File sizes are exploding, and with that comes the challenge of how to still send them in a quick, secure manner. In that sense, figuring out how to send large videos can seem like an almost impossible task. This is a significant pain point for freelancers, hobbyist video editors, post-production houses, and broadcasters alike as workflows continually adapt to digitization.
A recent 4K Shooters article points out that a single hour of 4K footage is a whopping 318 GB, and those file sizes don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Therefore, we have to learn to adapt to changing times and burgeoning file sizes.
So, how do you collaborate on projects with geographically distant partners? Alternatively, what do you do when a client asks for some of their raw footage? Having a filesharing system in place that’s not only future-proofed for larger sizes but also security, user-friendliness and seamless operation is critical.
In this handy guide, we’ll help you figure out how to deliver video files that are time-sensitive and larger than 20 gigabytes. You might be surprised to learn that there are several suitable options to choose from.
Methods: How to Send Large Videos
Method 1: Accelerated UDP Solutions
User Datagram Protocol, UDP for short, is ideal for low-latency, simplified transmissions with minimal risk of data lossage. You benefit from faster sends without the need to wait on receiver agreements. The leaders in the UDP accelerated transfer space are Aspera, Signiant, and File Catalyst. UDP solutions can be both point to point, which requires an on-premise server (Aspera Faspex), or through the cloud (Aspera Files), which is more like a SaaS offering.
The way this technology works is by creating a new protocol to transfer data over the internet that can send at very high speeds. Most online file transfer tools are built on top of the TCP protocol, but there’s a catch with using it; it was designed to share bandwidth, which means it is generally quite slow.
By adding software to the sender’s device and controlling the software on that of the receiver, UDP solutions are able to override the default behaviour of the internet. In short, speeds aren’t throttled, meaning you can send files as fast as your internet connection can handle.
For example, with UDP solutions utilizing a 1 Gbps upload speed, you will get close to 1 Gbps. Keep in mind, however, if you or your recipient do not have a fast upload/download speed such as 20 Mbps or less (you can find out by having them run this test https://www.speedtest.net/) you are still only capable of sending data at 20 Mbps, even with these tools. Make sure you have an adequate amount of bandwidth beforehand.
- The fastest transfer speeds possible.
- Transfers performed this way are reliable thanks to auto-retry mechanisms, pause/resume functionality, etc.
- Very expensive (Aspera Files starts at $0.75 per GB).
- Requires technical expertise to use/install.
- UDP is not always accepted through firewalls; workaround solutions require specialized software installation, which can be difficult in restrictive IT environments.
- Complicated to use.
- They tend to take up all the bandwidth in your office and need to be throttled if you need to make a Skype call or even browse the internet.
When delivering programs to broadcasters, UDP solutions will typically utilize one of the aforementioned brands as their preferred method of delivery. In that case, they also usually cover the costs of the transfer, so that’s a no-brainer. However, if you’re not sending your files to a broadcaster or if the broadcaster doesn’t have one of these tools in-house, you should consider the options below.
Method 2: Shipping a Hard Drive
As Andrew Tanenbaum once said, “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.” You might not be shipping tapes anymore, but the message still rings true for hard drives. If you are trying to carry out a time-sensitive delivery of video files and either yourself or your recipient doesn’t have enough bandwidth, the best option is to ship the data on a hard drive through a local courier or shipping provider like FedEx.
- You can ship a lot of data at once.
- Tracking information is typically provided, as well as insurance.
- Shipments can typically occur overnight or, if local, within hours.
- Shipping services are generally reliable.
- Overall cost is relatively low.
- It’s inconvenient to manage; tracking doesn’t always update and you can’t have changes made once the parcel has shipped.
- Scalability becomes an issue if you must ship frequently.
- Your data is in the hands of other people, representing a security risk.
- International shipping can run into customs delays and/or shipping services can encounter delivery failures.
- Recovering your hard drives can be a pain and buying new ones is expensive, to say nothing of potential data loss in transit.
- Shipping the same data to multiple recipients in different locations requires you to perform the process repetitively.
Method 3: Cloud Solutions
Another option is sending data via one of several cloud-based sharing services. Best of all, everyone – likely including your clients – is familiar with services such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, One Drive, and the other usual suspects. These are great at migrating large data libraries to the cloud, making that data available to others to download. Permissions can also be set up so only certain individuals can access or download certain files. Cloud sharing is also very affordable compared to the other solutions in this list. Dropbox, for example, will set you back around $11 USD per month and enable you to transfer up to 1 terabyte of data with no file size limits.
The biggest issue with these services is when it comes to very large files (20 GB+). Cloud sharing tools were really designed for documents, photo sharing, and compressed video – not uncompressed video footage that takes up a lot of space. With that in mind, these services are typically up to 10 times slower than UDP based or accelerated cloud options. So, if your delivery is not time sensitive and you don’t care whether a transfer takes one or one dozen hours, cloud sharing is a viable option.
Another notable mention in this category is WeTransfer, who has a beautifully designed product that is dead simple to use. WeTransfer is focused on serving creatives and therefore very affordable. The only issue for video editors is the file size limits; WeTransfer lets you send deliveries under 2 GB for free, and their paid version allows you to send up to 20 GB for the cost of around $10 USD per month. This is a great option for deliveries that fit within those file size restrictions.
- Easy to use.
- Inconsistent or slow performance.
- WeTransfer has file size limits.
Method 4: Accelerated Cloud Solutions
Last but not least, you could always use accelerated cloud solutions such as our very own service, MASV. This really is the option for those who don’t have time for restrictions and need the fastest, most resilient solution. That’s why we built our tool specifically for video editors to be able to send very large files, as fast as your internet connection can handle and at prices comparable to shipping hard drives – without the associated risks!
As an accelerated cloud solution, MASV doesn’t require specialized software but is still able to send files quicker than most competitors. We also have built a user-friendly tool to ensure you can send as much data as needed without any file size or bandwidth roadblocks.
Billing is straightforward and no-nonsense; $0.25 USD per gigabyte in a pay-as-you-go model, which also includes 10 days of storage for your delivery. We chose pay-as-you-go over subscription after talking with businesses in the media and entertainment space. Their insights were invaluable, informing us that their business is usually project-based and monthly transfer volume tends to fluctuate drastically from month to month. We feel this model not only best suits the industry but also saves you from having to manage a set storage amount. This is possible because there are no limits to how much data you can have stored with us at one time. We made MASV fast and efficient through the use of our patented, cloud-based TCP acceleration technology, ensuring the product is extremely easy to use, requiring no technical expertise or hardware/software installation.
Usually, in tests comparing MASV to UDP solutions like Aspera, we typically transfer at 90 percent of your internet connection’s speed, which is only roughly 10 percent slower than what you would see with UDP options. This was an intentional trade-off, implemented to make our service much easier to use and set up than with any number of UDP counterparts. MASV still requires you to have a decent internet connection, as we can’t send data faster than the amount of bandwidth you have purchased, but this applies to all standard and non-standard solutions in the industry.
- Very fast.
- Easy to use.
- Easy to implement and manage.
- Slightly less speedy and efficient compared to UDP, but less risk-prone.
This article was written by David Horne – VP of Product at MASSIVE.io. MASV is an accelerated file transfer service that specializes in sending large video files over the internet as a replacement to shipping hard drives with FedEx. This review is intended to fairly explain the different methods available for transferring large files and the considerations for each vendor in the space. We have tested and benchmarked each tool as well as conducted many surveys with videographers around the world to understand the pros and cons of each solution which is shared with you above.