Upload videos

I think it would be a very nice addition to include the ability to upload videos when making observations! Video with sound can be very diagnostic when identifying birds especially! Uploading on the mobile app would be very convenient.

See this thread (https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/videos-for-observations/5408) for a discussion on videos. You can upload sound files for bird calls :)


Thank you! :)

The lack of video upload support has mainly be an issue of infrastructure and priorities, not lack of interest. iNat has been growing exponentially for the past few years so we’ve had to spend a lot of time and resources scaling it just to keep up, and video support would be a huge step up in that area. Also, other updates such as improving notifications have taken priority over video support. But when we’ve discussed it, we’ve discussed supporting only short clips so that people would have to edit longer videos. I’d be interested in embedded videos, but then you might have the issue that we had in the past with Flickr, when we loaded photos directly from Flickr rather than hosting them ourselves. If someone took the photo down on Flickr, it would no longer be viewable on iNat. So as supplemental support in a comment that might work, but it would be best to have a photo as well.

I personally really dislike animated GIFs, but I seem to be in the minority, as far as the world is concerned.


I don’t care for animated GIFs for IDing purposes, I’d rather have the individual photos to look thru, not something flickering. I do like humorous ones in some forums.

The way people complain about un-cropped photos, they’ll really scream about videos that really can’t be cropped if the image isn’t kept within a confined viewing section without very expensive production type editing software. They can also tie up tremendous amounts of IDing time as the IDers checks at this still, and this still, and this still, to see if they can make out distinguishing traits. Sometimes movement can help with the ID as well though.

i would think that videos would probably be best recorded in the system as a video + a photo, where the photo is a capture of one frame of the video. so even if you were to lose the video, you would still have a photo capture.


Could iNat look into an interim solution, like supporting flif, gifv, webm, or mp4?

I don’t that helps with the main concern here - which is the bandwidth and storage requirements.


Well, it kinda does. GIFs aren’t really a good optimized format for video. Yet currently if I want to upload a bunch of 20MB GIFs (I think that’s the limit), I could.

Alternatively, iNat could reprocesses that file. Basicley, converting that 20MB GIF down to a better, smaller, more modern filetype w/ little to no loss is quality, and it would make all your pages load faster, since they wouldn’t be bogged down by trying to load a GIF.

You can retain the same filesize limit you currently have, but everything might just run better.

The difficulty with using screenshots from videos as stand-ins for the videos, in my mind, is that the metadata are no longer attached. So, for example, my video might have a date, a time, and a location attached to it, but when I take a still those metadata don’t stay attached. I then have to type in all those metadata for each observation, which doesn’t work when a large number of videos are involved, as with camera trap schemes. Since taking stills is iNat’s official advice on what to do with a video observation, I would appreciate advice on how to efficiently make those stills into proper iNat observations.

Edit: On another thread here, @twr61 kindly solved this conundrum for me. “Open the mp4 file in Lightroom. At the bottom of the image is a bar with a “Play” arrow on the left end. Near the right end is a filled rectangle which is a dropdown menu, the top option is Capture Frame.” This works for me, and maintains the capture data.


What are the current restrictions on file size or resolution of uploaded images? With modern high-megapixel digital cameras, image sizes can get pretty big. But I believe iNat resizes them correct? So what is the final storage size?

My point is, modern H264 video compression is really good. H265 will be even better. In under 5MB you can have a short clip that is more than good enough for species identification. Right now, iNat is allowing 20MB animated GIF’s, which are terrible and wasteful.

I think being able to show animal behaviors would be a worthwhile addition. But an ‘only wild animals’ rule would have to be enforced though or else iNat will just end up with thousands of household pet videos.

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Even animated PNG would be an improvement over GIF. Unfortunately, iNat strips all the frames out of it except the first.

I think it could be nice to see the embedded youtube links in comments option @tiwane is quoted about in other thread. At present, I have some links for track cam footage where you just have to leave the site through the URL. So, for me, the issue of links potentially going dead will exist, embedded or not.

I would love to be able to upload videos as observations. Usually I only use them to record birdsong, and in that case I don’t mind converting them to sound-only files, but sometimes I take one that just isn’t as good as a sound file or single picture. For instance I recently took one of a heron striking a fish, which is much cooler if you get to see the whole thing.

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I’d have liked to see your heron shot… What an exciting capture! I think short videos would be lovely to see natively on iNat. Even, if there was a 3-5 second limit or file size limit or number of uploads was metered, it would be a really great enhancement.

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I have gathered from other threads that iNaturalist is more for getting observations id’ed, not so much as a data archive. On that note, one of the main reasons I can think of for uploading videos would not apply – a record of organism behaviors.

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iNat is definitely a data archive, but it’s not really a data repository. It’s a social network and community that generates data from its members’ observations, IDs, and discussions.

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A way to get things IDed is only a small proportion of how many people use iNaturalist. Among many uses, it’s definitely a repository for storing organism behaviors/ecology/natural history for me.


I’ve read that news today on The Guardian and thought it would be interesting to bring it into that thread. If not to capture new species, at least to record species behavior that could be important for the IDing process. Naturally, if someone ever catch a new species on video, that will be great.
Scientists identify deep-sea blob as new species using only video

I agree with this. Inaturalist needs to get the ball rolling on a short video (up to 15 or 30 seconds).

Today for example, i saw a pileated woodpecker from a distance. It was screaming loud, so i took a video, as I wasn’t close enough for a pic. The video identifies the area and sound, something that a GIF or audio note can’t both do.

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