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I want to encode a group of low-quality MPEG-4 video files to DVD format (to eventually burn to a DVD).

The problem is that when I encode the video, the resulting files are often 2-3x as large as the original video files.

How can I encode the video files so that they are in DVD format, roughly the same quality, and roughly the same file size as the originals?

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Well, the short answer is, you can't.

The longer answer: DVD uses MPEG2 compression, which is a lot less efficient than MPEG4 (aka h.264). In other words it can't get the same quality from the same file size as MPEG4 does.

So you can choose: similar file size, or similar quality, but not both.

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'MPEG4' is likely part 2 (xvid), rather than part 10 (h.264), but your point still stands – evilsoup Jan 17 '13 at 0:10

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