Why? Recorded film is a crucial primary source and, increasingly, a vital repository for secondary academic discussion, opinion, and explanation. When you cite a video, you strengthen your primary arguments, deepen your research scope, and reinforce your evidenced theories.
With billions of works to select from, it’s essential when you cite a video to reference accurately and precisely. You’ll also need to carefully match the citation’s element to your chosen referencing system. Here’s how.
Definition: Cite a video
A video citation is any direct reference in a written work to a unique and relevant piece of recorded visual content. When you cite a video, you link it directly to your prose.
Academic video citations always come in two parts. A reference comprises the in-text marker (i.e. the page mark or indent text) and bibliographyentry (i.e. a full postscript line of text detailing the video’s exact location, creator, and, if relevant, timestamp). You can construct these references by using a manual set-style template or by using an automatic digital reference generator.
Ideally, each reference made when you cite a video should link to the easiest-to-access (e.g. online) and most complete copy of the work available (as of publication) for the reader. When you cite a video, state the shortest available version of the “shareable” web link.1 2
Cite a video in APA style
If you’re using APA, cite the uploader’s organization’s title or the uploader’s (or broadcasters’) name only. Don’t cite the creator unless they’re the same person as the uploader. However, you should always include the channel’s name in square brackets if it’s different from the uploader.
With APA, the video title is always printed in italics. “Video” is always added afterward in square brackets to designate the format. Stops always mark partitions.1 3
If relevant, you can add video timestamps directly in-text to link to quotes, scenes, or sections using APA. Timestamp where the part you want to reference starts.
Use the abbreviated format:
Cite a video in Chicago style
Chicago references can use the same formatting for their footnote and bibliographical text. Alternatively, you can shorten your Chicago-style footnote for simplicity or display a specific timestamp when you cite a video.
You should always use the full format when writing a Chicago-style bibliography. If you’re making a specific reference, change the length variable to timestamp the section you wish to cite (e.g. 01:55).1
You can also use the Chicago author-date style in circular brackets to insert Chicago footnotes into the text.
Cite a video in MLA style
MLA Works is very similar in construction to Chicago. However, the footnote and bibliography references for MLA are always identical. The order of information is also slightly different. Again, use (Author’s surname, timestamp) in-text to reference a specific point in time when you cite a video in MLA.1 3
Cite a video in MLA Style with the same author and uploader
Sometimes, you might need to cite a video where the author and uploader are the same. To avoid redundancy, MLA allows you to eliminate the author’s name from the start of a duplicate reference.
For in-text MLA references, simply replace the author’s name with the video title.1 3
Finding the information to cite a video
With online video websites (e.g. YouTube), everything you need to find to cite a video (usually) appears on the bar under the video window itself. Alternatively, try right-clicking on the video itself.1 2 3
The length of the video and timestamps usually appear on the playback scrollbar. Click on “Share” to see the short URL.
If you can’t find the name of a specific author, all the styles listed above allow you to omit that section if need be.
- Platform (YouTube)
- Publication (Upload) Date
Yes. Stealing, misattributing, or inventing a unique statement (allegedly) made on film by not citing still counts as malpractice.
State the following information:
- Most significant author
- Episode title
- Original broadcast channel (e.g. BBC 1)
- First transmission (air) date
See the “Learning on Screen” link below for other audiovisual referencing formats.2
1 Cite This For Me. “Citing a YouTube Video.” Accessed November 11, 2022. https://www.citethisforme.com/citation-generator/citation-basics/citing-a-youtube-video.
2 Learning on Screen. “Audiovisual Citation Guidelines.” Accessed November 11, 2022. https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/guidance/citation-guidelines/.
3 Berkeley College Library. “How do I cite A YouTube or online video?.” Accessed November 11, 2022. https://chat.library.berkeleycollege.edu/faq/166951.