How Can You Email a Video Attachment?

By Karen S. Garvin

Video files tend to be very large in size, and they can easily exceed 100 megabytes, even for a short video. E-mail services often do not support attachments larger than 10 megabytes, which means that simply attaching a video file to an e-mail document will not work. The best way to send a large file such as a video file is by file transfer protocol, or FTP.

File Transfer Protocol

The file transfer protocol, known as FTP, is older than the world-wide web by more than a decade. The process of sending a file through FTP is basically the same as sending a file through e-mail: the sender needs to have an FTP client program on his or her computer which will communicate with an FTP server program. This works basically like an Internet browser, and like browsers, it is possible to find some that are free and some that require payment.An open-source FTP program, such as FileZilla, offers both a client and server program, although only the client program is available across all computer platforms. Another option is to search for FTP programs on the specific platform (computer) that the user is running: that is, Windows, Mac OS or Linux. Some browsers have built-in FTP support or else support third-party plug-in applications that add FTP support to the browser. Both Safari and Internet Explorer can be used directly to send FTP files, and Mozilla’s Firefox browser supports third-party applications for FTP file support. Additionally, a number of free FTP client programs are available for download on the Internet. To actually send a file via the FTP protocol, the user will need to log into the FTP program in order to upload a file. The program will generally produce a window that is similar to the Finder or Explorer window, and the user need only direct the program to the directory where the file is located and highlight or click on the file name in order to select it. Drag-and-drop options may also be available, depending on the FTP software that is being used. To retrieve a file sent via the FTP protocol, the user will need to log in and select the file that he or she wants to download.

Reducing the Size of a Video File

Another way to send video files easily is to simply reduce their file size enough so that they can be sent through regular e-mail as attachments. The size of the attachment that an e-mail service supports varies with the service provider, so the user will need to check with their service provider to find out what that file size limit is. Reducing video files can be accomplished by compressing the files using a video editing program, by reducing the resolution of the video, and/or reducing the frame rate. The AVI file format offers several compression programs to reduce file size, while the Windows Media Video starts with relatively small files. The MPEG format is another file format that is compressed. A number of freeware programs are available on the Internet to compress video files and to convert from one file type to another.