You’ve just shot a video you’d like to show the world, but you’ve never posted one on the Web before. What are your options?
For those just getting started, Amanda Justice, operations coordinator in Academic Media Production Services (AMPS), offers the following guidelines, which she demonstrates in the AMPS presentation Video on the Web: Make It, Plan It, Share It (starting at 1:04:30).
Essentially, you have two choices for where your video will be seen. You can:
- Host it on a third-party video platform that offers social media components — think YouTube, TechTV, or Vimeo.
- Host it on your website or blog.
The choice depends on what you want to share. If the video can tell its story with just the addition of a title, then a web-based hosting platform is a good bet.
If the video will work best accompanied by descriptive text or other materials, you’ll want to host it on your website or blog. In that case, Justice still recommends that you first upload your video to a third-party site. (You have the option of keeping it private there.) Those sites have tools that make it easy to embed the video on your own website. Otherwise, to do it on your own, you’ll have to convert file formats and work with the code your site is built on.
Recommended video hosting services
MIT TechTV, YouTube, and Vimeo are robust and full-featured. All provide a backup of your file, privacy settings, the ability to create playlists, sharing through social media, and statistics on views.
Which service you choose depends on what you plan to do with your video, since each platform has its own characteristics. Here’s a brief rundown on each:
- MIT TechTV: This video-sharing site for the MIT community was started as a collaborative project between the School of Engineering and AMPS. Among its benefits:
- Videos are very accessible to the MIT community.
- The site is not blocked from any schools (not always the case with sites like YouTube).
- There are no ads on the site.
- YouTube: This platform needs no introduction. It’s the best-known video-sharing site worldwide, and many MIT departments have a YouTube channel. On the upside:
- High visibility: Many people search YouTube when looking for videos, in the same way they use Google for keyword searches.
- Viewers can easily subscribe to your channel and receive updates when you add new videos.
- The site offers the Best of YouTube in several categories, with impressive click-through numbers.
YouTube’s popularity creates a few downsides. Ads are unavoidable. The website is blocked on many school computers, and some employers (though not MIT) block it from their offices.
- Vimeo: At MIT, Vimeo has less visibility than YouTube or TechTV, but it has a lot going for it:
- It was founded by a community of filmmakers, and it offers community-oriented features, like the Vimeo Video School and Staff Picks.
- The player and its tools are user-friendly and flexible, including the tool for embedding videos.
- The service doesn’t put ads before, after, or over your videos, though those with basic accounts may still see banner ads.
If you’ll be posting a lot of videos on Vimeo, you may want to explore Vimeo Plus or Vimeo Pro, both of which offer advanced features for an annual fee. One benefit is that the videos are shown at high definition.
- Facebook: Justice doesn’t recommend Facebook as your main hosting platform, but uploading videos there is an option, especially for sharing those quick-take cell-phone videos.
Be aware that most web-hosting providers have a file size limit, which means that you can’t upload videos that are more than a couple of minutes in length — and you’ll have to compress those videos up front.
Resources on Campus: TechTV and AMPS
If you have questions about hosting videos at MIT, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact AMPS — at 617-253-7603 or email@example.com — to find out more about its video services, offered on a cost-recovery basis.