Thursday, January 15, 2015

Office 365 video embedding

Hopefully you know that I have a a number of SharePoint Template products. Many of these utilise embedded video. In most cases, this embedding has been accomplished with third party streaming services like YouTube.

Microsoft recently added the Video service to Office 365. I therefore makes sense to have my template videos hosted on Office 365 Video rather than a third party streaming services, at least for some versions.

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The first step in the process of embedding a video from Office 365 Video into a SharePoint Online site is to upload the video. To do this login to your Office 365 portal.

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You should then see the video tile as shown above or use the app launcher in the top left of the window to navigate there.

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In my case, when I navigate to the Office 365 Videos I already see videos I have uploaded previously. Here I select Channels from the menu across the top.

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Again, you can see that I already have some channels created. It is a good idea to use channels to categorise your videos. Think of it like standard SharePoint metadata.

To create a new channel select the + New Channel in top right of the window.

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You’ll now be asked to enter a channel (keep it short as long names don’t display well) and a channel colour.

When complete press Create.

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You receive a message that the channel is being created. This will take a few minutes to complete.

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When it is complete you will see the following tiles.

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If you select the Manage Settings tile in the middle you’ll be taken to the above screen where you can edit the channel name, colour and delete the channel if desired.

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If you select the Permissions option from the left you’ll be able to set who can edit and view the channel. So, you can also think of an Office 365 Videos channel a bit like a SharePoint subsite in that you can determine who has permissions to it.

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Selecting the Spotlight option on the left allows you to highlight a video in the channel, once you have uploaded some videos of course!

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If you return to the previous screen and select the Upload Videos option you’ll see the screen above. You can either drag a video into the upload box or select the box and navigate to the desired location to upload from on your local computer.

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The video will then commence upload. You can upload multiple files as well using either interface, however, there is not a lot of information here about the upload progress. It would be nice if there way maybe a percentage value or a progress bar.

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Once the video has uploaded you’ll be taken to a screen that will show you that the video is processing and you can refresh the page to get an update on the status. The amount of processing time is dependent on the video size and length.

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Underneath the video you will see some areas where you can update the information. You’ll need to so this and select the Save icon when complete.

Now here’s a tip. Keep the initial video file name as short as possible when it is uploaded because that initial name is used as part of the URL for the video. Once the video is uploaded, rename it to whatever you like.

Another tip with the initial file name prior to upload, apart from keeping it short, don’t use spaces or special characters!

Unfortunately, the only way to easy embed this video into SharePoint page is via its URL. The URL will be in the format:

https://<tenant-name>.sharepoint.com/portals/<channel name>/pVid/<file upload name>.mp4

You can also unfortunately not simply copy the URL that occurs at the top of the current page as it contains the video player URL in there also.

So you can either construct the videos URL from the above or work it out from the current page URL.

It would be so much nicer if Office 365 videos included an embed link! Hopefully, this feature is coming soon!

Once you have the URL for the video, navigate to the SharePoint site where you wish to embed it.

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Edit the page by selecting the Edit icon in the top right of the page.

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You can also edit the page by select the Page tab at the top and then the Edit icon on the left of the Ribbon menu that appears.

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Place the cursor where you wish the video to appear on the page. Then select the Insert tab at the top of the page.

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On the Ribbon menu should be the Video and Audio button. Select this.

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From the menu that appears, select From Address.

I theory the From SharePoint button makes the most sense BUT the Office 365 Videos portal is in a different Site Collection basically, so it can’t be directly navigated to. Again, a handy add for the next version would be great Microsoft if you are listening.

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Paste the video URL link you constructed earlier. It is always a good idea at this point to use the Try link to see whether you have the correct URL.

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If everything is correct, press the OK button and you should see a media player web part appear as shown above. Again, an embed option would have been much nicer but an coming update I’m sure.

Save the page to update the changes after making any adjustments to the web part as necessary.

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Now you should see the player embedded on your page and if you press play it should now stream.

I love the new Office 365 Videos feature and think it is a big differentiator to other services. It is a fantastic way to create a corporate video portal for training, on-boarding or whatever. I would like however to see more features and configuration options built into the product, but the main thing I would like to see is the ability to generate embed codes to make it easier that I have just run through, especially for end users. However, I’m sure those features and more will come very soon.

Office 365 Videos, use it, love it and look out for further updates now that you know how to get started.