Videos for observations

just curious: iNaturalist allows you to attach photos and sounds to your observations. why not videos? i get that videos take up a lot of storage, but couldn’t there be an option at least to link videos that are hosted on a third-party site like YouTube? are videos harder to moderate? is there some sort of copyright complexity associated with videos? is there some technical challenge associated with videos?

(i know i can put a link to a video in an observation’s description or comment, but it would seem like it would be better to have video as a standard media type.)

Last thing I can find from staff in a quick search was from 2017:

@michael_bear: does iNat have any plans to accept video data, ie: short clips? I know you accept audio.

@loarie: No immediate plans given our current operating budget. But I think there’s interest if there were resources to take video on.


As somewhat of an alternative you can upload short GIFS :) See this project


yes, i know it’s possible to upload animated GIF files, but i’m wondering more about actual videos.

i’m not necessarily advocating that iNaturalist should start hosting a bunch of videos because i know that comes with a bunch of technical / financial hurdles. but why not create a separate new video media type that could be a reference to a video hosted on a third party website like YouTube or Vimeo or something like that? assuming the third party site allows it, you could still play the video from the observation page, but the video would be hosted on the third party site. the user workflow to add a video might be a little more complicated that way, but i then again, having a separate media type would allow you to search for observations that have videos associated with them.


When your Explore or Identify search result set includes a lot of observations that have GIFs as their #1 image, the loading can be significantly longer, which is an issue for some that have slower connections. Whenever I show iNatters that they can upload GIFs, I always recommend making GIFs the second image (or just not the first) or at least keeping the GIFs in the #1 slot as small as possible.

Personally, I think the extra effort to make and upload a GIF is a good filter to keep ridiculous volumes of video from being added. It’s not just the data volume that is consumed, it is the observers and identifiers time that can be eaten up by video and audio that hasn’t been suitably trimmed and tidied up. When I encounter an image that has not been well framed or tidied up, it is almost instantaneous to come to that determination and to skip past it, although I do from time to time try and give advice to an observer on how to improve them. But for audio and video, you can’t just make that determination straight away. If it is 3 minutes of near useless audio or video, how are you going to know that is the case until you get to the end of it?


I share your concerns about slogging through unedited videos, but the same thing could be accomplished by allowing actual video formats and limiting their runtimes to just a few seconds and perhaps resolution as well to encourage focused cropping. And then the file sizes wouldn’t be as huge as gifs while also being higher quality, with the added possibility of a synced audio track.

1 Like

Is it possible to embed videos into text fields using HTML code?

1 Like

I just tried it with iframes and object tags in the description, but inat strips them out.

1 Like

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Upload videos

I think it might be best to focus discussion about the possibility of uploading videos to observations in a single place, so I moved some of the recent posts to that topic:

For reference here, this is what the iNat staff had said in response to the original question “why not videos?”:

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.