Cite a Video – APA, Chicago, and MLA Style

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Cite-a-video-Definition

If you’re writing an academic essay, article, or dissertation, you’ll greatly benefit from knowing how to correctly cite a video.

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.

Cite a Video – In a Nutshell

This article covers the basics on:

  • What a video citation is
  • How to cite a video
  • Citing the creator, publisher, publication date, title, and broadcast/upload location
  • How to find the correct information to cite a video
  • How to correctly cite a video in APA style, Chicago, and MLA Style

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

APA style general citation format: Uploader Surname, First Initial OR Organization Name. (Bracketed Upload Date: Year, Month Day). Video Title [Video]. Platform (e.g. YouTube). URL.
APA bibliography/footnote entry example: BachelorPrint. (2016, August 29). ABBILDUNGSVERZEICHNIS ERSTELLEN | Bachelorarbeit & Hausarbeit ~ Word [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxH3TfkXws.
APA in-text citation example: (BachelorPrint, 2016)

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:

Example of an APA in-text citation with timestamp:

(BachelorPrint, 2016, 01:55)

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.

Use dividing stops for bibliography sectioning and commas for footnote entries. The author’s (uploader) name can be a person or an organization. No italics or brackets are needed. Video titles are always displayed in quotation marks.1

Chicago style general citation format: Author Surname, Author First Name (If Relevant). "Video Title". Date: Month, Day, Year. (Type Specification) Video, Length (Full/Select Timestamp). URL.
Chicago bibliography entry example: BachelorPrint. “ABBILDUNGSVERZEICHNIS ERSTELLEN | Bachelorarbeit & Hausarbeit ~ Word”. August 29, 2016. Educational Video, 01:55. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxH3TfkXws.

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

Example of the short footnotes format:

1 BachelorPrint, “ABBILDUNGSVERZEICHNIS ERSTELLEN | Bachelorarbeit & Hausarbeit ~ Word”, 01:55.

You can also use the Chicago author-date style in circular brackets to insert Chicago footnotes into the text.

Example of a Chicago footnote inserted into the text:

(BachelorPrint, 2016)

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

MLA style general citation format: Author Surname, Author First Name. "Video Title". Website/Broadcaster, uploaded by Organization or Uploader (Distinct From Author), Date: Day, Month, Year, URL.
MLA Works Cited entry example: Other, Ann. "How to Correctly Cite a Video in MLA". YouTube, uploaded by Ex-Citing!, 24 April 2005, https://youtu.be/URL2U.

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

Example of an MLA Works Cited entry:

“ABBILDUNGSVERZEICHNIS ERSTELLEN | Bachelorarbeit & Hausarbeit ~ Word”. YouTube, uploaded by BachelorPrint, 29 August 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxH3TfkXws.

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.

Cite-a-video-finding-the-information-for-citing-a-video

FAQs

  • Author
  • Platform (YouTube)
  • Title
  • Publication (Upload) Date
  • URL

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.

Sources

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.