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Digital downloads and correct compression settings

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Ross Stark
Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 27, 2016 at 6:37:54 pm

Friends, I'm entering a slightly new arena here, so I'm seeking wise counsel. (fyi, I have had the privilege of speaking with a few young people interested in joining this or similar professions and have spoken very highly of the people that comment in this forum. You all are truly a blessing by sharing your knowledge and expertise. Thank you!)

It has occurred much more often that clients and customers are requesting digital files as opposed to DVDs. I'm trying to find the best approach to this way of doing things. My current setup is to upload an mp4 to my Google Drive account and share this way. I feel as if my files are WAY too big. 10 minute band performance is somewhere in the neighborhood of 400MB. I am also about to open this option up to multiple customers, and I don't want this to cause 1 customer to buy and share it with 5 other potential customers (i.e. I lose out on sales).

What file sharing system do you guys use/recommend?

and

What file container, compression, other settings would you recommend?

I film in Full HD, so I can go most any direction.


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John Rofrano
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 27, 2016 at 7:49:20 pm

[Ross Stark] "What file sharing system do you guys use/recommend?"
I deliver digital files via DropBox. Don't make it public. Give each client the link and no one else can see it except them. Of course, they could share it, but they could have shared copies of your DVD's as well. Everyone knows how to copy a DVD these days.
[Ross Stark] "What file container, compression, other settings would you recommend?"
I would use MainConcept AVC with either the Internet 720p or 1080p setting. I've seen some people charge more for the 1080p version than for 720p which gives you price flexibility (i.e., high price for higher quality).

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Ross Stark
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 27, 2016 at 8:06:35 pm

Thanks, John.

Can client A share the link with Uncle Bob and Aunt Sue, or would they actually have to download the file, upload the file, then share it? I know that nothing is fool proof, I just want to make it as practically inconvenient as possible to share.

What bit rate do you recommend?

Would you say that 400MB for a 10 minute clip is the norm or is that a huge file size? Reason I ask, the upcoming products will be 25-45 minutes long.


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Amanda Duffield
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 5:16:42 am

I need to understand exactly this info also..... have very similar issues.


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John Rofrano
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 1:28:20 pm

[Ross Stark] "Can client A share the link with Uncle Bob and Aunt Sue, or would they actually have to download the file, upload the file, then share it? I know that nothing is fool proof, I just want to make it as practically inconvenient as possible to share."
Yes, the client can certainly share the link with others. If you password protect the link they will share the password too. There is no way to protect digital media unless you add DRM and a player that only plays valid media locked to a specific device or account. Trust me, no one will buy your videos if you do that. I have professional videos I bought from Amazon.com that I can't watch anymore because the computer I downloaded them to is long gone and they were locked to that computer. I won't buy anything that has DRM or that I can't remove the DRM anymore.
[Ross Stark] "What bit rate do you recommend? "
It depends on the content. Fast moving content with a lot of detail will require a higher bit-rate. I would deliver 4Mbps - 6Mbps.
[Ross Stark] "Would you say that 400MB for a 10 minute clip is the norm or is that a huge file size?"
That sounds about right for a 5-6Mbps clip.

One thing you could do is deliver on a USB drive. They have plenty of space and 2GB-4GB thumb drives are around $3-4. Then there is no easy download link to share. You are back to physical media just like a DVD. Just add the cost to your price. You could also give them a data DVD. Just use the DVD as a 4.7GB thumb drive and place the files on it as media.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasstsoftware.com



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Ross Stark
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 1:32:13 pm

Thanks, John. You are the epitome of clutch!


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David Shirey
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 6:44:59 pm

I think the era of receiving more money based on the number of DVD copies you sell is coming to a close. We make sure we get paid an appropriate amount for the work we do to create a final product. Once that product is delivered we want our clients to share it with as many people as they like. If they like our work the word of mouth only helps us.

As for delivery medium I'm a big fan of wetransfer.com No one needs to sign up for an login, it's just a simple download link. The free service does 2gb, but if you pay for the plus service you get a landing page at whateveryouwant.wetransfer.com with your own custom backgrounds, and the ability to not only send up to 20gb, but clients can send you up to 20gb too, which comes in handy for us. It's just unrealistic these days to expect clients to understand ftp sites and wetransfer makes things easy. Their mobile app could use some work but mobile is a whole other ballgame since iphones won't even let you download files.



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Ross Stark
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 6:50:50 pm

David, thank you for the info! I'll look into that site.

I also believe you are absolutely correct in regards to the end of an era. It's happening right as I was getting a little comfortable in my process and approach. I'll just suck it up and find cheese elsewhere.


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David Shirey
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 7:27:50 pm

Since we're on the topic, this is as good a place as any to to bring up "the cloud". These days people are becoming way too reliant on the internet, and there's this erroneous assumption that if someone sends you a link that it'll just exist there until the end of time, as though the internet weren't constantly in flux and everything were free. One of the things I like about wetransfer is that the e-mail it sends tells you hey, this link is good for one month and expires on this day. Get your media you paid for, back it up on your own devices, and take ownership of it. If you're in the business of hosting clients' videos and charging an annual fee that's great, and we can use iplayerhd.com for that if clients so desire, but that all needs to be worked out with clients so that no one assumes anything.

On the other hand we don't charge clients anything to retain videos here at the office, so when people call up and have lost all their DVD's from 2008, we just pop in the hard drive and shoot them an mp4 file and they're very pleased. Especially since now they have something in HD they previously only had in standard definition. For the record we do make blu-rays too but despite our best efforts educating clients we still get people who want HD then call up because their blu-rays are broken and won't play on their DVD player :P



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Ross Stark
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 7:35:40 pm

That's good to know as well.

I understand the frustration with educating clients. I had a large catastrophe over a thumbprint on the DVD once ("my video is skipping"). The big problem was, this client had held the DVDs of all the subsequent customers for two weeks without my knowledge over this issue. All reprinted DVDs (just to make sure) and lots of phone calls cleared up the issue, but it was time I could have spent better doing something else.


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David Shirey
Re: Digital downloads and correct compression settings
on Oct 28, 2016 at 7:47:29 pm

Unfortunately the age of clients getting scratches and fingerprints on their discs won't be made any easier as we move to clients playing videos on their virus-infested decade-old $500 Dell PC's and complaining about playback being skippy. When possible try to push USB sticks as a delivery medium. As more people get SmartTV's and other playback devices, it's hard to mess up the ease of use and quality of sticking something in the side of a TV and hitting play. These devices nowadays have so many features people don't even use. Friends and family are always impressed when I have photos/videos on my phone of them and pull up Miracast on their own tv's or blu-ray players to show it at gatherings.

Caveat to usb sticks: For maximum compatibility you want to keep the drive's FAT32 format, which means you're bound to a 4gb file limit. Longer videos might want to be broken up into two parts so you don't have to lower the bitrate.



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