Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sharing video files of experiments

This post is a summary of responses to a video-sharing inquiry on the SEN Discussion List. Join and participate in Q&A about sediment experiments!

Here are some options for a wide range of video-sharing needs - from small to large files, from private to public sharing, from local hardware to cloud services, and from free to paid… This information might be good to keep in mind when planning or budgeting for new projects. Further comments extremely welcome, especially if you’ve had good or bad experiences with any of these platforms.

Review of the problem:
Large number of large size videos to share privately among a dispersed working group.

The winner: QNAP NAS RAID and Multimedia Library

Pro: LOTS of storage. Easy file sharing. Log-ins. Can share any file format.
Con: Requires some $$ and some set-up.

If I were setting up a lab right now, I’d use some start-up up funds to purchase a QNAP NAS (Network-attached storage). If I were writing a proposal, I’d write it in for data storage. 

I’m far from an expert, but a QNAP 22Tb RAID6 (32Tb raw) just arrived at the Columbia Granular Group. (Read wikipedia’s article about RAID, “redundant array of inexpensive disks”.) In addition to abundant storage for a reasonable price, it comes with extremely easy-to-use firmware for file sharing, a video station, and apps (sync with Google Drive or Dropbox).

With log-in accounts and a logical folder structure that is agreed upon by the group, all group members will be able to access and download what they need. Our humongous raw video files will probably be converted to a standard format like .mp4, then stored in a parallel file structure for browsing. This was the best option for the large volume, easy access, privately-shared video issue that initiated this post. 

Other options:

This is not an exhaustive list, but rather some interesting points I just learned from your recommendations and researching the video-sharing question.


Pro: Several levels of membership for different storage volumes, privacy settings.

Although I had seen videos shared on vimeo before, I wasn’t aware of their membership level details. Memberships are determined by the volume of video per week. Basic (free) is 500 MB per week. Plus ($60 per year) is 5 GB per week, and PRO ($200 per year) is 20 GB per week. Those numbers can add up quickly to give you a large amount of storage per year.

There are no file size restrictions and the videos can be as long as you like. This seems like a good platform for sharing videos to illustrate results (better than just posting the link on a personal website).


Pro: Lots of free space, 1 Tb free
Con: Limit of 90 second videos, since it is primarily a photo-sharing site

If you already use Flickr, you may want to take advantage of its generous storage space to share short videos. Flickr video FAQ.


Pro: privacy settings, linked to Google (if you like that kind of thing), live streaming (live experiments!)
Con: ads, high probability of being distracted by suggested videos

More academic projects are starting to use YouTube channels as video sharing sites. By clicking a few buttons, you extend the basic account to share videos longer than 15 minutes, and stream live events. There’s integration with a Google account and Google+, if you already have an account set up for your project.


Pro: store, share, discover, cite, and on a site specifically for researchers

You may want to check out the figshare post "A YouTube for Scientists". Another option for sharing video (in a citable way!). 

Hope to see lots of SEN videos in the future!

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