So you just finished putting the final touches on the first draft of your big video project. Now you need the client to review it and give you edits and comments. There is just one problem; the file is too big to send via any email program and the client is how would you say not tech savvy enough to use a method like FTP etc. This is where some of the large file transfer software and applications can be useful in video work.
Over all my years in production, there have been many evolutions in the discussion of how to send large files back and forth. As anyone who works in video knows that there are times when clients or colleagues need to review drafts of the the work and give feedback. In addition, there are often times when you need to incorporate video elements that must be sent to you by other sources or individuals.
In the old days, people would actually traffic tapes back and forth to each other via courier or delivery services. As society has become more technologically advanced, our options for sending large amounts of data via the internet has increased. However, even in this modern age; large uncompressed video and video files can choke a seemingly fast connection. Whats worse is that most of the services that do allow you send large files charge a fee for the service.
Now, I can already hear the detractors here saying that there are free ways to send large files- FTP, sending links from a private storage server, Dropbox, etc. While these are all true (in fact one of my favorite ways to send files is via my NAS server via a custom link); these solutions require a certain amount of technical skill on the sender and often times the file receiver. In the case of Dropbox, you can use up to 2GB of space for free; but then you have filled your Dropbox with large files and can’t use it for other purposes. I use my free Dropbox to sync things like my 1Password accounts and for things I want a digital record of- like my birth certificate or will. I don’t want to have to clear out these documents for temporary working files; I need them to stay there in perpituity.
There are a few solutions that I use on a fairly regular basis which are bare bones and simplified to the point that anyone could use them. The two I use the most often are WeTransfer and SendSpace. We have an account with SendSpace at work; so this is my main reason for using it (SendSpace only offers up to 300MB free, for everything above this you must have a paid account). Otherwise, I would only choose to use WeTransfer as it offers free service for files totaling under 2GB. Many times when I just need a client to review a draft of a project this is a perfect solution.
Rarely, if ever, have I had a single export go over the 2GB limit. The only way this would happen is if you had an extremely long video, or if you chose not to compress the video at all. A normal 1920x1080P three and a half minute video compressed with the Vimeo 1080 codec and wrapped in a H264 wrapper will only be a few hundred megabytes. Having said that, there are times where I may want to send multiple versions of a draft. Perhaps I have three different musical scratch tracks that I would like the client to review in real time to the video. You can see how the megabytes can quickly add up.
WeTransfer makes things really easy. You just type in the URL http://wetransfer.com and you are guided to a incredibly simple interface where you: attach the file, enter the recipients email address, enter your email address, and hit send.
When the file has been sent through, you will receive a confirmation email to the email you entered in the send box. This email will contain the direct download link to your file. The recipient will also receive an email with the download link. With the free service- your link will only remain active for 7 days. Under the paid service (or WeTransfer Plus) links can remain active indefinitely.
As an added bonus, you will receive an email when the recipient downloads the file. This has come in handy more than a few times when the client has said they never received a file or some other non-sense. It’s always good to know when the client has actually downloaded the file.
I know that there a many other services that offer large file transfers. Some of them are probably very good. However, I have found that many times WeTransfer suits all my needs for a simple and fast service to send larger video files. I have found it especially useful in dealing with clients or accounts where the recipients are “technically challenged”. The process is so simple that almost anyone can navigate it easily. In addition, WeTransfer has been around for quite some time and has a reputation for quality service and fast file transfers.
Benefits of WeTransfer
- No account or sign up needed
- Ease of use
- Intuitive interface
- Sends email when file is sent and when downloaded
- 2GB send absolutely free
Drawbacks of WeTransfer
- File link expiration after 7 days
- 2GB file size limit
- Full size ads are displayed in background