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How to Upload a Media File to Canvas

Have a media file that you want to upload to Canvas? Read below.

Uploading media to Kaltura in Canvas is pretty easy, and your files are safely stored there in perpetuity. (However, if your media isn't viewed for 4 years, it will be deleted, though you'll be alerted before that occurs.) Once in "My Media," you can use them for a variety of purposes, as we discuss in various other tutorials.

What to Know About Uploading Files to Canvas

  • Storage limits: none. You can upload and store as much as you want.
  • File size limits: none. You can upload gigantic files, though it may take a while.
  • File type support: Kaltura supports a wide variety of media formats ("all common video, audio and image formats in all resolutions," according to Kaltura).
  • Multimedia support: you can upload images and audio-only files as well. The Kaltura player also supports 360 videos!
  • Quality levels: after a file is added to "My Media," Kaltura will generate multiple quality levels for that file behind the scenes (which they call "flavors"). Viewers can select a quality level manually if they wish.
  • Machine captions: regardless of how they come into Kaltura, all media added to Kaltura after 13 June 2020 will have machine captions added, typically within about 30 minutes after the file is done processing. These captions are about 70% accurate.

Whys, Requirements, Caveats

Why You Might Want to Upload a Media File

  • You have an existing media file on your computer that you want to include in one of your courses
  • You want to store a multimedia file with Kaltura rather than keeping it on your computer


  • A media file on your computer (audio, video, or image)


  • Any uploaded video will be a single-stream video (only Kaltura Capture recordings and certain types of Zoom recordings can be multi-stream recordings)
  • Both the captions and the multiple quality levels ("flavors") won't be available immediately


A screenshot of the "Add New" menu, with "Media Upload" highlighted below it.If you have a video file on your computer that you want to upload to Canvas, the process is relatively simple!

  1. Within Canvas, click on "My Media" on the left side of the screen.
  2. Click the "Add New" button near the top right of the screen, and select "Media Upload."
  3. On the subsequent page, either drag and drop the video you want to upload or click "Choose a file to upload" and locate the file you want to upload.
  4. Enter or change the title of your video during or after your file upload. "Description" and "tags" are optional.

Tip: Consider Adding Tags

Within "My Media," Kaltura doesn't offer a folder-like organizational system. Instead, they offer "search and filter" functionality, like you may have seen in the GMail web application. For this reason, taking a moment to add a few tags to your video can be really helpful, particularly when your list of media in "My Media" is very long.

So consider developing a tagging system that will enable you in the future to easily find your media. For example, you might tag a video with english101 and fall2020 to make it easier to find later.

  1. On this upload page, you can also elect to publish the video immediately to one of your courses. By default, however, your video will be private to you.
  2. Click "Save."

Your video will now be in "My Media."

Have additional questions about video? Contact Multimedia Services at