Why and how to apply a watermark to your video

You’re sitting at your desk browsing YouTube and you see a video that looks too familiar. It’s your video! But you never put that video up on YouTube… You click the video to find out how it got there and a chill runs down your spine.. a stranger has posted your video on their channel. You’re thinking how to respond. Should you complain in the video comments? Tweet to the world about it? File a claim with YouTube?

One thing that would have helped in this situation is a watermark on your video.

A watermark on a video

Why apply a watermark to your video

A watermark is a mark used to identify the origin of a video. If you put a watermark on a video and someone pirates the video, the identifying mark will tie the video back to you. If the person who pirated the video removes the watermark, it is an even serious infringement.

A brief history of the watermark

The term watermark comes from the paper making world. In 13th century Italy, paper makers used to share facilities like paper mills. Their paper products often got mixed. To avoid confusion, paper makers started applying watermarks to their paper. 

Take for example the first book from a printing press, the Gutenberg Bible. It uses paper from at least four different papermakers. We can see several different watermarks on different pages of a Gutenberg Bible.

We don’t know the exact origin of the word watermark. It could be a reference to the fact that the part of the paper with the mark looks translucent like a wet spot. This demo shows how a paper maker applies a watermark on paper.

The practice of watermarking has carried over to digital artefacts. It is used for the same purpose as eight centuries ago — to identify the origin of a work.

Guidelines for watermarking

There are a few things to keep on mind while using a watermark on a video:

  • a watermark can be a graphic such as a unique logo or it could be text such as a website URL
  • Add a drop shadow to text in the watermark image. This will make the text legible even if the background is the same color as the text.

Text with drop shadow
  • place the watermark on the video such that it does not interrupt the viewing experience. Here are ways to ensure that:
    • make the watermark semi-transparent so it does not block parts of the video
    • the watermark should be in a region of the video that is not the focus of the video
    • it should be small in size so it does not interfere with the video
  • if you want to apply a watermark on many videos, make the watermark appear in a different location on each video. Video pirates have computer programs to go through videos and erase watermarks. If the watermark is in a different location in each video, it makes the pirate’s job difficult.
  • make the watermark appear throughout the video or at least in important segments. Even if pirates use only a segment of the video, the watermark is present in that segment

How to apply a watermark to your video

With Outklip, you can apply a watermark to a video.

Video before watermark
Video after watermark

Here are the steps to add a watermark to your video.

  1. Make a video with the Outklip Chrome extension or upload a video. Click the video to open its webpage.
  1. On the video webpage, click the Watermark button. An add watermark webpage will open.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-84.png
  1. On the watermark webpage, click the Upload button.
  1. Select a .jpg or .png image file and click Open.
  1. Change the size of the watermark.
  1. Change the opacity of the watermark.
  1. Change the position of the watermark.

8. Click FINISH to create a watermarked video.

You can now share your watermarked video with confidence.

A watermarked video is a good way to stamp the origin on your video. Our guidelines above show you how to apply a watermark without affecting video quality.