Embed What in a Where Now?

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

watch now

by Martin French

When the internet first took hold for the mere mortals in the world, sometime back in the late 90's, the idea of putting other people's content onto your own website was a big mistake. It was unethical, it was illegal, it was stealing! These days though most websites that allow users to upload their own content also provide options to embed that content anywhere the reader chooses.

How embedding works is very, very simple. If we, here in TheLabā„¢, upload a video to the video website Vimeo then Vimeo.com is where that video lives. You can visit Vimeo and watch the video on that website just like viewing any other piece of content on the internet.

If you have your own website though you can click on the "embed" button on the video, copy the web code it provides, paste that code into your own blog/website or whatever and the video that we uploaded will appear on your website. (illustrated below with the video of Mad Dogs Dance Theatre)

The content hasn't moved anywhere or been copied to your website though. When the page you have embedded the video into is loaded by a user the code simply contacts Vimeo.com and loads the video from there and displays it on your page, just like it would if you were visiting Vimeo.com.

But Why?

So why not just watch the video on Vimeo or provide a link to that video you ask?

For the most part the reasoning is nothing more than convenience. If you are writing about a particular subject, like I am here, or you personally or the company you work with is somehow connected with a piece of content uploaded by someone else to a website that allows embedding it makes sense to present that content "in line" on your own website so the user doesn't have to click to another website.

If you are the person or company that created the video content it makes a lot of sense to put that video onto a website that will let others, like venues, fans, promoters or dance agencies share that content with their users on their own website.

Putting content into one location so it can be easily distributed to dozens or maybe hundreds of other sites makes a lot of sense for certain kinds of material.

Sharing content across multiple websites in this manner is the reason the internet was created in the first place.

More Than Video

Article19 PDF Sample

Above: and embedded version of this article as a pdf from Scribd

It's not just video and sound material that can be embedded. Scribd and other sites like it allow documents to be uploaded and shared, through embedding and other means, into any website, anywhere on the internet.

Press officers and communications folk know only too well that emailing press releases and other documents to hundreds of people can be a slow and painful process. How much easier would it be if you just emailed them a link to that beautifully presented PDF which they could, in turn, embed into their own website to provide more information to their users in a convenient way.

Photo sharing websites like Flickr do for photos what Vimeo do for video and Scribd do for documents. The media is different but the principles are the same.

Getting it Done

The actual process of embedding material from one website into another is basically the same although the presentation varies between sites and the type of media they use.

All you have to do is look for the button that says "embed", click it and you will be shown the code you need to copy and paste into your own website's content management system (CMS).

What's a CMS you ask? If you are running a website and you do not have the capability to update it yourself then it's time to get with the 21st century and get a new website. A CMS is the system you use to add or change information on your website.

If you use Moveabletype, Wordpress, Expression Engine or one of few dozen others out there you simple copy the code from the website with the embed-able content and paste it into your own system.

Blogging services like Tumblr make sharing content very simple with built in options to post video and images, and a lot more besides, from other websites.

We've illustrated that process below using Vimeo and Movabletype as examples. Whatever system you are using the process will be almost exactly the same.




Some websites allow their users to restrict the ways in which their content can be embedded. If this is the case then you will have to ask the owner of the material to allow embedding or simply link to that content from your own website.

Common Problems

By far the most common issue with embedding other peoples content into your own website is that content not fitting properly with your sites design.

Most websites use columns to display their content (we have a two column layout as you can see) and each of those columns has a set width. This column is 560 pixels wide so if we try and put an image or video that is wider than 560 pixels it will be cut off at the edge.

Placing an object into this column that is less than 560 pixels wide will, depending on how we do it, make the page look a little weird and out of balance.

Most media sharing sites do allow their embedding to be customised so the content can be tailored to fit into your website. Both Scribd and Vimeo allow you to alter how wide the element is before you copy the embed code. Check with the site you are using to see if they have similar features.

How tall an object is is usually not an issue because taller content will simply push other material down the the page and not cause any problems. If it does cause a problem then simply adjust the height of the embedded object until it fits properly.

If you don't know how wide the columns are on your website either try some trial and error or ask the person that built the site for the information.

Providing Options

If you are producing written, audio, video or photo material that, for whatever reason, you need to share with others then it does make a lot of sense to start using sharing websites for that content.

More often than not using these websites will save you a lot of time if you are dealing with a large number of venues, promoters or agencies as you try to get the word out about your work.

The only barrier you will face is getting people to learn how to actually use embedding.

[ Scribd ]
[ Flickr ]
[ Vimeo ]
[ Odeo ]
[ Tumblr ]

  • we did wonder! ;o)

  • hannahbuckley

    can you tell i read this after i did my choreography blog...

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