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George Mauro
Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 8, 2011 at 7:16:40 pm

Hi all,

A question about using freelance shooters and sending their footage to my office to edit in FCP7.

In the very near future we are going to need to have HD footage sent via FTP, i'm guessing, from my freelance people to my site. i've done a test sending a 500MB file. it was about 45seconds of video. it took 15minutes to upload and nearly 25 to download in my office. if i were waiting for a 1hr long raw video it could take quite a long time before i could start cutting, no? :-)

so, advice? is there something better than FTP, am i out of my mind? Should i get a serious FedEx account instead and just use hard drives to transport?

Thanks for your advice. I read this forum every time I have questions.



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Neil Patience
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 8, 2011 at 8:01:38 pm

I assume the bottleneck in your plan is not FTP or not - it must be the bandwidth limit of the ISP's that you use would be the limiting factor ?
You are constrained by your suppliers upload speed and your download whatever system of transfer lies between.
Moving around full HD files over the net is not easy for most projects unless you are all on 40/50 gig plus fibre networks its going to get slow I would have thought.

Be interested to see what other think/do

best wishes

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Mark Suszko
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 8, 2011 at 8:03:41 pm

I think we're still in that in-between phase, in terms of our internet speeds and our other tech resources, where not every problem is practical to solve by FTP yet. But a lot of it boils down to how much of a hurry you are in. If you have the time to wait for the long encodes, then you should.

People think our internet service is fast... but there's plenty of tiny countries in Europe that leave us in the dust for internet speed.
The reasons for that are market-driven and political, so best discussed, probably, in another forum than the COW. Meanwhile, we deal with things as they are today.

I think I like BluRay disks over shuffling hard drives back and forth, for a couple of reasons. First, though; when I say blue ray, in this case I mean realtime dubs made from your camera or cards to a stand-alone bd recorder in real time, not an authoring/encoding step. If you first stipulate to that, then the advantages I think are:

If the disk gets lost in transit, replacing it doesn't cost as much as replacing a hardware drive.

BD is re-useable, but cheap enough you also can just stick it on a shelf as a back-up archive.

BD weighs very little compared to a hard drive and all it's protective packing, so the shipping may be less.

Shuffling drives around and managing and maintaining a fleet of them is a chore, and can you keep them all alike over time, or will the drives be constantly changing brands and models? Will you trust it after it gets dropped a couple of times? Grabbing a blank BD, wherever you are, is easier than getting your hands on new drives in a hurry.

The drive may or may not be useable by anybody else, depending on their drive cage setups, but the BD can be played on set-tops, on Playstations, in a BD drive, by anyone with enough of a nervous system to stick a disk in a slot and hit "play".... so you and the clients have more options to view and check the content. Making a few or many dubs is a snap, compared to mirroring multiple drives.

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Mark Laslo
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 8, 2011 at 9:44:15 pm

If you are looking at FTP it may be practical to look at hosting the FTP server internally, that way there is no need for somebody to upload to a server and then you download it. Worst case you set up a server with FTP and then have to move it over your local network which should go significantly faster.

This will tie up your internet bandwidth and if you are using a residential based package you may have a cap on how much data you can transfer each month. I know for me with Cox it is 200 gb a month.

Just a thought as this way once the file is transferred it's local. Setting up an FTP server is also pretty easy if you have any IT knowhow, it's a matter of security that can be a bit trickier.

Hope that might help.

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Chris Borjis
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:40:54 am

the issue with FTP is that it can surprise you by not completing. That sucks when it's a huge file.

The hollywood studios use dedicated hardware with super fast fiber connections and UDP transport protocols, but thats beyond the scope here...

Some network dramas are shot here in town and they told me they just make copies of their SD cards or drives (sony/red etc...) and fedex them down to L.A.

not quite there yet for cheap reliable huge file transfers...

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Andrew Rendell
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:25:49 am

It kind of depends on how much footage you need to send and what the implications of spending a long time on uploading via the internet are to you.

I've just had to get the rushes from a 3 day shoot abroad back quickly. It turned out to be about 160GB and knowing that it would be quite large we looked at the alternatives and the quickest way was for someone to fly with it on a drive. It would have been cheaper to use, say, FTP, but we decided that with a dealine looming we couldn't take the chance on the speed and reliability of internet connections from China for that amount of media.

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Erik Freid
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 9, 2011 at 2:39:10 pm

Hi George,

See this cross post form the digital delivery group.

Basically for files over 4-6GB to have regular transfer success you will have to go UDP (Apsera, Siginiant, File Catalyst) And for timely delivery probably at a minimum an T3 or OC line line. Here is a link to a bandwidth calculator

Keep in mind that if your line out is also being used for regular internet traffic by employees other tasks etc. the calc above assumes dedicated line and a protocol that can take advantage of it (ie UDP, FTP cannot take advantage over 5-6Mbit MAX) so assume real world times double or more the calculator time.


Erik Freid | MediaSilo, Inc
207 South Street | Third Floor | Boston, MA 02111
t. 617.423.6200, m. 617.306.8632, f. 617.507.8577

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George Mauro
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 9, 2011 at 3:04:09 pm

Hi guys... well, thank you for all these explanations and tips. Looks like we're still in the world of sneaker-net when it comes to HD footage, which is fine. I was one of the last hold outs for actual video tape... :-) I still have a case of Fuji 1" ! kidding.

Has anyone used those backpack mini-transitter devices like LiveU to send footage back to base?

Happy Friday, y'all.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 10, 2011 at 3:53:04 am

I've been looking into these gizmos, as we have an occasional situation where they would be a huge advantage. I mostly look at the ones that use "multihoming": that is, they "bind" 4 or more wireless cards together to create virtual bandwidth, and they split up and multiplex the video across the multiple lines, re-assembling them in a black box at the other end.

These are still kind of expensive, especially since many want you to Rent access to their receiver box and delivery network, on top of buying your own wireless cards and paying for all those accounts across multiple phone services.

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Jeff Meyer
Re: Sending HUGE files around
on Dec 10, 2011 at 5:30:25 am

If you're planning to to with the FedEx route and reusing media I would suggest getting some CF or SD cards instead of rewritable BluRay discs. Discs scratch too easily for me to consider reusing them. If you're going to keep putting BluRays on the shelf as masters they could be a good approach.

If you go with the FTP route Disk Images could be a good strategy due to the MD5 checksum error check. Just don't skip the verifying step when opening it up and it'll make sure everything moved successfully.

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