I have over 1TB of images and videos spread across multiple folders (personal photos and videos, from the last 15 years) and I wanted to back them up but I don't need them to be stored in high quality.

I'm using Ubuntu 16.04. What would be the best application/command or method to achieve this? I want to keep the file organization...

1 Answer 1


With ImageMagick's convert command, something like:

convert input.jpg -quality nn output.jpg 

You can also resize them to something smaller (here, 2000px in the margest dimension) with a little bit of sharpening to compensate the slight blurring introduced by the scaling down (unless the pictures are already heavilty processed (smartphone pictures):

convert input.jpg -geometry 2000 -sharpen 0x1.0 -quality 85 output.jpg

convert produces a new file (so you can use it as an evolved cp command). Otherwise from the same package the mogrify command does everything in place.

As an amateur photographer: just don't. Getting a low quality version of a high quality picture is easy. The revers is nearly impossible. What is 1TB nowadays? I'm not even sure it will take less time to recompress and backup tan to back them up directly (unless you back up to the cloud).

  • Does ImageMagick's auto search inside the folders? How about videos? This isn't the main backup, just a last-ditch easy to copy backup.
    – dult.np
    Sep 3, 2018 at 9:04
  • No it doesn't. find does. Don't know about videos (likely done with ffmpeg), but it's likely going to take very significant amounts of CPU.
    – xenoid
    Sep 3, 2018 at 11:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .