How I Share and Send Files With Clients – A New Edition to My Arsenal – ‘MinBox’

Cameras

As an editor who usually works remotely, a big part of my job is delivering proofs to clients digitally and quickly. I’m always looking for easier ways to share files with clients and friends, I don’t have a crazy fast or even that reliable of internet (the San Fernando Valley doesn’t offer anything between consumer and super high-end ultra-expensive connections), so I like solutions that minimize risks. Dropbox is my favorite choice, it’s relatively cheap has a bunch of features and is very reliable. My new alternative is MinBox.

I like Dropbox for many reasons but I am going to focus on my usual workflow for sending video proofs to clients.

If I am delivering a revision cut of a project, I normally work pretty much straight for the last few hours to get it exported, I find the rhythm and I don’t take many breaks. Once I press export, I’m either hungry, have to go to the bathroom, just want to go outside, or all the above. So I really don’t want to sit there babysitting the export progress bar just so I can press upload when it’s done.

I export from Premiere (or Adobe Media Encoder, FCP7, etc) right into my dropbox folder. This way it’s uploading the second it’s done exporting. Vimeo is connected to Dropbox now, so I can upload it from the Dropbox server to Vimeo’s server much faster than over my own connection. Meaning I press export, go about my business, then log onto Vimeo once it’s done exporting and uploading to Dropbox, connect the file there, it’s encoded on Vimeo within minutes (if all goes well on Vimeo’s end) and I have a backed up online file and an easy to stream version of it all in 2 painless steps from my NLE. It saves me time and energy in situations where I’m trying to export my sequence straight to Vimeo.

I also don’t like sending direct links to Vimeo or Dropbox to clients, I don’t believe it looks very professional. So I build custom pages for each project. Here is a sample of what those look like. I keep the most recent edit at the top and the older cuts in descending order for clients to reference later as needed. Download links force open a download dialogue box. I make the vimeo link only viewable on my website and make the page it’s a random (or semi-random) set of 5-9 characters for security and voila, I have a private branded page that I can link my client directly to. because natums.com/3D4k422 and looks way sweeter then a vimeo or dropbox link. Setting this step up required a lot of leg work initially, but now that I have the page designed it’s a copy and paste process to make a new page. I don’t do automated emails of the links because I usually am

MinBox

There are still many other occasions when I need to share files though. MinBox is a new app that helps fill another issue I have. Sometimes a client calls and asks for a file not on my dropbox. I usually throw it in there and either wait and share the direct link, or link to the enclosing folder and tell them an ETA for when the file should be uploaded. That works, it’s not very elegant though and requires you to wait for it to finish uploading or your client to keep clicking your link until it’s finally online or forgetting to check back till hours later and blaming you for the delay.

Minbox is purpose-built as a fast and easy solution for quickly emailing a file you don’t want to sit around waiting to upload. There kickass and fast demo video (above) shows the basic idea, drag the file to the icon, pick your recipient, leave a message, and press send. You are done! Now they make it sound like the file is uploaded faster than competitors, and unless your internet upload speed exceeds that of competitor’s download speeds, that is simply not true. In my case, my ISP is always my bottleneck. But, the nice trick is you press send, it keeps uploading in the background and then sends the link once it’s done uploading. They get it as soon as possible and you don’t have to wait around to press send! A win-win in that regard!

So far it’s worked flawlessly, I actually like it’s web player’s performance (I’ve always found Dropbox to be very poor, minbox is better but I still recommend Vimeo or Youtube for online streaming viewing) and you can send multiple files at once and it offers them to the recipient as a zip or individually, a nice feature.

My big concerns: Interrupted uploads, I love that my ISP can’t mess up my dropbox uploads, even when it’s massive files, MinBox boasts unlimited storage but if your ISP drops out midway through the upload it’s all for nothing. The UI is very simple but not very intuitive when you get beyond the drag and send stage. It gives you a progress meter right in the menu bar icon but it’s difficult to see progress on large uploads, and the upload estimated time and speed is a bit hidden if you ask me. Outside of that, it’s a brilliant alternative for uploads when you need to get it to them fast but don’t have the time to babysit a progress bar.

Please share your workflows with me in the comments, mine isn’t perfect and I’m always looking for ways to improve. We can all benefit from a few new tips.

Jared Abrams
Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • Sukhi Singh

    @natums, great article. I wanted to reach out to tell you about our service at http://www.arc9.com

    We built the solution to make sharing video and collecting feedback from your clients super easy and effective. We are working on templating engine that will allow our users to create a branded portal with custom backgrounds that i think you will really like.

    Our users simply set up a project, load up files in their native formats and let us convert the files in a web friendly format. Our application has an integrated player/viewer that lets the users playback files and collect comments and onscreen annotations all with zero configurations.

    Files can be added to playlists and then shared with internal and external users right from Arc9.

    Check us out when you get a chance.

    Cheers