Uploading Video
Course Uploads with Blackboard
Content Browsing
Unsuccessful Uploads
Chapter Points
Videos Don't Load
Editing Media
Mobile Access



Uploading Videos:

If the option of uploading videos is available to you as a user of the system then simply click on the "Upload" button on the menu bar.

You must then add the video's metadata, including Title, Category, Description, Your Contributor Name as well as your e-mail address.

The category you choose will determine who can access the uploaded content. See defintions below:


PersonalA video that is uploaded and marked as "Personal" is only viewable by the owner. If the video is uploaded from a Blackboard course it will also be viewable by students.

PublicVideos in the "Public" category are viewable and searchable by anyone (including guests).

ProtectedVideos in the "Protected" category are viewable and searchable by all authenticated users; that is, all NIU students, faculty and staff.


Click on Next

You will then be prompted to upload your video file. The maximum recommended file size is 500Mb. This can however be changed in the General section in Settings.

The Media Library will let you upload videos in the following format: .mov, .avi, .wmv, .flv, .mpg, .mp4, .mp3, .wav, .wma

If you try to upload a video in one of the above formats however cannot see the file when browsing to it, it is likely that the Media Library has not been enabled to allow that type of file to be uploaded. See your Systems Administrator who will be able to advise accordingly.

Upon upload a progression bar will show the percentage of the file that has been uploaded. Once the whole file has been uploaded the system will begin to extract the thumbnails from the video. Please wait for the thumbnails to appear on the page - a "Loading Thumbnails" icon will appear in the interim.

If the extraction of thumbnails is successful eight random thumbnails will appear on the page. Please select one of these and click on "Next"

If thumbnails are not extracted for the video file then you will be given the option of uploading your own or alternatively selecting the default thumbnail for the Category you have uploaded your file into.

Images uploaded for thumbnails must be 320W X 204H and the format must be .jpg

Click Next

You will be asked if you would like to upload any associated files - the following extensions are allowed *.doc;*.docx;*.ppt;*.pptx;*.xls;*.xlsx;*.pdf;*.swf;*.jpg;*.gif;*.htm;*.txt;* .zip;*.mp3

Done !

Your video has now been uploaded to the system. You will receive an e-mail issuing you with a link to your video once the system has encoded the file for streaming delivery.


Please be patient as the system may have a queue of files that it is working on and may need to encode the file in different formats or at different quality levels dependent on the set up of your system. In the media listing area your video will say false until your video has been encoded. This is not an error; as if encoding has failed you will receive an email letting you know.


Course Uploads with Blackboard

Students and faculty can use NIU's Helix Media Library to add media to assignments, discussions, or any other Blackboard item which allows for rich text input.

To add media content, simply click the "Mashups" button from the text box's toolbar and select "Helix Media Library."

For students, a new window should appear, and the upload is completed by following the same steps outlined above in the Uploding Videos section.

For instructors, a new window should appear with an option to either "Upload/Upload a new media item," or to "Search/Choose an existing item."

If the "Upload" option is chosen, the instructor will follow the same process outlined above in the Uploding Videos section.

If the "Search" option is chosen, the instructor can search for videos that he/she has access to on the site. Once a search term has been entered, a list of relevent videos will be displayed. The instructor may add a media item by clicking "Select" underneath the video to be added.

After the video has been uploaded, a preview image and video description should appear in the text box.

From here, additional text/items may be entered in the text box.  When all edits are finished, click "Submit" to post your content.


Content Browsing:

Once you have logged into the system to view videos in a certain category simply click on the category name you desire on the left hand side menu. To view a specific video either click on the video thumbnail or on the video title.

The Video Window will be displayed. This has various user options dependent on the way your system has been configured. The option to flick from High to Low Quality Video is simply done by selecting either High or Low on the drop down menu.

Clicking on the "Full Screen" Option, where available, makes the video viewer expand to fill the page. Return to the normal size by simply pressing on the "Esc" key on your keyboard.

Embed Code can also be copied from the Video Window so that you may embed your video in a web page.

You can use the search facility to allow you to search the title or tag text of any video. If you just click on the search button without typing anything in the box, you can refine your search by searching just one category, or videos from a certain contributor.


Unsuccessful Uploads:

On rare occasions some files will not be encoded by the system and you will be returned with an e-mail to notify you of this.

This can be for a variety of reasons mainly to do with the audio and video codec’s contained in your video file not being recognised by the system's encoder.

The event that this happens please alert your Systems Administrator who will advise accordingly.



Playlists allow you to create a list of your favourite clips and have them display at the bottom of your screen. You can have as many clips in a playlist as you want, scrolling left and right when playlist gets full to view all the items. You can also create several playlists to host different types of media according to your needs. Enable the playlist in the My Account area of the Helix Media Library, and add content to the playlists on the playback page when you view clips.


Chapter Points:

Chapter points can be created for clips that are long and will benefit from segmentation to draw attention to particular points of interest. They can be added and modified by the contributor of the clip and by a Helix Media Library administrator. Chapter points cannot be added to audio clips. When chapter points are added to a clip, the original is not modified at all. Chapter points can be added and deleted leaving the uploaded clip in its original state.


Media Fails to load:

If when clicking on a clip you only see the URL, Code, and video information but just a white space where the video is meant to be, it might mean that you do not have RealPlayer installed or there is an issue with it. Please make sure that you have the latest version downloaded from Alternatively, you can change the playback method by clicking on Preferences and changing the output format to Flash. Click Save to save the changes and try your clip again.


Editing Media:

If you wish to make changes to media that you have already uploaded, it can be done by clicking on Upload and then on My Media. This will list all the media that you have uploaded, and you will be able to make changes such as change the title or modify the description, add tags or even skip past the first page and change the thumbnail that the video uses. If you would prefer to use a thumbnail other than the ones shown, you can select Custom and then chose a different thumbnail if you have created one that you want to use.


Mobile Access

You can access the Helix Media Library from an iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android and iPad

When you visit the site you will be presented with the clips that can be viewed by unauthenticated users. If guest access has been disabled, you will need to log in using the same credentials as you would normally when accessing the Media Library from a desktop computer.

You will see the same layout as you would on a PC when accessing the site from an iPad. The only difference is that you won’t be able to see the coverflow, upload clips or create or view playlists as Flash is unsupported on the iPad.