MacMost Now 122: How To Send Video Email From Your Mac

Gary Rosenzweig looks at using PhotoBooth to send a quick video email using the built-in iSight camera and software included with your Mac.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 122: How To Send Video Email From Your Mac.

Hi this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. Today I want to show you how to send a video email from your Mac.
So I just came back from the New Media Expo in Las Vegas. And of course, there, surrounded by all sorts of video equipment and people talking about the future of video on the internet I wanted to send an email home. But I thought, wait a minute. Why am I sending an email with text in it? Shouldn't I be sending video at this point? So I thought, well on a Mac maybe it's easier than I think. So I looked into how I could send video email from my Mac and it turned out it was very easy. So of course I could have recorded video and edited it like I do this Podcast but I just wanted to send a quick email so I thought is there a program that can allow me to record video very quickly and send it as an email. QuickTime Pro came to mind but not everybody has QuickTime Pro and I wanted a simpler solution. Imovie but then you have to go through a bunch of steps of creating a movie and then exporting it. So I thought, maybe Photo Booth can do this. So I opened up Photo Booth and sure enough you can do exactly this.
Now to do this in Photo Booth is pretty easy. All you need to do is switch from the photo mode down here to the video mode. You get a video icon, you click it and you get a countdown and then you record your message. 'Hi. This is a test video email.' Press it again and it gets added to your little library down here. Click on it and it will play it back for you. Now that you have it selected you can click on the email button over here and it will launch mail and attach the video into a new message. There it is. I just type the to and the subject and I've got my video email. So that's all you need to do to send an email from Photo Booth with a video in it. It's very easy. But the disadvantage is the file is huge. It doesn't do any special compression. So in my case I ended up with a 64480 video but it still took just under a meg for four seconds of video. If I wanted to record a longer message it would be huge so I wouldn't recommend sending these video emails to anybody unless they have a very fast broadband connection.
Now, alternatively you can go ahead and recompress this movie. If you select it in Photo Booth and do command R to find the original file you can then open up another program. I can do it in QuickTime Pro, for instance. You might have to do it in imovie if you don't have QuickTime Pro. Imovie's going to be a little bit harder because you're actually going to have to construct a movie with just that one clip and then export it. You can also use another program like ffmpeg x for better compression. I sent it as by 320 by 240 H264 movie and I lowered the bit rate to only a hundred kilobits per second which I think was fine for a little video email message. I also took the audio and set that to AAC, which is equivalent to MP3, at 32 kilobits per second so I ended up with only a 64k video which is very acceptable for my four-second video. But that was a lot of extra steps. Alternatively you could have recorded directly in QuickTime Pro or imovie and taken the few extra steps at that point to export a more compact movie.
Now I hope that in future versions of Photo Booth there'll be some sort of way to automatically compact your movie into, say, a preset email format which would be similar to what I used. What will even be cooler is if there was an add video option in mail and then you could select that menu item, record a quick little video, it compresses it to a very small size, or maybe something in your preferences and you've got a video email. But until then the Photo Booth option's a pretty good one.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 22 Responses to “MacMost Now 122: How To Send Video Email From Your Mac”

    11 years ago

    I knew about Photo Booth video but I had no idea it was such a large file!!
    I hope Steve Jobs is watching, love the idea of just having a video e-mail
    option built into Apple Mail program!

    Good tips, Thank you.

    11 years ago

    Hi Gary –

    You may want to try GabMail It’s just as simple as Photo Booth but you can record up to 5 minutes and all you send the recipient is a link to the video so no filesize issues. It’s free, with no download or login.



    11 years ago

    Can be used with other email clients or Yahoo mail? Also, can the recipient reply to the gabmail with a video without having to sign up?


    11 years ago

    you may also want to take a look at Also free and an easy site to use.

    10 years ago

    Thanks that was very informative.

    Tu Pham
    9 years ago

    You are really a nerd. But smart! Like

    8 years ago

    thanks! this helped a lot!

    8 years ago

    can someone tell me how to email a video clip from i movie??????

      8 years ago

      You would Export it. (Share, Export). Then email the attachment. But don’t do that. Video files are much too large to send via email. Even if you have no size limit for an attachment, the recipient may have a limit for an attachment or their inbox. Or they could have a slower connection than you and a huge video file will clog up their incoming mail.
      Instead, use a video sharing site like YouTube (you can make a video private if you want) or a file sharing solution like iDisk or DropBox. Then just email them a link to the file.

        7 years ago

        If you know the recipient-to-be has an iphone, re-open the saved video (it’s in a folder called “Photo Booth” in ~/User/Pictures) in Quicktime Player 10*, review / trim it as necessary, and then export it from within QT to iphone format, saving in 3gp format.

        I took a 1 minute Photo Booth video that was 2.4 megs, and exporting as above, it went down to 650K, small enough for slow email.

        * (editing is easier in QT 7 Pro, but file size is smaller when exported from QT 10 – YMMV)

    7 years ago

    i spent alot of time making a mini movie from imovie…. i want to know how do i email this movie i know you said photo booth is a way but i already put alot of time in this movie so how can i email my mini movie from imovie it would really help me out i’ve been racking my brain for days trying to figure this out…..HELP…….

    7 years ago

    I loaded my photos into iphoto on my mac. I have a 1 min video that I would like to share with my family but I can’t figure out how to send it. I have no trouble e-mailing pictures. How do I send the video. I’m not very good with computers, please help.

      7 years ago

      Depends on your version of iPhoto. On the latest version, just select the video, and press the Share button at the bottom right.

    7 years ago

    I was trying to share a short 1min 10 second video only last night and iphoto would not let me share video. i have the latest (i think downloaded only in november) iphoto. as i have seen above i tried through my imovie but i still could not send. would you still recommend through youtube?

      7 years ago

      What do you mean by “would not let me share” — was there an error message? I usually export from iPhoto or iMovie to a file. Then upload that file to YouTube via the web interface. This will give you a better idea of why it does or does not work.

    7 years ago

    I try and send a video via email, and every time i try and upload it as an attachment, the attachment doesnt appear, and it doesnt grab it. I also tried to drag it from finder, and that too wont allow it to be attached. I know i can do it thru quicktime as well, and the same error keeps happening when i try to attach it. Any ideas?

      7 years ago

      Perhaps the video is simply too large for your email provider.

    7 years ago

    Your hint is 4 years old, can you or have you updated it?

      7 years ago

      This still works. What sort of update are you looking for?

      Jak Plihal
      7 years ago

      Andrew — maybe this is the update you are looking for… use your iphone and keep it under 1 minute…


    7 years ago

    You can use ForgetBox: drag video on an icon –> select a recipients –> Sent.

    So much simpler…

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