Even with super-fast broadband, it can be tricky to share a video with family, friends or colleagues. A short video lasting just a few minutes recorded on your phone could easily be several hundred megabytes, so how do you go about sending it?
You can’t use email*, and instant messaging services are mostly ruled out. Even if you can send videos via WhatsApp or Messenger, they’ll reduce the quality to a level that’s probably unacceptable to most parties.
(*Actually, you can use email in some instances. Apple Mail will offer to use Mail Drop to share files up to 5GB, and that’s automatic with no configuration needed. Similarly, Gmail will refuse to attach a video larger than 25MB, and will instead offer to share it via Google Drive. The recipient will receive an email with a link to download the file.)
Fortunately, there are ways you can make your video smaller (not shorter) before sharing it, and there are various services that are designed for sharing large files, such as videos.
Before we get to the two main ways to share, it’s worth trying to reduce your file to a more manageable size. You can do this using a number of apps, assuming you can get the video to a PC or Mac: it’s not that easy on a phone.
We prefer HandBrake because it’s free and pretty fast, but there are many others including VideoProc. By choosing a lower resolution or even just a more efficient video codec (such as HEVC) you can make a video considerably smaller.
You can also use a video editor such as DaVinci Resolve to shorten a video to remove any unnecessary parts, as well as to resave it (render it) at a lower resolution or bitrate to make the file smaller while maintaining acceptable levels of quality.
Once you have your optimised video file, one of the best ways to share it is to upload it to a cloud service. It’s likely your home broadband will have a much slower upload speed than download, so don’t be surprised if videos take a long time (maybe even several hours) to upload.
But once stored on Dropbox, Google Drive or another one of our recommended cloud storage services, you can share the link so people can download it – or even stream it directly if the service supports it, as Dropbox does.
Another advantage of cloud storage is that it won’t (or shouldn’t) mess about with the file to compress it in any way. If you upload a 1GB file, that’s the size – and quality – it will remain.
YouTube, Vimeo & other video hosting sites
Another option is to upload your video to a site that hosts videos. You might not want your video to be available to anyone, but YouTube – and others – gives you the option to publish your video as ‘unlisted’. You can even make it private and pick specific people who are allowed to watch it, but this is hassle to configure.
This means only those with the link can watch it. YouTube doesn’t offer a download option (unless you’re a Premium member) but there are lots of ways to download YouTube videos – it’s easy when you know how.
It’s easy to upload a video to these sites, whether from your PC or your phone. Again, upload times can be lengthy if the service doesn’t compress the video before uploading.
Since YouTube does compress / process videos after you upload them, there can be a slight loss in quality
If you’re looking for a quick and simple solution to sending a large file, then look no further than WeTransfer.
This service will send large files for you (under 2GB) for free. There’s also a paid option that comes with more benefits.
Simply head to WeTransfer.com, select free or premium, and then you can upload your file.
- Add the file you wish to send using the ‘Add your files’ option
- Enter the e-mail address of the person you wish to send it to
- Enter your own e-mail address
- Add an optional message if you wish
Once this has been done, hit ‘Transfer’ and your file will be uploaded.
The recipient of your file will receive an e-mail from WeTransfer. This e-mail will contain a link to download the file.
The main disadvantage is that the file won’t be available forever, so this isn’t a good option if you want people to be able to download the video whenever they like.