As a video editor, you’ve likely been caught in the cycle of syncing and downloading hefty video files, all just for a brief review. The hassle often arises because files that need to be shared correctly can appear grainy or pixelated when not fully downloaded to your device. Additionally, some online platforms require you to compress video files in order to adhere to file size limitations, thus diminishing the file’s quality.
In this blog, we’ll explore why your videos may suffer quality loss during file transfers and introduce some of the top methods for sharing video files without losing quality.
When sending files over the internet, the size of a file significantly impacts our ability to send media in full resolution, leading us to frequently use proxies. A video’s file size is a double edge sword because, on the one hand, in video production, a larger file can mean higher quality, while on the other hand, the bigger the file, the harder it is to share with colleagues.
Providing access to full quality files can take a considerable amount of time, so in most cases teams choose to compress their media to reduce lengthy downloads. File size directly impacts creative teams and how they communicate and collaborate on files when working remotely. Below are a few ways a file’s size can lead to a loss of video quality when collaborating remotely:
In an era where remote collaboration is paramount to how we work, understanding the dynamics of file size and the implications on your video projects is important to strike the right balance between quality and maintaining a smooth workflow. Fortunately, several tools are available to efficiently navigate sending and receiving large video files while preserving quality.
One common way to send and receive files is via a transfer service. A file transfer service facilitates the transmission of files between users or systems over the internet or other networks. Some examples of file transfer services include File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), and file transfer platforms like WeTransfer, Signiant, and Aspera.
Using a file transfer service to send large video files ensures you transmit the exact digital copy without any modifications. So, when you receive and download the video, it retains its original high quality. However, the drawback is the time-consuming process of waiting for files to download and re-upload every time a change is made. Additionally, data is duplicated many times resulting in less secure and more time consuming workflows.
Generally, when using the file transfer method to send video files, you start preparing and uploading them into your secure file transfer platform, sharing a unique link (often with access credentials to ensure security), followed by the receiver downloading the file for full access.
One of the common challenges creative teams face, particularly in remote settings, is managing file versions during transfers. Some file transfer services offer version control support, but most require you to review and track versions manually via a history log rather than allowing the entire team to work from one source of truth file. Additionally, most can only retain a set number of versions over a specific time period.
The sync and share method is another way many creatives send and receive large video files. Sync and share refer to tools and services that store files in a cloud or on-premises storage system, synchronizing them across multiple devices and sharing them with others. The most popular sync and share platforms include Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and DropBox.
Many creatives choose sync and share tools to send and receive large video files because of the added support for collaboration. When you send a file via a file transfer service, the transaction ends once the file is sent. There is only one way to track edits or changes, and that happens once the file is re-uploaded and returned to you. With sync and share services, multiple people can access and work on a project file from a central location—generally in the cloud or on-prem storage.
The ability to collaboratively access a shared file by multiple users and the advantage of flexible file storage capacities make sync and share an attractive option for creative teams.
Still, many conventional sync and share systems require a location to download and store your files. The download duration can vary based on the file size and the user’s internet quality. Large files take longer to download and pose the risk of eating up the available storage space on your device when accessed through sync and share.
In addition, many sync and share platforms bill based on storage use. This can become costly when downloading large amounts of data, especially with a pay-as-you-go or tiered pricing model.
When using a cloud provider combined with a sync and share solution, the provider most often protects your data and files. This is different when using on-prem storage, which puts you or your IT team in charge of ensuring your data is safe.
Cloud storage refers to a service model in which data is maintained, managed, and backed up remotely on servers hosted by a third party and made available to users over the internet. One of the key benefits of cloud storage is that it eliminates file size and type limitations, such as those set by file transfer services, and allows you to upload and share even large terabytes of data. Some of the top cloud solutions include Amazon S3, Azure Blob Storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage, Google Cloud Storage, and LucidLink.
Since cloud tools offer your team seamless access to files from one location in the cloud, they make it easier to ensure files are backed up, and in most cases, version control is a reality. With every change made to a file, the cloud keeps a record, eliminating the fear of losing the original. The cloud also ensures files can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and on any device, boosting collaboration and creativity. Additionally, with cloud storage, there’s less need for IT teams to manage and maintain physical servers or deal with hardware issues, freeing them up for other essential tasks.
When it comes to maintaining the quality of large video files, cloud storage platforms typically store data in their original, unaltered form and implement redundant storage systems so that if a file gets lost or corrupted (e.g. server failure), your data is securely backed up across multiple servers.
Cloud storage tools are leading the way in video production because they are specifically designed for tasks like backup, archiving, or large-scale data storage without a primary focus on synchronization. Although with most cloud storage platforms, you still have to wait for files to download and sync to your device to access them, cloud access ensures your team can remain in a collaborative workflow in real-time. With cloud storage, the quality of large video files is easy to maintain consistently over time.
LucidLink offers a distinctive edge in cloud storage for video editors and creative teams. With Filespaces, LucidLink’s global file system, you get instant access to video files, facilitating real-time editing without downloading assets to your device. There’s no sending files via a shared link or drive because once you add (or simply drag) a file into your Filespace, it’s there and available for your entire team to access. This streamlines collaborative work, removing the hassle of downloading sizable files.
Simply engage with your video files directly in the cloud using editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Blackmagic Cloud, etc. Once an edit is saved, it’s immediately available for another team member to continue right where you left off.
LucidLink distinguishes itself from VDI cloud solutions, which tend to degrade picture quality due to streaming computer output. In contrast, LucidLink ensures that the original quality of your file remains untouched. While many sync and share platforms require downloading the entire file before it can be accessed, LucidLink offers a more efficient approach.
When editing a file from your Filespace using Adobe Premiere Pro, you directly stream only the parts of that file you need—ensuring the highest performance and maintaining your file’s quality. This feature is especially valuable for color correction, online/conform editing, and VFX workflows.
Ready for a seamless cloud-based video editing workflow? Enhance your team’s efficiency and creative potential. Get started today for free!
About the author: Clayton Dutton has enjoyed a long career in media and entertainment. With experience ranging from Video Editor to Broadcast and Post Production Executive, Clayton remains a student of the art and insatiably curious.
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