How to Speed Up Encoding Videos on a Computer

By Arthur Ramsay

To make raw video and audio suitable for YouTube, Facebook and DVDs, you have to encode them into one of the common video formats. Your computer does that by performing many calculations for each frame of video, and how quickly that happens depends on your central processing unit (CPU) and how much random access memory (RAM) you have. The advent of high-definition video and a new generation of video codecs means your old Pentium 4 simply can't work fast enough to encode your HD home movies. However, there are several ways you can speed up your video encodes.

Updating Your Video Encoder

Step 1

Open the program you use to encode video. Because new advances in encoding techniques happen constantly, updating the program you use to encode video can speed up encodes considerably. This is especially true when encoding video using next-generation codecs.

Step 2

Open the "Help" submenu, located in the main menu bar. This is the same bar in which the "File" and "View" submenus are located.

Click "Check for Updates" and follow the prompts. You will need to be connected to the Internet.

Closing Unnecessary Programs

Step 1

Close every program in the task bar except for your video encoder. The task bar is located at the bottom of the screen. Other applications such as Web browsers take resources away from the video encoder.

Step 2

Close every unnecessary program in the system tray, which is located in the lower right part of the screen. Anti-virus programs especially consume precious CPU time. Just remember to restart your anti-virus software when you are done.

Restart your computer regularly. While modern home PCs don't need to be rebooted constantly like in the old days, they still get slower over time for most users.

Encoding Lower Quality Video

Step 1

Open your video encoder. High quality video takes much more processing power to encode, so selecting lower quality settings can speed up encodes considerably.

Step 2

Begin to encode a video. Generally, this is when video encoders will give you the option to change video quality settings.

Step 3

Select "XviD" for your video codec, and set the bitrate to 750 kbps.

Select "CBR MP3" for your audio codec, and set the bitrate to 128 kbps.

Upgrade Your Computer

Step 1

Buy additional RAM. RAM acts like scratch paper for the computer, and more RAM lets it work faster.

Step 2

Buy a new CPU. Note that a CPU with a faster clock speed (example: 2.2 GHz) won't necessarily encode video faster. That's because modern CPUs do more than one task per cycle.

Buy a new video card. Modern video cards can assist the CPU when encoding video, making it much quicker.