Contents
What is video metadata?
How do I view the metadata of a video?
What can I learn from a video exclusively through metadata?
Can I edit video metadata?
Contents

Metadata may seem opaque and out-of-reach, but it doesn’t have to be. The average person is more than capable of diving into a video file and extracting useful helpful information. This guide is designed to make sure you have all the necessary tools to do so.

What is video metadata?

Video metadata is all available information about a digital video file – like the author, date created, location shot, camera information and upload date. Video metadata helps people who work with video files organize and sort video search results.

A picture of information next to a video file.

Understanding what kind of elements show up as video metadata helps users get a feel for how metadata can help them learn about specific videos. Let’s take a look at how to find and view the metadata of an individual video.

How do I view the metadata of a video?

Now that you have a general idea of what metadata video is, the next important thing to know is a direct path to finding and viewing it. There are a few different methods depending on the type of file and system you’re using, so I’ll go over them all one-by-one. First, we’ll look at the ways to view metadata for video files.

Video files: Using a software system

The good thing about looking for digital metadata in the age of advanced technology is there are plenty of software systems designed to help you locate and view it without advanced knowledge of computers. Of course, not all systems are created equal. Here are a few that I’ve found to work quite well. Determine which would best suit your personal metadata needs.

MediaInfo

The Mediainfo site page.

MediaInfo is a downloadable program that pulls metadata from files for the user so they don’t need to do any extra searching to find it. Though it is very in-depth in its ability to locate and display video metadata, it also is capable of managing other media file types. Consider MediaInfo if you want a basic program that is easy to use and accessible on many different platforms.

Wondershare UniConverter

The Wondershare website.

Wondershare UniConverter is one of my favorite programs for viewing video metadata, mostly because of its beautiful, seamless interface. It makes it easy to look at video metadata through the lens of a modern program without excessive technical know-how required. Consider Wondershare if the aesthetic of the program’s interface is a large part of your decision.

Bonus: Metadata2go

Metadata2go website interface.

I recommend Metadata2go a lot when metadata comes up, mostly because it represents a clear alternative to other systems, since it requires no download to use. Instead, it’s a cloud-based option that allows you to upload the video file in question and retrieve its metadata. Use Metadata2go if you have limited hard drive space and just need some quick metadata of a video file.

Now that you’re aware of a few systems that excavate metadata, let’s demonstrate how to do so manually.

Video files: Manual approach for Windows

Here’s how to view the metadata of video files if you’re using Windows and don’t have third party software available.

1. Locate the video file you wish to view the metadata of.
2. Right-click the file and select “Properties.”

The properties menu.

3. Under the “General” tab, you’ll see basic video metadata, such as file size and date created/received.

The general tab.

4. Next, click the “Details” tab. This will bring up information such as title, length and frame rate.

Details in the properties section.

Video files: Manual approach for Mac

1. Locate the video file you wish to view the metadata of.

An info option on Mac.
2. Select the “Get info” option.

A mov inspector on Mac.
3. If you have specific media software that plays your video files, there may be ways to load the file onto these programs and view metadata as well (specific to each system).

As you can see, there are plenty of different routes to checking out the metadata of a video file. So what about finding metadata for a video uploaded to the internet, for example on YouTube?

Metadata on videos uploaded to YouTube

First things first, recognize that YouTube metadata is different than a video file on your PC. This is because YouTube provides its own set of information on a video when uploaded. Here’s how to check it out.

1. Navigate to the YouTube video you want to find metadata for.
2. Underneath the video screen, there are some basic metadata, such as the title, uploader and date uploaded.

A YouTube video screenshot.

3. To dig deeper, right-click next to the video player and select “View page info.” This will provide you with further details concerning the video, such as the hyperlink and keyword tags.

The general section of a YouTube video.

What can I learn from a video exclusively through metadata?

For whatever reason, the internet has taken a shrine to the concept of metadata in pictures, famously using it to find specific locations like detectives in a novel. However, video metadata hasn’t gotten as much of the same publicity.

Someone scrolling through videos on a search.

However, there are plenty of things you can learn about a video simply by seeing its metadata. Though it would be too difficult to list every possible thing you can find out, I’ll go through some of the basics. Through metadata, you can determine: the type of camera that shot the video, the location it was shot at, the date/time, the size of the file and the editing software used.

Why is this information valuable?

Most people worry about privacy when it comes to metadata, but the reality is that the information in video files has a lot of cool purposes for different users. For example, if you watched a video of cute puppies and wanted to know the general location it was shot, you could ask the uploader. But if they’re not available or no longer using the platform, you could check the metadata. Things like the camera make/model and editing software could be helpful if you’re interested in creating similar shots in your own videos.

Can I edit video metadata?

This will be specific to your operating system as well as the third party media software systems you have installed. Tools like Windows Media Player or the iTunes Player both have options for changing the metadata of video files.

A computer editing a video.

However, if you just want to make minimal changes and don’t want to install metadata editing software, you can right-click a video file, select “Properties,” click the “Details” tab, then find the information section you wish to change. Click underneath the “value” header and enter in the new information.

Closing thoughts

As you can see, there’s no one way to look at video metadata. With numerous options, there’s no reason to be in the dark about important files and the information within. Use this guide as your stepping stone, and you’ll soon be making edits and using metadata in a helpful, productive manner on your own.

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and Industry Expert

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and DAM Industry Expert | Canto

Casey is a content management and branding expert who enjoys taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand for readers.