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Publishing Videos on Wikimedia Commons

About This Document

This document describes how to publish videos on Wikimedia Commons.

Note that this document can be read in conjunction with the following documents:

What is Wikimedia Commons?

You’re probably familiar with Wikipedia – an online encyclopaedia which anyone can contribute to. Wikimedia Commons is a service which hosts media resources (such as images, video or sound recordings) which are used in Wikipedia articles. In addition the media files can be freely downloaded and reused elsewhere.

Why Should I Upload a Video to Wikimedia Commons?

If you wish to include a image in a Wikipedia article it will need to be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. The way of doing this is described in the “Publishing Images on Wikimedia Commons” document.

In addition, Wikimedia Commons can be a valuable repository for media resources of educational or cultural value which you would like others to be able to freely used. It can be particularly useful for use in an educational context.

Since morris and other forms of traditional dance are inherently about movement it would be useful, from both educational and cultural perspectives, to provide videos resources which feature the various forms of dance.

Since smart phones with high quality cameras are now owned by many, and many will have speedy access to the Internet, recording quality videos and uploading them to a popular services such as Wikimedia Commons is something which many can do – especially those who wish to ensure that resources are available both for use in educational resources (which may encourage young people to participate) and from those who wish to ensure that a digital record of morris and traditional dance in the early part of the twenty-first century are kept.

Figure 1: Video of Belles of London City, available on Wikimedia Commons

Understanding How Video Resources on Wikimedia Commons Can be Used

Figure 1 shows an image of a video of the Belles of London City performing at the Lyme Day on Dance in July 2021. If you view the page containing the video you will see some further information including information (such as the title, caption, source and permissions) which you can add when you upload your own video. You will also notice at the bottom of the page the Categories for the video which can help you find similar videos – in this case the Morris dance and Morris dance in England categories have been added (in this case by the person who created and uploaded the video but, as with Wikipedia articles, anyone can edit such information). Note other categories relevant to the morris, sword and traditional dance communities include Rapper sword and Sword dance.

Uploading a Video to Wikimedia Commons

The process for uploading a video to similar to uploading an image, but with some additional steps related to the conversion of the video file format to a more open format. If you first wish to gain experience of the simpler process you may decide to upload a photograph as described in the document on Publishing Images on Wikimedia Commons.

To upload a video to Wikimedia Commons it’s best if you have a Wikipedia account.

Once you have an account, unlike the standard process for uploading images you fill first need to convert the video file format (say from a .MP4 format) to an open file format: WebM and Ogg Theora (note: WebM is preferred).

The Wikimedia Commons page on Help:Converting video explains the steps needed. In brief:

  1. Find the video file you wish to upload and ensure that it is suitable for uploading: primarily that you own the copyright (normally this means you created the video); you are willing to assign an open licence to the video (so that others can freely use it) and the video is in scope for Wikimedia Commons (primarily that it’s of educational/cultural merit).
  2. Use the Video2commons online service to convert the file to a free format and import it to Commons. Note if you have problems using this tool you can use the tool to convert your video to WebM format.
  3. Edit the metadata about the video.

Further Information

Note that this document has provided a very simplified overview of the process for uploading videos to Wikimedia Commons. The Help:Converting video – Wikimedia Commons document provided more detailed information. In particular note that it includes details of the following tools which may be useful:

  • VideoCutTool: a tool to upload videos from a device, edit and then upload back to Wikimedia Commons. The tool automatically converts the uploaded video to a Commons compatible format. It includes function such as removing audio, cropping video, trimming, and rotating. 
  • Video2commons: a tool to upload videos from a url to Wikimedia Commons, it automatically converts the video to a commons-compatible format. It includes functions such as removing audio, subtitles, video.
  • a free web app that converts video files, allowing you to change the video format, resolution or size right in a browser. All the app features are accessible free of charge and it has no limit on the number of files you can convert. Moreover, users don’t even need to sign up or sign in.
  • a tool which allows you to upload the video file (max. 100MB without registration). The website will convert the video for you and present you with a link to download the converted file. 

If you want further information on Wikimedia Commons the following resources may be useful:

Status of this Document

Document published: 7 Oct 2021
Document updated: 2 Dec 2021 (added link to service)

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Publishing Videos on Wikimedia Commons" document by Brian Kelly, Comms and IT volunteer with the Morris Federation.

#MorrisFedITResources #MFITResources

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