YouTube may be the number one destination for cat clips and misleading game trailers, but is it the best choice for hosting your own videos? Unless you can drum up a big following, its videos tend to get lost among all the noise and clutter, which is why so many people are turning to more focused, social alternatives, such as Vimeo.
Vimeo has grown quickly, thanks in large part to its focus on quality over quantity. Where most visits to YouTube see you squinting through a blur while you scramble for the quality dropdown – and inevitably find 360p is the best you’re going to get – Vimeo clips default to the highest resolution available. There’s always an interesting selection of curated clips to browse through on the homepage, which has a much more welcoming and professional feel than the chaos of YouTube.
See also: How to download YouTube videos
Vimeo can be free to use. A Basic account will get you 500MB per week of storage space, which should be more than enough for most casual users. You can upload ten videos every day, although there are caveats: you’ll be put in a processing queue with other Basic users for each upload and you’re limited to a single 720p HD upload each week. If that’s not enough for your needs, a Vimeo Plus account gets 5GB of storage a week and supports uploads at 1080p with immediate processing – but it’ll cost you $9.95 a month (around £6).
That’s worth paying if you create a lot of videos, because Vimeo is also an excellent social tool. It has a friends feed just like any social network, and you can easily set up or follow groups and channels that focus on specific topics. Vimeo even has its own online video school, so you can learn how to improve the quality of your own filmmaking.
Finally, Vimeo is everywhere. It’s on iOS, Android and Windows Phone; it’s on Apple TV, Google TV and Xbox Live; it’s on smart TVs, Blu-ray players and streaming boxes; and uploads are built right into iOS 7 and OS X, as well as Final Cut Pro, iMovie and several third-party video applications. It might not be as well-known as YouTube, but once you start using it you won’t go back.
How to upload and share a video with Vimeo
Once you’ve created your vimeo.com account, there are several ways to upload a video. You could connect to a Dropbox account and upload from the cloud, for example, or upload a smartphone video from the Vimeo mobile app. For this demo we’ll just get a video from our PC.
Click “Choose a video to upload” and find your file in the file manager that pops up. You can repeat this to line up multiple clips, and you’ll see the file size of each before you confirm the upload. When you’re ready click “Upload selected videos”.
While the file uploads to Vimeo’s servers, you can give your video a title, description and search tags, and click onto each of the tabs to change privacy settings, add your video to a channel, group or album, change the URL and add related photos.
When the upload is complete, you may be notified that Vimeo has converted your file to 720p for smoother playback. If your original video was 1080p and you want to keep it that way, you’ll have to upgrade to a Vimeo Plus account for $9.95 per month or $59.95 per year.
The other big benefit to a Plus account is not having to wait for processing. If you click on the Me tab straight after uploading a video you may be told you’re “Waiting in line”. You can’t play your video back until the processing is complete. Obviously, you’ll also see a prompt to upgrade.
When it’s ready, you can open your video and enjoy it in Vimeo’s huge playback window – or expand it to full-screen using the toggle on the bottom-right corner. Below the video you’ll find it stats, with a breakdown of plays, likes and comments over time.
You may find your video doesn’t look as good as you’d hoped. Click “Enhance this video” and you’ll be presented with a huge range of visual filters and music clips with which you can totally change the feel of your clip.
Choose a look from the selection and it will appear over half of your video, with the other half remaining untouched. This way you can tinker with the intensity of the filter until it looks just right, then click “Enhance” to confirm – you can save over the original or create a new copy.
That’s it. Your video (and the enhanced video if you made a copy) will now appear in your My Videos section. Click the gear icon on any video to get back into its settings, from where you can add it to a group or channel to make it easier to find.
Click the Share button in the top-right of a video to spread the word. You can simply copy the link and paste it elsewhere, share it via email along with a note to recipients, or click one of the social media connectors along the top of the window.
Keep posting and sharing videos and you might pick up followers. You can follow any other Vimeo user, group or channel by browsing to their page and clicking Follow, after which their latest video posts will appear in your homepage feed.