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Friday, July 25, 2008

How Do You E-mail a Large Video File

By Merlin Avenell

After deciding to send a video file as an e-mail attachment, I was shocked to see the size of the file. It was 44 megabytes! Since most email attachments limit the size of the file, I knew this was not going to be so easy. I knew there were file splitters and online file storage that you could share files with someone else, but I wanted a simple way to do it that was inexpensive.

Searching the Internet for a simple solution led me to believe that other people must have the same problem. Some of the things I found on the search engines were:

  • There are 595,000 types of video files
  • Each file has unique characteristics

In order to manage these large files, the industry has come up with various methods and devices of compressing and uncompressing video files. These are a called codecs. A video codec is described as a video device or software that enables video compression and or decompression for digital video. A search for (video codec) produced over four million entries. Fortunately a codec will handle several different types of video files, but there are still many different codecs required.
Common File Names and Extensions

Flash .flv and .swf
AVI .avi
MPG .mpg
WMV .wmv

This summary is just a few of the various types of video files available and, as you can see, it would take a great deal of study to understand the different characteristics of each one.

My problem was I had this 44 megabyte-video .mpg file that I wanted to send electronically to a friend without a lot of hassle. Since I did not know what my friend had for a reader, I decided to convert the file to Flash. Most computers, that have been sold in the last few years, have Flash capabilities installed.

I found converters that would convert my .mpg file into a Flash .swf file. Most have a try before buy trial period, some are freeware. I was more than happy to pay for it if it did my job. The converted .swf file played very nice in my Flash Player. The compressed file size had decreased from 44 megabytes down to 6 megabytes.

An Internet article stated that the Flash .flv format had more compression than the .swf format. It took some more research to find a .flv converter (good thing I was not in a hurry.) The .flv format compressed the 44 megabyte file down to about 2 megabytes. This is what I was looking for. Then I discovered my Adobe Flash Player would not play the .flv file. More searching produced a stand-alone simple .flv player.


Several hours of research went into finding a solution to this simple problem. I hope it may help others who may encounter the same or similar problem. The converter and player that I found turned out to be free ones that I downloaded from the Internet.

If you would like to know more about the free software I used in this article , please send me an e-mail.

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