We’ve been using Dropbox for years to share files with collaborators.
It’s awesome. But we found something better, and don’t use Dropbox anymore unless we have to.
Oops, out of room.
We video editors tend to work with huge files. We used to run out of DropBox space all the time. And DropBox is $500 per year for 500 GB. We’d rather spend that kind of dough on an f/2.8 Sigma 17-50mm lens.
Sure, new cloud services pop up every day that advertise “unlimited storage.” But there’s no such thing. Most, like all-you-can-eat restaurants, gamble that most people won’t use much. If you do, they have the right to kick you out “due to overuse.” Others throttle bandwidth for larger files or if you hit a bandwidth quota, making them a total drag for video file transfer.
BitTorrent Sync has no file size limits. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
Need for Speed
Another problem is that cloud services always use the cloud. We video editors often work with people on the same network.
If you’re sending a video file to someone 10 feet away, having it go out into space first means file transfer speed is going to be ssslooooowww.
But if you’re sharing files with someone locally, BitTorrent Sync will send the file over the local network and skip the whole cloud business, so files transfer fast.
BitTorrent Sync is totally FREE!
We’re talking unlimited sharing between devices, friends, and coworkers with no cloud required.
It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
BitTorrent Sync uses “secrets” to share folders. So you make a Sync folder, get the secret, and give the secret to someone else, who makes a Sync folder and assigns that same secret.
Then, whenever you put a file in that folder, it will be automagically appear in all other folders with that same secret, no matter where they are in the world! It’s secure and super easy.
It’s great for team workflows, for example, where one person is putting exported animations in a folder, and the editor is grabbing the animations as they get done and adding them to an edit.
Setting up Bittorent Sync is a little more complicated than Dropbox, but have no fear. BitTorrent has a great walkthrough that will get you up and running in minutes: http://www.bittorrent.com/sync/get-started
Here are two things to watch out for:
1. Remember that with any shared folder situation, the key word is “shared.” This means, if you don’t need a file in a Sync folder, and delete it, it will also be deleted from all other Sync folders with the same secret. Always keep copies of any important files, never store the only copy in a shared folder just in case.
2. BitTorrent Sync makes it so easy to share files, it’s easy to just use a Sync folder as your main project folder. But if someone is exporting a bunch of huge video files into a shared folder, and someone on the team happens to be short on hard drive space, that drive could fill totally up! (We speak from experience.) So, before putting dozens of gigs of video in a shared folder, it might be a good idea to make sure everyone has the room to spare.
We occasionally work with still images in our videos. If you ever need to do basic image editing on the fly and don’t have the need for a full-blown Photoshop software subscription, Adobe has a free online solution called Photoshop Express.
The best part about Photoshop Express is how quickly you can do a simple touch-up, resize, or crop. Most of the functions auto-populate with half a dozen presets in the form of thumbnails, so if you need to fix the white balance, instantly pick from seven previews rather than dialing it in on your own. Same goes for highlight, fill light, soft focus, sharpen, exposure, saturation, hue, black and white, tint, sketch, and a great autocorrect feature that gives you a solid range of options if you just need a simple fix.
Keeping It Simple
There are no layers in Photoshop Express, so if you need to do anything beyond simple image editing, this might not be for you. But I’ve found that for the majority of what I need to do, processing the image through Photoshop Express gets me what I need faster and with higher quality than any other free image editing application.
On The Go
In addition to the online program here, you can download a free iOS or Android app. The app is more for quick fixes and rellies of preset filters to do the work. Adobe calls it an “on the go” app, which is definitely where this shines. I use this for quick photo editing when I’m out-and-about and the online app for work-related images. The app allows you to instantly edit, share, and even print for pickup at Walgreens if your selfie is that amazing.
On OS X, dragging files into apps is a common thing. However, if you have finder windows open all over the place, often it’s a real drag rearranging all your windows to get a clear line of sight to your drag target. We use a simple but little-known trick all day long that saves us time.
Watch the video below to see how to quickly drop media into software without rearranging your desktop. It’s a Warp Speed Workflow!