your time properly to meet any bumps along the way!