Well, it happened again. I got a small job for a video narration about a hotel. No big deal. Two and half pages. A few words that were tricky to pronounce but overall an easy job. Then I got the email from the client. “Please email me the finished files in WAV format.”
These clients are out there, and you are going to run into them sooner or later. The ones that are familiar with the digital terms but don’t really know what they signify. I’ve always said, you don’t have to be Bill Gates to do this stuff but you DO need to know a bit more than the client. The bottom line: anything longer than about a minute in WAV format is going to be too large to email. Usually WAY to large. So what is Plan B?If you are having trouble sleeping some night, re-read my article on digital sound. It tells you everything you need to know to sound smarter than any client. Then you can use recording terms correctly and knowledgeably and not be bamboozled by impossible requests. You also be able to confidently suggest alternatives that will get the job done in an efficient and client-friendly way.
So back to my dilemma. A one minute of 16 bit 44100 hz mono wav file is 5 MEGABYTES. This read was about 10 minutes long. That’s 50 megabytes. And this was a finished file. Imagine if there were multiple takes of each section! We could be looking at 300-500 megabytes. Most mail servers clog at anything over about 5 megabytes, so an email like that is going to bounce back to you. Unhappy you. Unhappy client.
So what’s the solution? Luckily there are several. The old school way of moving files over the internet is called FTP file delivery (FTP stands for: File Transfer Protocol). Many video production companies and ad agencies have a folder set up on their website server for this purpose. Besides using it for audio delivery, they also use it to send a receive hi-res photos, video clips, copy, storyboards, etc. To log in to their server you need a special application called an “FTP Client”.
An FTP CLient is sort of like a web browser that logs into a folder on their site that shows up as a window on your computer. Then, just like moving files from one folder to another on YOUR computer, you drop your files in that window, they head out across the interweb, and Voila! They arrive on your customers’ server in cloudy cyberspace. They can then login as well and drag the files from the server folder to THEIR desktop and use them from their local computer.
It’s not hard to do. They will supply you with the server address (something like ftp://clientsite/filesgohere/), a username and a password. You type each of those items into the FTP Client, press enter and – ta da!- you are logged in. Beam me up, Scotty. Oh, I’ve looked around and the simplest ftp client I’ve found for Windows (which is also FREE!) is called – go figure – FREE FTP from a company called coffecup.com. A simple (FREE) Mac version is Classic FTP from brothersoft.com.
Uploading with FTP make take a while (most internet services download much faster than they upload) but there is no limit to the size of the files you send. So drag and drop those files. And they are immediately available for you clients’ use. Problem solved!