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Downloading Movies from Dropbox

When you upload a QuickTime or other movie file to Dropbox, and then get the “public link” to give to someone else, Dropbox does a really cool thing and redirects the original movie file link to deliver a very simple web page with the movie embedded in it instead. Which looks great in a browser if you just need to view a quick clip — but what if you actually intended for the link to be a download instead?

It turns out the trick is a little obscure, but fairly simple. All you need to do is add ?&dl=1 to the end of the “public link” URL. So:

http://files.getdropbox.com/.../movie.mov

becomes instead:

http://files.getdropbox.com/.../movie.mov?dl=1

Once you do that, Dropbox forces the download link, and the movie will download instead of playing in your browser.

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You should check out my podcast about movie magic and VFX: The Optical.