From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tutorial video for 'Video on Wikipedia' (how very meta!)
Video from an MIT course lecture by Walter Lewin on the conservation of mechanical energy.
Video snapshot with portrait orientation

Wikipedia is still at an early stage in its process of incorporating videos into its encyclopedic content.[needs update] This page gives a very brief overview of how videos are used in Wikipedia; for more information, see Image use policy, and see Help:Files on how to upload and include a video.

Most video activity is through Wikipedia:WikiProject Wiki Makes Video.

The impetus for starting this page was the Wikipedia:Lights Camera Wiki video initiative, which should lead to a good expansion of video content.

Also, please check out the 'Lets Get Video on Wikipedia! tutorial on YouTube.'

Equipment for user-created videos[edit]

To participate you will need access to a digital camcorder or still camera with video recording capability, a tripod, and a computer with video editing software.

No matter what device you choose to shoot with, a steady hand is what we are looking for. Please use a tripod or other stabilizing equipment. If you've done a reasonable but imperfect job at shooting your content, software is available to further stabilize it.

Types of videos[edit]

Because of limited resources typically available, most videos on Wikipedia will fall into three broad categories:

Snapshot-type videos[edit]

Snapshot-type videos illustrate a single action, and are usually 30 seconds or shorter in length. An example would be a video of a traffic signal changing.

This is the easiest type of video to produce, but it is somewhat limited in what it can convey.

Performance-type videos[edit]

Performance-type videos are recordings of individuals performing an extended series of actions. An example would be a musician playing a song; the activity of a wild animal might also fit into this category. Usually this type will have only one shot, and can be up to several minutes long. Though performance type videos may interpret the content of a page, use of the videos needs to be in order to enhance the encyclopedic value of the article through its content, following policy laid down about other media such as Wikipedia:Image use policy#Content.

A tripod or other stabilizing device is especially important for performance-type videos.

Summary-type videos[edit]

Example of a summary style video (script)

These videos show a series of still images or short video segments, while reading an associated text. They are built with a tool known as VideoWiki from a script which lives on Wikipedia. A step-by-step tutorial is here. A sandbox for testing is available.

Tour-type videos[edit]

Tour-type videos will shift between different views to illustrate different aspects of a subject, or to tell a kind of narrative story. An example would be an architectural tour of a building. Usually this type will have a sequence of several different shots, and can be up to several minutes long.

If one wants to create a tour-type video that is an overview of a particular subject, one should read through the article of the subject to find queues on aspects of the space that deserve attention in the video (e.g., the video of Grand Central terminal features the constellations on the ceiling and they are also mentioned in the article).

Additionally, if the tour-type video is being made about a particular physical site, a short scouting trip would be helpful. Before you start shooting, take a tour of the site. Using available informational material on the site, look it over to find other shots you might want to include in the video.

Sample shot list for Grand Central Terminal:

  • front of building (zoom in/out)
  • Close up statue details
  • pan left to right front of building
  • wide shot of main concourse
  • medium shot of stairways on either end of the concourse
  • pan close up of windows on ceiling
  • ticket booths
  • wide pan across concourse
  • close ups of constellations on ceiling
  • side passage ways
  • lower concourse passageway intersections

Style guidelines[edit]

Shooting video[edit]

When shooting please do not provide on-camera commentary or narration. This is to ensure that these videos can be used by similar articles in languages other than English.

The style of these videos are intended to be simple and clean. No quick zooms or handheld walk throughs. Any movement within the frame (panning, tilting, or zooming) should be done slowly so that the viewer is able to focus on the detail of the images. Try and get a reasonable balance between shots with and without movement.

If you are recording a shot with no camera movement or zoom, do not record for less than 5 seconds. If you are zooming, be sure to record 3 seconds before the zoom and wait at least 3 seconds after you reach the end of the shot. The same guidelines for zoom shots also applies to any shot that has movement (panning or tilting). Buffers will help with the editing of the video.

Editing video[edit]

Using editing software like iMovie or OpenShot (see List of video editing software for more options), import the video onto your computer to edit. Refer to instruction manuals for your specific software and camera to learn how to import and edit.

In the editing process of multi-shot videos, think about opening your video with a shot that helps to establish the location of the site (e.g.: the opening shot in the Grand Central Terminal video is of the front of the building with surrounding buildings).

Do not include narration, titles, transitions, special effects (with the exception of image control effects). The reason for this is twofold: one, to support the eventual possibility of online editing, where the inclusion of transitions and special effects would make re-editing difficult. Two, as stated previously, narration will render the video incompatible with the same article written in another language. Eventually online video editing will allow the overlay of effects and narration without changing the source video.

This initiative is promoting an encyclopedic brand of video that helps to establish the very basics of the subject, and this can be reflected in the editing (e.g., the opening shot in the Grand Central Terminal video is of the front of the building with surrounding buildings).

When finished, export your video. When exporting, be sure to select any options that support web streaming.

Converting video[edit]

After exporting the video, you must convert the file to VP8 or VP9 in the WebM container or Theora in the Ogg container. VP9 is preferred for new uploads, but do not convert from VP8 or Theora unnecessarily, as it will reduce the quality. For options for video conversion, see the Commons page Help:Converting video. It is not necessary to reduce the size of the video; lower-resolution versions are generated automatically after you've uploaded a high-resolution video.

Uploading video[edit]

Visit Special:UploadWizard to upload videos. After uploading video, you will be given a link which you can insert into a Wikipedia page to embed the video you uploaded.

We recommend the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


The process of embedding of videos on Wikipedia articles is quite similar to that for embedding images. To learn more, visit Wikipedia:Creation and usage of media files#Video usage.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]