A friend had to get a 120 MPG file down to a smaller size so he could email a message to a friend for a celebration. Ubuntu to the rescue! I found the following:
mencoder INPUTFILE -ofps 25 -ovc xvid -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=192 -srate 48000 -xvidencopts fixed_quant=4 -o OUTPUT.avi
The srate (sound) could be dropped to 16000 if necessary but the big savings were with framerate dropping from -ofps 25 to 15 and the size reduced by adding:
There are likely to be much better ways of doing these things but it worked in this case and the file was 3MB instead of 120MB. The result could be played successfully in VLC (but not necessarily in Windows Media Player or Real Player).