Guide to video episodes on Substack

Note: These features are only available on video episode posts, not videos uploaded and embedded into a regular post.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use tools for publishing video episodes that you can record or upload directly to your Substack publication.

On video episodes, you can:

  • Automatically generate transcripts
  • Share audio from the video directly to your podcast RSS feed
  • Offer exclusive content to paying subscribers and a free preview of paid videos to all viewers
  • Easily share clips of your video in a note or on social media

How to get started on a video episode

  1. Head to your Home or Posts tab and select “+New post”. From the menu, select “Video”.

  1. In the draft post, click “Record” to record a video using your mobile device or laptop or “Select file” to upload a video file.
  • If you record a video, your webcam will appear on the page, and you may be prompted to allow your internet browser to access your computer's camera and microphone. Click on the red circle to start recording, and click on the red circle again to stop recording.
  • If you upload a video file, the upload will automatically begin, and the episode’s settings dashboard will appear.

Tip: The accepted video types are 1080 p/2K or smaller, MP4, H.264, and AAC; the recommended maximum size is 20 GB.

  1. While the video is processing, you can continue to write and edit the draft body. Once the video is uploaded, select “Done”. You can return to this settings dashboard anytime.

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  1. The video will appear at the top of the post and cannot be moved. Select the following icons:

Video controls.png

  • Settings icon: The episode’s settings page is where you can replace or delete the video, add a host or guest by name or email address, or generate a transcript.
  • Lock icon: If you have payments enabled on your publication, you can edit and set a free preview of your video for free viewers.
  • Image icon: Here, you can set a thumbnail for your post by uploading an image or selecting a still from the video.
  • Trash icon: Select this icon to delete the video from your post.
  1. Once you’re ready to publish the video post, select “Continue”.
  2. If you have a Substack podcast setup, you’ll see the option to add the audio to your podcast RSS feed and edit the episode notes. Toggling this on lets subscribers listen to the video audio on external podcast players.

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7. After adjusting your publishing settings such as selecting which audience can view the episode, adding tags, or selecting the post preview image, select "Send to <audience> now".

How do I create a free preview of my video post?

Flexible paywalls offer free subscribers a taste of premium content. You can select a portion of your video to offer for free, which will also sync with the audio feed. 

Free preview.gif

To create a free preview, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the lock icon, and select which parts you’d like to be available to all viewers from the video timeline. 
  2. Select “Set free preview”.
  3. When viewing the free preview, free subscribers will be prompted to upgrade to a paid subscription to view the full video.

Interactive AI-generated transcripts 

Whether published as a podcast episode or not, every video post will automatically receive an AI-generated transcript. This transcript can be included on the post page, allowing viewers to click on any part of the transcript to jump to that section in the video.

To edit a transcript, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Open Settings icon, and a video transcript will appear in the side panel.
  2. Select “View transcript” and select "Edit" to make any changes to the text. Select “Update transcription”.
  3. When you publish the video post, a collapsable transcript will appear on the post. To remove the transcript, slide the green toggle to the left on the transcript settings page.

What will my viewers see?

A new episode page

Video posts now feature a larger video player at the top of the page. Subscribers and readers can follow along on a transcript, find links to listen to the audio on podcast players, and share clips of your video.

Watch on the Substack app

Subscribers can view your video posts on the Substack iOS app– this can include showing up in the reading queue at the top of the Home tab or in a  note.

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Note: Currently, video episodes are playable on the Substack iOS app and coming soon to the Substack Android app.

Custom shareable clips

Viewers can create and share custom clips. These can be shared as links, directing traffic to the full video, or downloaded for sharing on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

Clip.gif

To use the clipping feature, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the scissors icon on a web post next to the video.
  2. Select what parts of the video you’d like to share from the video timeline. Select “Create clip.”
  3. Select the shuffle icon if you want captions to appear in the clip.
  4. Once you create a clip, you can copy a link or click on a social media icon to share it. It will be automatically emailed to you. 

Easier controls

Subscribers can watch your videos with ease:

  • Clicking on the "cc" icon enables closed captions or subtitles on your video episodes.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for navigation such as command+k to pause the video and command+m to mute the video.
  • Selecting the two screens icon allows viewers to watch videos in a floating window

Frequently asked questions

Where can I see how many times my video has been played?

On your Posts page, expand the video post to see detailed statistics. We'll show your video play count, hours watched, details about new subscriptions, and how many times your post has been shared.

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How long does it take for a video to process?

Processing times depend on the file size. While this happens, you can write a draft using the post editor. To cancel the upload, click "X" next to the video upload on the episode’s settings page.

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