Video at Nottingham

The university runs a server dedicated to video to which any member of staff can upload video clips. This help document describes how you can use this service to deliver video to your students, either as one-off videos or as a series (podcast). The service is designed to be easy for non-technical staff to use.

Getting started

To use the service, you first need to get yourself a login to the system. Go to, click on the Register link, and fill in the short registration form. You'll receive a login by email shortly afterwards.

Uploading videos

Creating podcasts

The service is based on podcasts. You have to create a podcast and then place 'episodes' (individual videos) within it. Users can 'subscribe' to your podcast to be alerted when new episodes are added to it, via the feed icons at the top of the podcast properties form. A podcast is essentially a series of audio/video files with a RSS newsfeed which the user can subscribe to using a hardware (eg iPod) or software (eg iTunes) media player, or newsreading software (eg RSSOwl) - see a RSS FAQ and a Wikipedia article on podcasting.

NB: by default, as part of the university's Open Educational Resources (OER) policy, your podcast will be made publicly available in the university's iTunes channel so that any iTunes user can find it. If you don't want it to be public, make sure to tick Block in iTunes in the podcast detail.

Adding episodes

Go into the podcast to which you want to add an episode (video clip) and click Add New Episode. You can then browse to the video file that you wish to upload. Tick the Streaming checkbox to make the clip available for streaming as well as downloading. For metadata, you have to add a title and description at a minimum, but you can add extra metadata by ticking the add extra info checkbox.


It's worth taking a little time on the descriptive metadata for both the podcast and individual episodes. The user's media player uses this to display relevant podcast information, such as title, artist, and description. Without such metadata the episode will appear in a media player as song 'unknown' by 'unknown artist', or similar. If you have one, use your iPod or other media poayer, if you have one, to subscribe to your podcast to see how it looks. Alternatively, download a copy of iTunes to your machine and subscribe to your podcast in that. Another reason to provide descriptive metadata is to make your podcast easier to find in iTunes - the university has an iTunes U channel to which, by default, all podcasts are published.

Video formats

To upload a video to the video.nottingham service you'll need it as a file in a format the service can recognise, which are:

You can recognise a file type by the extension in the filename, eg myvid.mpg, somevid.avi, etc. The 'native' format of the service is FLV (Flash Video), other formats being converted to FLV on upload which can take some minutes so be patient.

If you're creating a podcast which you want your students to subscribe to, so that they can download and view their videos on offline devices (eg smartphones, iPods), then the best format for uploading is MP4 which is compatible with all common media players.

Uploading from DVD

You can't directly upload from a DVD, for technical reasons. You'll need to convert all or part of the DVD video to a clip in one of the above video formats. You could either do this yourself (see 'How can I convert a DVD for uploading?' below) or you could contact a member of the School HELM group to do it for you or show you how you could do it yourself.

Delivering your videos


You can make the whole podcast available to your students. Click on a podcast then on Podcast Detail, and there are two links at the top of the form, under the podcast title:

You can give these to your students to subscribe to your podcast in their media players.


If you just want to make individual clips (episodes) available to your students, click on a podcast, go to the Episodes tab, click on an episode title, then look for the following links under File:

Playing video in web pages

When you've uploaded your video as a streaming video, the streaming link will play the video in a player embedded in a web page. You just need to copy the "Streaming Media" link in the Episode detail into a web page as a normal link, then when you click on it a video player should start up. Try the following example to see what happens:

Interview with Theo Stickley on social inclusion in mental health

You can 'embed' a video player in a web page using HTML code, if you're confident with basic web page editing. Go to the Streaming media link as above, and below the video player you'll see Embed Code which you can copy and paste into the source code of a web page. Alternatively, you can just use the

Sources of help

Information Services maintains a web page entitled "Video and Podcasting", which includes a very useful step-by-step help document (PDF) with screenshots. Support is available from

Copyright caveat

Copyright is an extremely thorny and dangerous issue on today's Internet. When you upload to the video.nottingham service you must ensure either that the video is copyright of the university or that you have the written permission of the copyright holder to make their work available online. If you produce your own video you must ensure that any identifiable person appearing in the video (the presenter, for instance) signs a copyright waiver (see below). The consequences of breach of copyright could, in worst case scenarios, be very serious and costly for the university and yourself, as you could be held personally liable by an aggrieved party in a lawsuit.

You should consult the Copyright Guidelines on the School Intranet (login required) before producing and/or using video materials.

Rights waiver

This is a form which all identifiable participants in a video must physically sign so as to assign all of their rights over the production to the university to do with as it wishes. You can use either of the forms below:

It's important that a physical copy of the signed waiver be stored in a secure location.

University videos and podcasts

The University of Nottingham, as part of its Open Nottingham OER initiative, makes many videos available to the public via two video 'channels':

iTunesU: this can only be accessed by users of the Apple iTunes software. The link points to information about the channel. By default, when you upload to the video.nottingham service, your video will be publicly available in iTunes, although you can set it to be excluded.

YouTube EDU: as with the rest of YouTube, all videos in this channel are publicly available to anyone with a browser. You can't publish to the channel from video.nottingham. To submit your video for the UoN YouTube channel, you should contact Andrew Burden in Communications & Marketing with the following information about the video:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is streaming video?

A 'streaming' video (or audio) clip sends the video as a 'stream' of data, rather than as a download. An analogy is with millponds - water from the river fills the pond then streams out of the other end to drive a water wheel. Similarly, video data flows from the server into a 'buffer' on your computer which, when full, spills data to your media player.All the videos on YouTube are streaming videos. The main advantage of a streamed video clip is that it plays almost immediately, which is particularly important for large video files. For instance, a 100Mb video clip might take some minutes to download even on a broadband connection, but would play almost immediately on a streamed connection.

The major disadvantage of streaming media is that users have to be online to access it. If you would like your students to be able to watch your clips offline with an iPod or other media player, you should make the clips available for downloading as well as, or instead of, streaming. (This is the approach taken by Diane Bowskill and Joanne Lymn in their Non-Medical Prescribing course.)

What the @#$! is metadata?

Metadata is data about data, analogous to the label on a tin can without which you'd not know if it contained tomato soup or blackberry jam or snail purée. Metadata describes content. In the case of podcast episodes, the minimum metadata you need is title and description, though the more metadata you add, such as keywords, the easier it'll be for users to find your works if you've made them public.

What is a podcast?

Although the term 'podcast' is derived from Apple's famous iPod (see the Wikipedia podcast entry), it's come to mean the combination of:

Put simply, when you make a podcast 'episode' (audio or video clip) available online, the newsfeed is automatically updated so that anyone subscribed to it is alerted to your new episode and can access it in their media player.

How do I convert a DVD for uploading?

First, you'll need conversion software. Fortunately, there are a number of free video conversion utilities which you can download and which are relatively user-friendly. Format Factory and Handbrake are two of the best, FF being the friendlier. If you have a copy, you could use the commercial video editing software Adobe Premiere (or the cut-down Premiere Elements), although it would be de trop to buy a copy purely for conversion.

If you're using Format Factory, open the application then click on the tab on the left labelled ROM Device\DVD\CD\ISO and choose DVD to video file. You'll get a popup window in which you can choose the output format to convert to (eg MP4, AVI, FLV), and if you click on Output Setting you'll get another popup in which you can set video quality. Once you've got your settings sorted, click Start to commence conversion, though expect it to take a good few minutes depending on how long your DVD video is.

How can I convert video from one format to another?

The excellent and free conversion utilities Format Factory and Handbrake allow you to convert to/from most popular video and audio formats. Format Factory has the friendliest interface for beginners to digital video, Handbrake aimed more at the technically-adept.

If you have Adobe development software on your machine, see if the Flash Video Encoder is available. If so, you can use that to convert from common video formats (MPG, AVI, WMV) to Flash Video (FLV), which is the native format for the video.nottingham service.

How do I edit videos?

Unless you're confident with with the technical aspects of digital video, you don't. If you are, and you just want simple 'splice and dice' editing - excerpting parts of a video clip - then the shareware package VideoRedo is very good for this. AVS Video Editor, also shareware, is more advanced and allows you to add titles, transition, images and audio tracks to your video in a relatively user-friendly interface. For more advanced editing you'll need a professional, and expensive, package such as Adobe Premiere, though expect to spend some time climbing the steep learning curve.

How can I extract just the soundtrack from a video clip?

Use Format Factory and convert from your video format to MP3, which is an audio-only format.