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Bumblebee Hummingbird Atthis heloisa

  • Oaxaca, Mexico

Related articles: Uploading Media; Tagging Media; Video Guidelines; Video Recording Tips; Rating Photos; Rating Audio.

We encourage you to rate your videos when you upload them to provide users an idea of what to expect in a given cut. You can also rate other videos for the same reason! When rating videos, please consider the following factors.

Visibility of the subject in frame

Does the bird fill a reasonable amount of the frame? Very wide shots where the bird is small are still useful but shouldn’t receive 4 or 5-star ratings. On the other hand, a video doesn’t have to be a frame-filling head shot to be 5 stars. Videos that show the full body of a bird as well as some habitat around them are among the most important for illustrating behavior.


Is the video stable and not shaky or jerky? If there is panning or following the bird, is the camera work smooth and steady? Lack of a tripod and jerky camera movements reduce video quality.

Sharpness and focus continuity

Is the video in sharp focus and is that focus maintained throughout? Soft edges or frequent dips in focus reduce a video’s rating.

Lighting and exposure

Is the lighting good (not backlit or harshly lit)? And is the exposure set correctly for the lighting (not too overexposed or underexposed)?

Composition and background

Is the composition of the video aesthetically pleasing? Is the background busy or otherwise distracting? Cluttered backgrounds and awkward composition can diminish the aesthetics of a video.


By contrast, some other factors should not factor into the quality rating:

Rarity of the subject and biological content

It’s always exciting to get a video of a rare bird or an unusual behavior, but when it comes to assigning a quality rating to a video, the important things to consider are the technical factors listed above and not the rarity of the bird in the video.


Longer recordings can be more valuable, but the length of a video shouldn’t affect the rating, unless it is extremely short (<5 seconds).


Overall, the five star ratings can be summed up as follows:

5 star: Excellent quality. High resolution with sharp focus throughout; stable image with good camera work; good lighting; bird is at least fairly large in the frame and not blocked

4 star: Very good quality. High resolution with good focus, stable image with good camera work, at least decent lighting, and bird reasonably large in frame. One or two of these factors may be less than ideal and prevent from achieving 5 stars.

3 star: Decent quality. High or medium resolution with mostly good focus; stable or slightly unstable image; could have some lapses in camera work. Lighting might be less than ideal; bird might be smaller in frame or somewhat obscured. Might have several factors that prevent it from being rated higher.

2 star: Poor quality. Could be a good image at low resolution, or high resolution but with significant flaws. Image might be unstable or poor camera work, lighting might be severely backlit or poorly exposed. Image might be good but the bird is extremely small in the frame or mostly obscured throughout. May show interesting behavior but be otherwise lower quality. Some may not be worth uploading.

1 star: Very poor quality. Very low resolution or very unstable image; bird may be hard to make out in the frame or have extremely bad exposure. In general should not be uploaded.


Quality rating examples

5 Star

4 Star

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2 Star

1 Star