With everything from our mobile phones to laptops to keychain trinkets coming sporting video cameras these days, more and more people are capturing and sharing digital video. The following video sites make sharing your video missives easy.
Photo by Jakob Montrasio.
blip.tv (Basic: Free, Pro: $US96/year)
Blip.tv is a video-sharing service aimed at people producing web shows. The site isn't designed for or marketed to people uploading single videos or viral-video content. The site is strongly oriented towards users producing continuous videos and includes revenue sharing to help independent producers make money—50% of the ad revenue from your content is shared with you. Both the basic and the professional account are limited to file sizes of 1GB, but one of the benefits of the professional account is that you get priority conversion and additional conversion time per episode, which allows you to use higher quality video. The professional service is really only necessary if you're consistently uploading large amounts of long videos and want priority conversion, so the free service should cover the needs of nearly everyone besides people producing full out web-based television series.
YouTube has reached a level of ubiquity in the video-sharing market that for millions of internet users, YouTube is not only how they were introduced to video sharing—it's also the only video sharing site they're even aware of. Videos uploaded to YouTube have to be smaller than 2GB, and they must be 10 minutes or shorter in length if you're using a basic account. YouTube places no restriction on the number of videos you can upload as long as they follow the 2GB/10min rule. You can't edit your videos once you've uploaded them to YouTube, but you can annotate them with additional information and links. YouTube lets you embed and customise the player, again, for free.
Vimeo (Basic: Free, Plus:$60/year)
Vimeo is a video sharing service with a heavy emphasis on community and creativity. You can't host commercial content on Vimeo; instead, all uploaded content must be original and non-commercial. Vimeo accounts come in two flavors. The basic account is free and includes 500MB per week of uploaded video, including one HD video per week. You get three albums, one group, and one channel with basic accounts. Basic accounts also let you embed and share your work as well as set basic privacy restrictions. Upgrading to the Plus account kicks your upload cap to 5GB, removes the restriction on HD movies, lets you embed HD movies, and gives you unlimited album, group, and channel creation. A Plus account also expands your privacy control and allows you to customise the embedded player.
If you're put off by the length restrictions of some video-sharing sites, Viddler has no limit on length. As long as your file is 500MB or less in size, you can make it as long as you like. (500MB holds a lot of web-cam quality video.) In addition to the 500MB limit, you're restricted to 2GB of storage and bandwidth per month. If you sign up for a partnership account, instead of a personal account, your videos are overlaid with advertisements but the storage and bandwidth restrictions are removed. Both the personal and the partnership accounts are free.
Dailymotion offers two different accounts for content sharers. The basic account allows you to upload videos up to 1GB in size. If you're sharing original content, you can sign up for a Motionmaker account. Motionmaker accounts are intended for the distribution of Creative Commons videos and allow you to upload HD content. Original content by Motionmakers is more aggressively promoted on the front page and through search results.
The technical information on the various video-sharing sites is usually buried in help files and not particularly clear in most instances. If you're basing your selection on a very specific aspect of the service like whether or not you can upload .mov files without converting them or whether or not the site supports 256kb audio, we'd highly recommend checking out this extensive set of charts on Wikipedia to see if the site meets your needs.
Can't believe your favourite site didn't make the top five—or maybe we missed mentioning the feature you like best? Sound off in the comments with your video-sharing tips and tricks.