Videos: Mastering the medium, plus suggested use cases

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video must be worth a novella? In a small space, you can convey meaning that is far more difficult to convey through written content or static images. So, what are the different options for working with videos in Amplenote?


linkTwo types of video uploads

Amplenote provides two ways to surface video content within notes.


link1. Within Rich Footnotes: Youtube, Uploaded Videos, and animated gifs

Thanks to Rich Footnotes, you can squeeze a Youtube video or an uploaded video pretty much anywhere. Select some text, hit CMD-K (on macOS) or Ctrl-K (on PC), and insert a URL or drag a video (or an animated gif).


link2. In the note body: Uploaded videos and animated gifs

Videos can also be inserted into the body of a note, either as a video:



Or as an animated gif:


Animated gifs are usually best if you want to show something that's 20 seconds or less, and doesn't need sound. Actual videos are best for other cases.


To insert a video or animated gif into a note body, you can drag it from your files into the note, or click the "Image or Video" icon in the toolbar.


linkVideo Limitations

There are a few limitations you may encounter when using videos.


linkFile size

Depending on how they are saved, videos can become very large files. These are Ampelnote's per-subscription-level upload limits per file:

Free/trial: Up to 5mb

Basic: Up to 20mb

Pro: Up to 50mb

Founder: Up to 100mb

You can view Amplenote subscription plans here.


linkUnplayable videos

Sometimes, a video uploaded by one device can't be played by another device. In these cases, in place of your video, you'll see an overlay that looks something like this:


Message that a video can't be played

When you save a video, your iPhone, Android or computer will save the video in a file with an extension like .mp4 or .mov (Quicktime). Within that video file, the device that saved the video will have chosen to apply a "video codec" to write the video file content. The two most popular codecs used to save videos as of 2021 are known as "AVC (H264)" and "HEVC (H265)." See Wikipedia if you want to geek out on the differences.


By default, when you upload a video from your iPhone, it uses the iPhone's preferred video codec, HEVC (H265). Per caniuse, as of 2021, only Safari and Edge support playing videos that use the iPhone's codec. Chrome and Firefox can't play videos with this codec yet. This means that, unless you convert your iPhone videos to the H264 codec, you will only be able to view iPhone videos on Safari-based browsers.


Apple provides a few options for addressing this: exporting to H264 via QuickTime, or manually set H264 as the default on iPhone.


If anyone has an iPhone app they think makes the process of moving from H265->H264 relatively easy (i.e., by availing an extension that can be accessed when viewing the video), drop us a line at support@amplenote.com and we'll make a specific recommendation here.


linkUse cases for videos

Putting videos in notes can be useful for a variety of cases. Some of which include:

"Help" or "How-to" content. Probably the #1 use case for videos. As the Amplenote Help Center attests, Amplenote excels at allowing you to publish pages that explain concepts using fewer words and more embedded images and videos. If you need to explain to others how a product or concept works, videos in published notes are an excellent choice.

Capture what you've seen on the web. When you're doing research, sometimes the most interesting part of what you see is how a page moves about as you use it. Using a tool like Amplecap, you can help note viewer experience that content exactly as you did when capturing it.

Better meeting notes. Nobody wants to read the wordy meeting minutes. Why not record a 1-2 minute summary of the meeting and start your meeting summary with that instead?

Bug reports. When you need to communicate with a developer that something isn't working as expected, embedding a video in a to-do that gets sent to them is a highly efficient option.

Journal a vivid life experience. Many people keep a daily journal, but few ever go back to revisit what they wrote. Maybe if you used less words, and more visuals, your future self wouldn't be so bored by what you have to say? 😂

Liven up a blog post. Similar to some of the above, if you publish the notes you create, your viewers will appreciate occasional breaks from pure text. You know?