After many trips and vacations, my Apple Photos library was more than 500 gigabytes big. What can I do to make my library smaller? I start to use H265 (HEVC) for my videos.
My big Apple Photos Library
Apple Photos is my main media storage application where I store all my videos and photos. All my media is synced to the Apple cloud with iCloud. If I make a picture with my iPhone it will automatically appear on my MacBook Pro. But it also happens vice
Slowly my Apple Photos library is growing bigger and bigger. You go on a trip and shoot a lot of videos. You found an old folder filled with old vacation photos and videos on an external drive. Your parents send you old pictures they scanned. All those media files I collect in Apple Photos. Before you know the library is around 550
A couple of months ago I decided that its time to take control of my media collection. I did every day a
In the autumn of 2017, Apple released their new operating systems. OSX 10.13 for the Apple computers and IOS 11 for the mobile devices. In this software, Apple introduced a new codec for video and photos. Let’s talk about this new codec for video. HEVC. What stands for High-Efficiency-Video-Coding. Its a way better compression for storing video. Apple claims that it can make your video twice as small as the previous video codec they used: H264. I can tell you this is true. But videos I shot with my Canon, Sony and SJCAM camera’s even become smaller.
I made a short youtube video to show the difference in quality between H264 and HEVC. You see the change in quality is negligible. But the saving in disk space is huge!!!
The original video is a 34 seconds long and is 224MB big. Its recorded with a 50Mbit bitrate on a Sony Cybershot RX100 mark 3
I started to encode all my old videos in HEVC format. In the table, you can see some examples of
H264 to HEVC compression rate
|Camera||Length of the videoclip||Size in H264 format||Size in H265 format||Percentage|
|SJCAM SJ4000WIFI||31 seconds||64.8 MB||15.1 MB||23.3 percent|
|Apple iPhone 7||18 seconds||195.1 MB||8.9 MB||4.6 percent|
|Canon Powershot S100||160 seconds||702.5 MB||85.5 MB||12.2 percent|
|Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark 3||37 seconds||242.8 MB||20 MB||8.2 percent|
Why would I want to make my videos smaller?
Using Permute to encode the videos
When I wrote this blog post there are two good video encoders for making HEVC files for OSX. Handbrake and Permute. Handbrake is free, faster and offers way more settings than Permute. But I choose to use Permute because of a better workflow. Plus Permute conserve the metadata of the video file. I can tell you that this is super important. Apple Photos is using the date and time metadata in the video for the correct place in the timeline. If your video is shot on 04 January 2013. And you encode it with Handbrake at 08 August 2018. Than Apple Photos will not place that video in the timeline on 04 January 2013 but on 08 August 2018. So your timeline will be messed up. Permute keeps the correct recording date in the encoded video file. Using Permute is too simple to fail. With Handbrake, you can make easy a mistake. There are just
How did I configured Permute?
I made a custom preset for my encoding work. I want to keep the same video and audio quality as the source video. If a video is 4K it will be downscaled to 1080P.
I have a folder on my desktop with the name “IMPORT APPLE PHOTOS” where Permute automatically saves the encoded videos. I put CPU usage on low so I can use my computer when Permute is busy. Disable previews is also a good advice. Otherwise, Permute can spend minutes on making small previews of the videos. For me
This is important. You need to tell Permute that you want to preserve the creation date of your video. Otherwise, the encoded
In Apple Photos I made an album with the name “To Permute”. When I’m doing my Pomodoro and I find a video which I want to encode to HEVC I just drag that video to the “To Permute album. Before I will sleep or I don’t want to use the computer for a long time I will select all the videos files in the “To Permute” album and do right-click on the files. I choose then edit with Permute.
Apple Photos will prepare all the selected videos and send them to Permute. Check in the left-top bar if you choose the correct preset. The only thing you then need to do is press the start button. Now you need to wait. Some videos are encoded in a couple of minutes. But I also had some long videos that took two days. My MacBook is not that fast. Read my
When Permute is done with encoding I just drag all the video files in the “IMPORT APPLE PHOTOS” to Apple Photos. Do a quick check if the videos are oke. After that
In the near future, I want to use an Apple Script that will import the videos
Three weeks later
In three weeks time, my Apple Photo library shrunk from 550 GB to 300 GB. It’s still a work in progress. I hope to get my library under 200 GB. I also hope to find