4. Uploading Videos in Studio

After a video administrator works with the edX media team to complete preliminary setup for the entire institution, individual course teams can begin to upload video files for their courses in Studio. This section describes the specifications met by successful video files, the steps to upload the files, and how you monitor video processing at edX.

The result of video processing is additional file formats that are transferred to multiple hosting services (YouTube CMS and Amazon AWS), ready for learners to access.

4.1. Specifications for Successful Video Files

Your videos can contain whatever content you want to include in the course. The Creating Videos section of edX101 Overview of Creating an edX Course has some helpful pointers for creating good video content.

4.1.1. Supported Video Formats

The automated processing that takes place at edX transforms each of your uploaded video files into several different formats. For this process to succeed, you must upload videos in .mp4 or .mov format.

4.1.2. Compression Specifications

For best results, your video files should have these compression specifications.

Codec & Container H.264, .mp4
Resolution & Frame Rate 1920x1080, progressive, 29.97 fps (see note)
Pixel Aspect Ratio 1.0
Bit Rate VBR, 2 pass
Target VBR 5 mbps
Max VBR 7.5 mbps
Audio AAC 44.1 / 192 kbps


Typically you export at the same frame rate that was used when you created the media file. For example, if you create the file in a country that uses the PAL system, you export at 25 fps instead of the NTSC standard of 29.97 fps.

4.1.3. File Naming Conventions

Each video file must have a unique name. The edX media team recommends that organizations define a naming convention for video files, and apply it to videos for all courses. At a minimum, your naming convention should include these elements.

  • A course identifier.
  • The year of the initial course run.
  • A revision or version number.

An example naming convention is {course}_{year}_{segment}_{learning sequence}_{revision}.{type}, which results in file names like SPU27_2015_S1_1_0.mp4.

Video file names should include alphanumeric characters and underscores only. Periods should be used only to separate the file name from the extension that identifies its type.

Standardizing the content and format of these file names helps all interested parties identify and track video files over time.

4.2. Upload Video Files

Before you can upload video files, the video upload feature must be enabled for the course. Your video administrator coordinates this task with the edX media team. See Create YouTube Channels.

  1. Open the course in Studio.

  2. Select Content, then Video Uploads.

  3. Add video files to the Video Uploads page. You can drag files to the page and drop them, or click Select files to locate the files to upload.

    A rectangular tile appears on the page for each file. The file name, a progress bar, and the status of the file upload process appear in the tile.


You must leave the Video Uploads page open in your browser until the upload process is complete for all files.

When the status of an uploaded file changes to Ready, the file upload process is successful. If the status changes to Failed, the file upload process is not successful. You can monitor file progress on the Video Uploads page or download a report.

4.3. Monitor Video Processing

After your video files successfully reach the edX servers, automated processing begins.


Automated processing takes 24 hours to complete.

A list of every file that you attempt to upload to the edX servers appears in the Previous Uploads section of the Video Uploads page. The list includes each file’s status in the encoding and hosting workflow. In addition, you can download a report of the video files that you uploaded. See Reporting Video Statuses.

4.3.1. Video Processing Statuses

The encoding and hosting process assigns these statuses to video files.

  • Uploading files have not yet reached the edX servers successfully. For files that encounter a problem, verify that the file that you uploaded is in .mp4 or .mov format and meets the other specifications for successful video processing. See Specifications for Successful Video Files. Then try uploading the file (or its replacement) again.
  • In Progress files are undergoing processing to create additional file formats or waiting for successful transfer to the host sites.
  • Ready files are ready for inclusion in your course and for learners to view. See Adding Videos to a Course. When you click the names of these files, a file hosted on one of the external host sites plays. Processing continues at video hosting sites for 24 hours after you upload a file.
  • Failed files did not complete processing successfully. Verify that you can play your original .mp4 or .mov file and that it meets the other specifications for successful video processing. See Specifications for Successful Video Files. Upload the file, or a replacement file, again. If processing fails more than once for a file, contact the edX media team at media@edx.org.

Statuses of Invalid Token or Unknown indicate a configuration problem. Inform your edX program manager if these statuses appear.

4.3.2. Reporting Video Statuses

To report the status of the encoding and hosting process of every video file that you upload, as well as the assigned video IDs, you can download a CSV file.

  1. Open the course in Studio.
  2. Select Content, then Video Uploads.
  3. Click Download available encodings (.csv).
  4. Use a spreadsheet application or text editor to open the CSV file.

The CSV file reports data in these columns for all of the files you upload.

  • The file Name.
  • The file Duration. If the upload process has not yet determined how long the file is, Pending appears.
  • The Date Added, which shows the date and time that you uploaded the video file.
  • The unique, identifying Video ID. When you add a video component to your course, you supply the video ID for the file you want to add. See Adding Videos to a Course.
  • The Status of the encoding and hosting process for the file. See Video Processing Statuses.

The CSV file also includes a column for each of the formats and host sites that are the result of the edX encoding and hosting process. The CSV file includes data in these columns only after each format is successfully generated and delivered to its destination.

  • desktop_mp4 URL: The AWS location of a 720p resolution video file in mp4 format. This file is delivered to learners who do not have access to YouTube and view course videos with an mp4 player.
  • desktop_webm URL: The AWS location of a 720p resolution video file in webm format. This file is delivered to learners who do not have access to YouTube and view course videos with a webm player.
  • mobile_low URL: The AWS location of a 320p resolution video file. This file is delivered to learners who download and view course videos on a mobile device.
  • youtube URL: The YouTube location of a 1080p resolution video. By default, the edX video player delivers this video.

The edX encoding and hosting process produces these alternatives to ensure optimal playback quality for your learners.