You need to use a video editor to craft videos to upload to each Stornaway island. See above for more details of some examples.
We provide links to 3 free video editors and 3 free stock footage services in our Add Video panel, to let you get started quickly with web-based tools.
Follow the links to these platforms and then download mp4 or mov files from them which you can upload to your islands in Stornaway.
Free web-based video editors
Make videos with these and export them as mp4 files for upload to Stornaway.
They all provide the ability to make videos using templates, stock footage, music and text. See which one has a template and interface that best suits your needs.
Adobe CC Express will let you make and download a video for free without a watermark and has a unique chapter-based interface, and asks you to sign in first.
Canva doesn’t require you to sign in, and has a lot of templates – but will add a watermark to your downloaded file if you’re not a paying user.
Veed doesn’t require you to sign in, and has great subtitling and text features, but will add a watermark if you’re not a paying user. A lot of our tutorial videos are currently made by Abbie using Veed.
First of all, what do the Pros use?
The top professional video editing applications for film, tv and video production are Adobe Premiere (and After Effects for graphics), Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro (FCP). We have lots of users editing Stornaway projects with these. They all have huge feature sets, steep learning curves, and are powerful beasts. Adobe and Avid have pro subscription prices and FCP has a one-off cost of $300. The free Davinci Resolve is coming up fast as a great free pro editor, since its long history as a color-grading application, but is still quite complicated to use in comparison to those listed below.
We also have an Adobe Premiere and After Effects panel in beta, which opens your Stornaway story map inside your editing application, letting you playtest your story while you edit. Let us know if you’d like to use it.
For everyone else…
We don’t recommend these 4 to most people – they’re over complicated for simple editing and beginners.
It’s much easier and more fun to do (and learn) the basics using these:
Desktop computer applications:
Mac: iMovie or Adobe Rush
PC: Adobe Rush or Vegas
Capcut (free – popular with TikTokers and YouTubers) or LumaTouch (more powerful at $30) or iMovie on iPhone and iPad ($5).
Web browser editors (like Stornaway):
Adobe CC Express, Canva or Veed.io
We link to the last 3 from our Upload panel in the app. We discuss their pros and cons a little bit in the section above, and recommend that you try them out for use with Stornaway.
What to choose and how to learn
There are amazing online tutorials on YouTube for all of them. Pick one from the list above that seems right for your device and budget, and try it out – or search on YouTube for tutorials to see if you like the look and feel of it.
Let us know what you prefer to use, and how you get on – or help other Stornaway users by sharing your experiences and expertise on social media.
For regular videos (not 360 or images), we recommend the following settings when you export from your video editor:
We have a maximum file size of 500MB, for various reasons. This gives 8.5 minutes of video at the recommended HD settings shown here. If you need to use longer files, see the help section below.
File type and codec:
We accept files that end with .mp4 and .mov, containing H264 and H265/HEVC codec. Export these from your video editor and use the settings below.
Advanced note: mp4 and mov (also known as Quicktime) files can contain lots of different types of video data, known as codecs. Examples of codecs include VP9 and ProRes which have different quality settings and vastly different file sizes. We accept H264 and H265 codecs and recommend the settings below.
Resolution / Frame Size:
1920 x 1080 recommended – i.e. 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high – the standard HD video size.
Advanced note: We also accept 4K/UHD files at 3840×2160, though we don’t recommend this, and lower resolutions like 1280 x 720 (at 4Mb/s) which is popular on the web particularly for smaller embedded videos to use less data.
For more details of these, see below.
30fps (frames per second) recommended.
It will accept whatever you give it, but 30fps works well on the web, and gives a good file size at a reasonable quality.
Advanced note: Using more frames per second demands proportionally higher bitrates and file sizes to keep the same quality, without any real visual benefit on the web by adding more frames per second. Some sports cameras record at 60fps or 50fps by default – to save data, try to make your video editor import them to your edit project at half the frame rate (30 or 25fps) without slowing them down or making them jittery.
Quality / Bitrate:
8 Mb/s recommended
Use this rate for 1920 x 1080 videos at 30fps.
which means a single clip can be approx 8.5 minutes at our 500MB limit.
AAC 16 bit Stereo 96kbps 44.1kHz recommended
Other audio settings are also acceptable.
Other resolutions and quality levels for regular 16:9 video:
4K/UHD – 3840×2160 at 14Mb/s (at ~30fps). We don’t recommend this, because even though 14Mb/s is our balance of quality vs size for streaming, many people are on internet connections that will struggle to stream at this bitrate – and most people cannot tell the difference between HD and 4K/UHD video on a computer screen. People use this only when using 360 video and only then if the subject matter needs extra visual quality.
1280 x 720 at 4Mb/s at ~30fps – this is popular on the web.
People use this if they are embedding their videos at a smaller-than-HD size, or want to use less data, or want a video to last longer than 8.5 minutes within the 500MB file size limit (see below).
640×360 at 1Mb/s at ~30fps – this is considered very small and low quality in the modern era – though not long ago it was what most web videos used to be!
People use this if they are embedding their videos for smaller mostly-mobile screens, or need to be streamed by people with very low speed internet connections, or want to use much less data, or are making an audio-only experience, or want a video to last a long time within the 500Mb limit, delivering on mobile only.
1920 x 1080 pixels resolution recommended – but any size is possible within the player’s 16:9 rectangular frame. Resize using the Adobe image converter linked below.
JPG at 8/12 or 75% quality recommended.
We also accept PNGs but they are larger and take a bit longer to load.
We do not accept webp images yet. Please convert them in your computer’s image software.
To convert image file types (eg png to jpg), crop, or change frame sizes:
On Mac: Open the file in Preview, make changes and choose File>Export.
On PC: Open the file in Photos, click the three-dot menu icon at the top right corner of Photos and choose Save As…, then in the new window click the “Save as type” dropdown menu and change the file format to jpg.
Stornaway.io creators can add 360º videos to their stories and link them up using on screen links to create interactive experiences that are even more immersive.
We support Equirectangular/Sphere video at 360º and 180º, and Cubemap. See settings below for how to activate this once your video is uploaded.
360 videos should be 2:1 width to height ratio, rather than regular 16:9.
The files that come out of a 360 camera like an Insta 360 are huge – both in their height & width resolution and in the amount of data they use.
For Stornaway, we need to stream these files to people all over the world with different internet connection speeds and data costs, so we need to be very efficient about the balance of quality and file size so that the files will stream and it won’t cost too much.
So we compared notes with other streamers and chose a balanced resolution and file size of 3840×1920 and a data rate quality of 14 megabits per second.
Stornaway currently has an upload limit of 500MB per clip (for all sorts of good reasons) which is about 5 minutes at this data rate of 14 megabits per second. 5 minutes is usually more than enough for an interactive clip – but if you want longer, there’s a way to join up longer clips described below.
The next question is, do you want to take clips direct from your camera app into Stornaway, or do you want to put them into a video editing app like Premiere or Final Cut first?
If you’re taking it out of the camera app into Stornaway, you should export it at the above settings of 3840×1920, and 14 megabits per second. If you want to take it into an editing app first, then you should export it from your camera app at the original resolution to keep the quality highest in your editing app and improve flexibility for later – and then when your edit is done, you should export from your editing app using the Stornaway settings of 3840×1920, 14 megabits per second.
If you’re planning to upload to YouTube or to take your files into our Unity plugin to make into an app, then you might want to think about making the bitrate higher in the files you upload – we have more about that in our Help section.
More about 360 in Stornaway
Your project can be entirely 360, or a mix of different media. Each Story Island is its own unique section. You can link from 360º to regular 16:9 video and stills in different story islands, and it will all flow on seamlessly. They all show with the Stornaway links you know and love.
To ensure your 360 video plays as intended, set the 180/360 projection within the video upload settings in your island sidebar.
In your project settings, tick the “use device orientation” button to enable those watching on iOS to trial out beta version of this device orientation feature.
Our recommended settings for HD give you approx 8.5 minutes per file within our 500MB limit.
Most interactive projects need choices much more frequently than that – every 3 minutes is recommended, to keep your audience engaged and patient – as they will be expecting an interaction.
But there may be times where you need to play a section of video that’s longer than that.
There are a couple of ways to do this:
- Use files with lower quality or resolution
- Connect up multiple islands without buttons between them
1) Use files with lower quality or resolution
To make files last longer within the 500MB file limit, you can upload lower quality files – either lower resolution or lower bitrate quality.
The bitrate is the amount of data stored per second. If you less data per second, that means you can fit more minutes inside the 500MB file size limit.
For 1920×1080 frame size videos, we recommend using 8Mb/s bitrate which means 8.5 minutes inside the 500MB limit – but you could use a lower bitrate to fit more minutes inside a 500MB video without losing much visual quality.
For example, for some videos with less detail or movement, you could use 5 or 6Mb/s without losing much visual quality, and fit 12+ minutes within the 500MB limit. Try different bitrates and see.
The resolution of the video is the size of the frame in pixels. If you’re embedding a video into a smaller box on a web page, and are not too worried about making your video stretch across a full HD screen at maximum HD quality, you could use a 1280 x 720 pixel frame size instead of 1920 x 1080 and use half the data without anybody knowing the difference.
1280 x 720 is often used on the web, particularly for videos that are embedded on pages in smaller frames. For 1280 x 720 videos we recommend 4Mb/s, which uses half as much data and so would last twice as long – so a 500MB file at 4Mb/s would last for 17 minutes instead of 8.5.
It wouldn’t look quite as good when stretched full screen to a 1920×1080 HD screen, but in most cases it’d be fine.
And instead of 4Mb/s you could also drop the quality further to use 2 or 3Mb/s bitrate if you wanted, to make them even longer (25-35 minutes) while sacrificing a bit of visual quality.
Finally, using 640 x 360 at 1Mb/s would give you 8 times the length – 68 minutes within the 500MB limit! As we said in the settings section above, 640 x 360 is now considered very small and low quality – though not long ago it was what most web videos used to be!
People use this if they are embedding their videos for smaller mostly-mobile screens, or need to be streamed by people with very low speed internet connections, or want to use much less data, or are making an audio-only experience, – but you can also do this if you want a video to last a long time within the 500Mb limit, delivering on mobile only.
2) Connect up multiple islands without buttons between them
You can export a video in multiple sections from your video editor.
Upload each section to a different island. Then link these islands up with a single link between them, and hide the buttons by ticking the Hide box in the Choice settings.
Each choice is set to Default and the button is hidden, so when the first video ends it will automatically continue on to playing the next section.
Please let us know if you have any questions
Videos should process quickly – they should take much less time to process than their playable duration.
Have you checked the Video Upload Queue in Settings for your project? All videos should have a Complete status soon after upload.
If they are stuck on Transcoding or Processing, the most likely cause of it not processing is that the file name is too long. There is a limit of 120 characters for the combined project name and file name in the URL of the streaming video file.
Try shortening the name of the file – let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if that doesn’t fix it, or if you’re having another problem.
The Preview player shows all the recent changes you’ve made to the map.
The Published version of the project is a snapshot of a moment in time. So if it’s not showing the latest changes, that’s because it’s showing a version of the project that you published previously. It won’t auto-update.
When you’ve made changes to your project after publishing once, you have to re-publish to make those changes visible in the Published version.