How to cite a video

Posted on November 19, 2013 by thewriter in Citation Format

Videos are categorized under audiovisual media along with audios and television broadcasts. Though this medium is usually associated with entertainment, it can also be a valuable source of information. In this article, we will discuss how to cite videos.

Let’s begin with the guides in citing the author/s:

Citing the Author

One Author

In-text citation Reference list
Last name 


*Write only the last name without the initials for all in-text citations.

Last name, A. A. 

Lee, E. M.

Multiple Authors 

Two to Seven Authors
In-text citation Reference list
Last Name A & Last name B 

Garcia & Lopez

*Use ampersand (&) instead of “and.” You can include up to five names, but in the next citations just use the first author’s last name followed by et al.

Last name, A. A., & Last name, B. B. 

Garcia, R. P., & Lopez, Z.

*The names of the author should be listed in the same order as it is written in the source. Use ampersand (&) instead of “and.”

More than Seven Authors
In-text citation Reference list
Last name A et al. 

Haley et al.

*Only include the first author’s last name followed by et al.

Last name, A. A., Last name, B. B., Last name, C. C., Last name, D. D., Last name, E. E., Last name, F. F., . . . Last name, G. G. 

Haley, M. N., Johnson, L., Ayala, P. D., Cruz, J. L., Stuart, L. V, Castro, S., . . . Roque, K.C.

*Up to seven authors can be included in the reference list. After the name of the sixth author, write three ellipsis points followed by the last author’s name.

In-Text Citation

  • The in-text citation is written inside a parenthesis with the last name of the author and year, separated by a comma.

(Santos, 2010)

  • If the name of the author is included within the text, only the year is written inside the parenthesis.

Santos (2010)

Reference List

Below are the important elements of an APA video citation.

  1. Year or date
  2. Title of video
  3. Format
  4. Country
  5. Studio
  6. URL


And here are simple guides in citing a video in the reference list:

  • Include as much information available from the source.
  • The authors are usually the Producers, Directors and the person who posted the video. Indicate their contributions in a parenthesis after their names.
  • Include the format or description of form inside a bracket after the title. The first word of the format starts with a capital letter and the next word is in lowercase (e.g. Video file and Video podcast).
  • Use the screen name if the full name of the author is not available.
  • For videos posted online, list the exact date of posting with the year first followed by the month and date.
  • List the URL for videos retrieved from the web.
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Basic Formats: Author (Producer or Director). (Year). Title of Video [Format]. Country: Studio.

Examples: Spielberg, S., Royce, I., Gordon, M., & Levinson, G. (Producers), & Spielberg, S. (Director). (2004). Saving Private Ryan [DVD]. United States: Universal.

Basic Formats (if it is available on-line): Author (Producer or Director). (Year). Title of Video [Format]. Available from

Examples: American Psychological Association (Producer). (2000). Responding therapeutically to patient expressions of sexual attraction [DVD]. Available from

Note: After the name, indicate whether the person/s is the Producer or Director in a parenthesis. The name of the Producer/s is listed first before the name of the Director/s.

Video Blog Post

Basic Format: Author. (Date). Title of Video[Format]. Retrieved from

Example: Norton, R. (2006, November 4). How to train a cat to operate a light switch [Video file]. Retrieved from

Note: Titles of videos from online communities such as blogs, newsgroups, and forums are not italicized.

Video Podcast

Basic Format: Author. (Date). Title of Video [Format]. Retrieved from

Example: Dunning, B. (Producer). (2011, January 12) inFact: Conspiracy theories [Video podcast]. Retrieved from

Information to be considered while citing a YouTube video

You should consider the information listed below to be included for citing a video from YouTube.

  1. The name of the person or company who have complied or created and posted the video. It can be the full name or the username.
  2. Name or the title of the video
  3. Website title, i.e. YouTube
  4. The date when the video was posted
  5. The date when the video was retrieved
  6. Video length or duration in hours, minutes and seconds
  7. Video URL (specific URL of the video)
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The use of the above-mentioned information and its style or format depends on which citation style you are going to use. Some of the information may not be used in one style but may be required in the other style.

For example, the Date when the video was retrieved is used in MLA citation style, but not used in other citation styles. Same way the video URL is used in APA and Chicago citation style, but not used in the MLA citation style.

Main citation styles

There are three main citation styles, i.e. APA, MLA, and Chicago citation style. The use of citation style depends on what kind of academic assignment or the research paper you are writing. Before you decide to use a style and know about how to use it, it will be helpful to know more about different styles and which style is used for which academic discipline in general. The main citation styles are;

  • APAcitation style – Popularly used in educational, psychological and scientific papers
  • MLAcitation style – Used by humanities like literature, art, language, history etc.
  • Chicagoor Turabian citation style – Mainly used by the business, fine arts and history

APA stands for American Psychological Association and was used first by a group of business managers, psychologists, and anthropologists in 1929. This style is generally used by the educational, psychological, and scientific assignments, research papers and articles. They established a simple set of rules and styles that will help codify various scientific components in writing. Its purpose is to make the reading comprehension easy.

MLA stands for Modern Language Association and its current version is MLA 8. This style is generally used for citing the sources in the documents, research papers, articles and other academic assignments in subjects like language and literature. This style is easier compared to the other citation styles and uses a parenthetical style. They are keyed to a list of works cited alphabetically that is placed at the end of the work.

Chicago citation style, also called Turabian citation style, was started by the Chicago University Press in 1906.

It is having basically two documentation systems, i.e.

1. Notes and Bibliography and 2. Author-date.

The use of these systems depends on the subject of research and the source that is being cited. This citation style is written in American English style that uses some common grammar and punctuation rules.

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The notes and bibliography style is popular among those working in the humanities including literature, art, and the history categories. On the other hand, the author-date style is being used for a long time in the field of natural, physical research and social sciences.

Where to Look

Let’s take a look at the screen cap below. Here we have a video entitled: “Frank Abagnale: ‘Catch Me If You Can’, Talks at Google.” The uploader is: Talks at Google, and info just below tells us the video was uploaded on 27 November 2017. The URL you’ll be able to snag from your browser at the top of your screen. For now, let’s just look at a few ways you could cite this video.


How to cite a YouTube video MLA style is pretty easy—you just have to know where to look and what to look for when you find the right video for your research paper. Things to remember that will make your life easier when it’s time to create your Works Cited page:

  • The title of the video
  • The name of the uploader of the video
  • The date it was uploaded
  • The URL to the video
  • The author of the video (if separate from the uploader and relevant to the source material)

You’ll use this information to cite the YouTube video in your paper, so be sure to jot it down when you come across it. Sometimes closing out of a tab on your computer screen without getting the necessaries can be the difference between a happy end to your research writing and hours of agonizing over how to find where such-and-such quote came from.

YouTube is a great repository of information in this day and age. There are so many great talks, lectures, speeches, informative videos, documentaries, films and short films available on the video streaming platform that to ignore it is to isolate yourself from what essentially amounts to one of the greatest libraries of all time on the face of this planet. YouTube could easily be used as a reference in virtually every paper. So learn how to cite a YouTube source in your paper today—and if you need additional help, we’re always just a few mouse clicks away.

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