HANDLE WITH CARE

A guide to transferring HD video losing quality.

So, you just unboxed that brand-new smartphone that shoots incredible 4k and super slow-mo video. Now you can send that incredible footage to your ad agency, or production company, and the videos they edit for your social media site should look amazing, right? So why don’t they? Well, Sometimes it’s as simple as how you send the file.

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Don’t use email or text

While email and text messaging can be a great way to transfer small files, both these mediums have their limits. In fact, they have literal file size limits which is a problem for transferring high definition video files. Even standard definition video files take up a lot of space on a hard drive, high definition files can be twice or even four times as big! Most e-mail and text applications that allow the transfer of these files will compress them, without much concern for quality loss. A compressed video file will be shrunk to a lower definition and will likely have “artifacts”: those glitchy patches of color that freeze while the rest of the video plays. basically, emailing your video to someone is the digital equivalent of mailing them a folded poster.

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Transferring directly to your computer using iPhone or Android

Since you are likely going to edit the video you shot using a computer, it makes sense to directly plug your phone into one and transfer the files that way. If you are editing the videos yourself, you can transfer them directly to your PC. With an android device you can simply connect to the computer directly with a USB cable and select the “charge this device via USB” notification. That will give you options to transfer files from your device’s storage. If you are transferring to a mac you will need to download the android file transfer app, and after connecting your device via USB cable, you can use the app to browse the files stored on the device. If you are getting files from an iPhone, you will connect with a USB cable and then transfer files using iTunes. Many people find this process a little confusing and opt to use an online file transfer service as described later in this blog.

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Save to Thumb drive

Of course, if you want someone else to edit the video, you could take those files that you have transferred to your computer and save them on a thumb drive. Now they are easily accessible and can be watched, transferred, or edited on any device that can read the thumb drive. The way the drive is formatted will determine whether it can be read by mac, PC, or both. Most thumb drives are already formatted to the universally readable FAT 32 file system. If for some reason you do need to re-format the thumb drive, make sure to backup any important files on a different hard drive. FORMATTING A HARD DRIVE WILL DELETE ALL THE FILES ON THE DRIVE! Whether you intend to hand the files over to someone or not, you should back them up on an external hard drive for safety.

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Online file transfer services

The most convenient way to transfer large files without compression is to use an online storage option like Google Drive, Dropbox, or WeTransfer. Google Drive is one of the most commonly used options because, if you have a Gmail account, you have a Google Drive account. That service, in particular, gives you a free 15 GB (gigabytes) of permanent storage. Those 15GBs are accessible to you anywhere that you can log into your account, and shareable with anyone who has an email account. However, the maximum resolution for video files in google drive is 1080p, which is the standard size for HD broadcast, but some phones do boast the ability to shoot in 4k resolution. If you need to transfer 4k files, you could use Dropbox, which works much the same way as google drive, or WeTransfer. WeTransfer is designed to send files as oppose to storing them. It lets you upload up to 2GBs for free to a temporary location on their server. After doing so you are provided with a unique download link. Then the files are ready to be downloaded by whomever you share the link with.

There you have it: nice high definition video, handled with care, and ready for editing.

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