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Wikimedia accepts and encourages uploading video files on Commons. Videos, like images, must be freely licensed. The preferred video format is VP9 video in the WebM container, but Theora video in the ogv container and VP8 or AV1 video in the WebM container are also allowed. For help on converting to a preferred format, go to Help:Converting video.

Wikipedia: #Edit2014

Importance of video[edit]

There are roughly 135,000 video files on Commons.

Good examples of videos:

  • Nature videos, such as a recording of a scenic view or a hurricane (ex. #1)
  • Wildlife videos, such as the behavior of animals (ex. #1)
  • Sports videos, such as demonstrating a particular rule or method of playing (ex. #1)
  • Cultural videos, such as dance or music videos (ex. #1)
  • Architectural videos, such as building elements or construction (ex. #1)
  • Event videos, such as protests, parades, conferences or ceremonies
  • Science videos, such as chemistry experiments (ex. #1)
  • Demonstrations of tools, showing how they work. (ex. #1)
  • Visualization of 3D data where one of dimensions is shown as time (ex. #1 & #2)
  • Historical videos (ex. #1 & #2)

Check out the List of Wiki video projects; there is a dedicated discussion and support mailing list for makers of video in Wikimedia projects, WikiVideo-l (archive). You can also join the WMF Multimedia Team mailing list (archive).

Video formats[edit]

Several file formats are in use for video on the Internet, but the ones most widely used are not open formats or royalty-free. Wikimedia uses three formats:

These formats are open and royalty-free; see Commons:File types#Video for more details. Commons does not support the more commonly used patent-encumbered video formats such as H.264 and H.265 that are used in MP4 and MOV files, since their use could require royalty payments.

Uploading a video[edit]

The process of uploading a video is similar to uploading an image. First, ensure the video is freely licensed and within scope. Now you have two options:

  • Convert the video to the Theora or the WebM format, if it is not already in one of those formats. Start the UploadWizard and follow the instructions. Alternatively, you could make use of the chunked upload feature. Include appropriate topic categories. It will take some time to upload. Files can't be larger than 4 GiB. Theoretically, it is also possible to split the video into shorter parts and upload each part separately. The template {{Split file}} could be used to link the parts of files split in this way.
  • Use Video2commons. This is much easier than the method listed above but may take more time as you have to rely on third-party conversion.


A transcode is a VP9 or WebM file with a smaller resolution, smaller file size, or lower bit rate than the original video, created to optimally serve one of our videos to web browsers by mw:Extension:TimedMediaHandler. After each video is uploaded, that extension creates a "Transcode status" section on the video's file description page, which contains a link to "Update transcode status" (which will purge the page) and then a table which details the following statistics for each transcode: "Format" (sorted by video format (VP9 then WebM) and then by decreasing video resolution); "Bitrate" (in kbps or Mbps); "Download" (a link to download that particular transcode); "Actions" (a link to "Reset transcode" for that particular transcode, in case the transcoding failed); "Status" (what happened last to that transcode and when (UTC)); and "Encode time" (how long it took a backend server to finish the transcoding process, in seconds or minutes and seconds). NB that at present new users are unable to upload video or audio files, because of frequent abuse of this related to Wikipedia Zero. See Special:AbuseFilter/180. (this is probably outdated?)

Trimming and cutting videos[edit]

We have a tool in the early stage of development here.

Video usage[edit]

Ogg Theora animation of a satellite in polar orbit.

Embedding Video[edit]

Creating a link that appears at first as a still image of a video and that plays the video after its play button is clicked is called “embedding a video”. The easiest way to embed a video directly into an article (or another page) is by using the same [[File:]] syntax as for image or sound files. The result is on the right. The video can be resized by adding a fixed size (like "|200px") or - preferable - the "|upright" parameter. In most cases you should stick to the default size. If it is higher than wide, use the pure "|upright".

[[File:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv|thumb |200px |New York City Time Lapse]]
[[File:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv|thumb |upright |New York City Time Lapse]]
[[File:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv|thumb |upright=2 |New York City Time Lapse]]

Setting a video thumbnail image[edit]

In case of Ogg Theora files, a keyframe from the midpoint of the video is used by default for the initial thumbnail image. To use a different keyframe, use the thumbtime parameter. For instance:

[[File:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv |thumbtime=12 |thumb |200px |New York City timelapse]]

Either specify the time in seconds or use colons to separate hours, minutes and seconds. Separate a fraction of a second by a "." (dot). Only tenths (0.1, 0.2, etc.) of seconds work, currently.

Example of GIF animation.

There are two types of links to a video:

  • File – To create a link to the video's file description page,
    • use [[:File:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv]].
    • To make the text of a link to the video's file description page appear as some text other than the video's filename, use [[:File:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv|some text you prefer]].
  • Media – To create a link that downloads the video,
    • use [[Media:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv]] or use [[:Media:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv]].
    • To make the text of a link that downloads the video appear as some text other than the video's filename, use [[Media:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv|some text you prefer]] or use [[:Media:Time Lapse of New York City.ogv|some text you prefer]].

Temporal media fragments[edit]

Allows embed code to reference a segment of the video stream or set a start time. Hover over the player to see start time listed as 5s, press play and notice it stops playback at 7 seconds.

Starts at 5 seconds and ends playback at 7 seconds
[[File:Weeding.ogv|thumb|300px|start=5|end=7|Starts at 5 seconds and ends playback at 7 seconds]]

This feature depends on an HTML5 video browser.

Note: For URLs used outside Wikimedia wikis, the start of a section can be linked to as where the three colon-separated value represent hours, minutes and seconds respectively. Values in the format start=mm:ss and start=sss are also accepted.

Looped animation[edit]

In case of animated GIF files, the animation is played continuously in a loop. Animated GIFs are (currently) scaled down on server-side to the required thumb size if they do not exceed the 12.5 Megapixel limit. If they exceed it a still frame will be displayed.

Subtitles and closed captioning[edit]

How to create subtitles.
Main article: Commons:Timed Text

To upload an already created subtitle file, open the file on your computer in a text editor (such as Notepad) and copy the text into a new page in the TimedText namespace that matches the filename of the video and the language code.

Keep in mind to paraphrase not spoken sounds and encompass them with rounded brackets. E.g.

 00:00:20,000 --> 00:00:24,400
 (engine sound)

Playing videos[edit]

See also: Commons:Media help

Playing video and sound embedded on Wikimedia sites requires no additional software in current desktop and mobile web browsers. On iOS a software decoder is used, which might make the video experience a bit slower than what you are used to on other websites.

You must install software to play video that you have downloaded to your computer. You can learn at Commons:Media help what software you need to play our media files. VLC multimedia player and SMPlayer (a GUI for MPlayer) are open-source and multi-platform.

Videos and copyright[edit]

Main article: Commons:Licensing

In addition to checking for video copyright, the audio must not contain copyrighted sounds. This includes any copyrighted songs that were added to the video. Ask questions regarding the copyright of the video at the Village pump.

Examples of videos that would not be allowed due to copyright:

  • Screen captures of software that is itself not under a free license. This includes the macOS and Windows operating system. However, screen captures of software under the GPL or a similar free software license are generally considered to be OK.
  • TV/DVD/Videogame/Music video clips and recordings, unless their copyright has expired.
  • Copyrighted symbols, logos, etc. (Not to be confused with trademarks.)
  • Models, masks, toys, and other objects which represent a copyrighted work, such as a cartoon or movie character. See Commons:Derivative works.
  • Video that contains copyrighted music. Remove the copyrighted audio from the video and try to replace it with free licensed music, then upload.
  • Videos of a presentation or lecture, unless the person(s) making the presentation has/have granted explicit permission to allow a video of their performance to be published under a Commons-compatible license via VRTS.

Examples of videos that would be OK to upload:

  • Nature videos (video taken at a National Park or of a bird in your backyard)
  • Videos from the United States government, such as from NASA.

Licenses for a video you have entirely created[edit]

Comparision of licenses
License Intended scope Copyleft Attribution Access control prohibition Worldwide applicability
Creative Commons Attribution Generic No Copyright notice Yes National adaptations
Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Generic Normal Copyright notice Yes National adaptations
Free Art License Works of art Normal Yes Yes Exact translations (French law)
FreeBSD Documentation License Documentation No Copyright notice Yes Same license (English version)
GNU Free Documentation License Documentation Normal Yes Yes Same license (English version)
GNU Lesser General Public License Software Weak Copyright notice Yes Same license (English version)
GNU General Public License Software Strong Copyright notice Yes Same license (English version)
MIT License Software No Copyright notice Yes Same license (English version)
Do What the Fuck You Want to Public License Generic No No No Same license (English or French version)

Finding videos online[edit]

See also: Commons:Free media resources/Video

Several media resources contain video that is public domain or licensed under a free license. These can be converted and uploaded to Commons.

Requesting a video[edit]

Main article: Commons:Audio and video requests

Specific videos may be requested at Commons:Audio and video requests. Please search Commons to see if a similar video exists before making the request.

Maintenance tasks[edit]

See also[edit]

Video categories
English Wikipedia image syntax and video documentation

External links[edit]