5 Lessons on Large File Video Transfers

A team filming a movie on a street with large buildings in the background.

Many industries need to regularly send and share large video files, from film and television production to business marketing, training and safety videos. If you’re involved in video production for your company, here are a few things you should know.

1. Online file sharing services usually tap out between 2 and 10GB

Most online file sharing services have file size limits in the 2 to 10GB range. High resolution video hits that limit quickly, with a few hours of raw footage reaching hundreds of gigabytes and more. And as moving picture quality continues to advance, the size and amount of files in flight across the Internet will likely grow in parallel, contributing to already congested networks.

2. FTP is outdated and can’t handle distance

Many companies still rely on FTP (file transfer protocol) systems for transferring large files, which are typically relics of the days when computers and the Internet were only used by scientists and technicians. While FTP’s user interface is quite archaic, its underlying protocol TCP (transfer control protocol) is the real culprit when it comes to large file transfers. TCP is also the foundation protocol for HTTP and works really well for almost every type of data moving over the Internet. However, it is very inefficient for most video transfers because it sends large files as a sequence of many small packets and will only send a limited number before a confirmation must be received from the other end, causing a lengthy back and forth with associated latency and room for disruption. The longer the distance between sender and receiver, the more likely FTP will fail.

3. Adding more bandwidth won’t help

Many people, even technically minded people, try to solve the speed and reliability issues of FTP by purchasing more bandwidth. Internet providers are notorious for claiming that this will speed up the transmission of large files over distance. But high bandwidth will not take care of the problem FTP has with latency (that back and forth time interval discussed in #2), so purchasing more bandwidth won’t help.

4. Usability matters more than you might think

User Experience Design has become a trendy subject, but it deserves the attention it’s getting. And not just because good UX means that people can use software without pulling their hair out. Especially within a business setting, usability has a direct impact on training and management resources, as well as security.

Why is usability important for security? It has to do with a secure design principle called psychological acceptability, which states that a well designed system should be as easy to use in a secure state as it is in an insecure state, or users will default to the insecure state. In regard to video sharing, poor UX design encourages employees to use familiar online file sharing tools, even if they aren’t secure or sanctioned by IT. Also, poor UX design usually means confusing and hard to manage security settings, like permissions and passwords, leaving room for malicious hackers.

5. FTP isn’t really free

Basic FTP is free, but because it’s such an old protocol, developers have been making up for its shortcomings for years, creating add ons including security, email notification, checkpoint restart, user and storage management, automation and more. All of these require either the purchase of additional applications or having a developer write custom scripts. The result is a technically complex system that drains IT time and business resources.

Those are just a few things to know about traditional methods for sharing large video files. If you’re having trouble with large file video transfers, try Media Shuttle for free. Media Shuttle is an easy-to-use, secure SaaS solution that can quickly send any size file, anywhere in the world. It utilizes Signiant’s Emmy award-winning large file acceleration technology and is cost-effective for everyone from small businesses to large enterprises.

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