How to Get a Large (Very Large) File to Your Friends

If you read my post on creating a cool video out of vacation pictures, you’ll know that the file size of my video generated with Picasa was huge at about 2.5 GB in size.  With a video of that size it becomes a challenge to get it to friends and family. There are a bunch of things you can do:

  1. Break the video up into pieces and put them on a bunch of CDs
  2. Burn the entire thing to a DVD
  3. Burn the video to a DVD in NTSC format
  4. Burn it to a BlueRay disc
  5. Find a service to post it somewhere and then get the link to your friends.

Burning the file to media is probably the most obvious way to do this, but it is not ideal. Chopping the file up is a pain since the people I want to send it to (parents, grandparents, etc.) might have a hard time reassembling it. Burning to a DVD is probably ok too, but DVD’s are expensive, snail mailing them in a pain, and then running a WMV from a DVD disc on a slower computer will cause hesitation, jumpiness, etc. Burning the WMV to a DVD in NTSC format will also work, but then your resolution will drop significantly to NTSC format (my video will lose more than 2/3 of its native resolution).

Burning to BlueRay would probably be the ideal solution, but I don’t happen to have a burner lying around amd then I would need to get a decent tool for doing this like Nero’s top of the line tool. Long term if I make more of these videos I think blue ray is a good approach.

For now however it would be great if I could get the video online in a spot where family and friends can grab it and watch it right away. I looked for a bunch of services:

DivShare and RapidShare are web based products that support the major browsers. They require registration and include tools for managing sets of files. The basic difference between them is how many files you can upload, how long they stay around, how many bits you can download over a period of time, and then to some degree varying abilities to secure files and/or make them private. If you want to do more than just have a spot to post and download files, these tools do have other interesting features – for example DivShare has some API’s that can be used to integrate their media management services with things like WordPress blogs. The big problem is that they have size limits. RapidShare’s limit is about 05.GB, DivShare is even smaller at 200 MB. That’s no good so they are out.

DropBox looks like an interesting tool. It is a client install (12.9 MB download) and there are clients available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. DropBox is more of a synch tool for files – so if you want to back up or collaborate on files with a group of people you can setup a shared folder with various type of permissions and security settings and then share files. Sounds pretty interesting, but of course the free product has an upper limit of 2GB of storage which is not enough for my video.

So last on the list is Sizeable send – hard not to guess, but this is the tool that finally worked for me. A web based app that does not require setting up an account. It really is as simple as putting in your email address and the email address of someone that wants the file, selecting the file to upload and then when its done you’ll get a screen with the link to the file and an email to you and to the other email address.

I was able to get my full file uploaded in one shot. That’s super! It was pretty fast as well – I’m sure the speed limit was my own internet connection. It took about 4 hours to upload the file, but it didn’t drop during that whole time. Pretty cool – and simple.

A few minutes you’ll get an email telling you your file is there and the other guy will get one too that tells them who sent the file and how to get it. There’s a few ads, but hey there’s no porn ads and they gotta make money some how so that’s ok to me. If you look closely you’ll see that they report there are no files in the zip. I think this must be because I encrypted the zip prior to uploading with AES-256, hopefully this will not interfere with the download success. If it does I’ll follow up with a note.

This this helps anyone else looking for ways to send videos and large picture sets during the holiday season – happy uploading!

4 Responses

  1. Another favorite option is File Apartment ( Easy to use, fast, no software to download or registration, up to 1 GB, free option, safe, and secure.

  2. Beren says:

    Thanks for the comment, but its stuck at just 1GB – so it fails in the “very large” category. I should point out that WordPress’ free service also supports a 1GB upload, but again these days that’s not very large.

  3. Beren says:

    I’ve been playing a bit more with this service and my luck has been running out a bit. With a file of this size you are supposed to get 5 days to download it, but they “expired” my file after only 2 days.

    I asked support what the deal was – so far no response. Also posted on their community site – no response yet.

    I tried uploading my file from a higher bandwidth network and got lots of timeout errors and it sure seemed to be throttled to about 128KB/sec.

    I’ll try some more and start to look for other services that might do the trick.

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