How to Watermark a Video: The Benefits of Using a Watermark

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Uploading a video to the internet is one way to leave your mark on the world — but if you don’t  add watermarks, you might not get credit for your hard work. Watermarking isn’t just a good branding opportunity; it also makes it harder for others to duplicate your media and claim it as their own. Here’s why watermarks are important and how to make them yourself.

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What is a watermark?

A watermark is a type of logo, pattern, or symbol printed onto a work — most often a photo or video — to denote who made it and who owns it. Watermarks are frequently transparent and superimposed onto an image, text document, or video. One of the most famous applications of watermarks is on US paper currency, which help prevent counterfeits. In media, you can see watermarks everywhere from stock photo archives, where the watermark is large and imposing to prevent any use of the photo, to Youtube videos, where the mark is often small and off to the side to remind viewers of the channel they’re watching.

What is the purpose of a watermark?

Watermarking your work has a number of benefits, from brand recognition to copyright protection.

  • It protects against theft. An identifying symbol or text watermark on your content can protect your video online by letting people know who the original owner or creator is. While watermarking isn’t a completely foolproof way to label your videos (some software allows users to remove watermarks from content), it can provide some protection against those looking to rip off media that isn’t their own.
  • It can act as a brand. If your video goes viral or appears across other media platforms, a watermark is an efficient way to spread your brand. A video watermarked with your website or social media handle can quickly get the word out about your content and give viewers a source to investigate further. The right software will let you customize your watermark to accurately reflect your brand.
  • It provides legitimacy. A watermark can indicate the authenticity of an important document or work. For instance, a watermark embedded into a currency note means that the money isn’t counterfeit. Likewise, you’d probably judge a video clip watermarked with the logo of a major news outlet differently than one watermarked with a TikTok handle.

What is a watermark used for?

You can find watermarks across a variety of documents, images, and other forms of media.

  • Official documents. Watermarks appear on official documents and papers such as passports, currency, and stamps. These watermarks help identify legitimate papers and protect against counterfeiting.
  • Scripts. You can often find watermarks printed across movie and television scripts. These watermarks are usually personalized with the name of each person who possesses the document, which provides extra protection against leaks (as the watermark will prove the source of the content).
  • Photography. Professional photographers will often add an image watermark to their photographs to brand their work and prevent intellectual property theft. If you come across your photos in another publication, a watermark can help prove the images belong to you.
  • Video. Video creators will add watermarks to their content, usually in an unobtrusive spot like the bottom right-hand corner. This typically acts as a branding tool for creators that gives viewers one more place to see who is making the video, but also prevents others from downloading it and passing it off as their own.

How to watermark your videos using Descript

Adding watermarks to your videos is a smart way to label and market your work. The Descript video editor makes it easy to add a watermark image to your video. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Design your watermark. Figure out the type of watermark you want to create, whether it’s your name, social media handle, website URL, or another identifying symbol like a brand logo. You can also use any design software for creating watermarks or images, such as a logo maker. Make sure your chosen image isn’t a copy of an existing watermark or logo and remember to save your watermarks somewhere that’s easy for you to find.
  2. Add your watermark to your video. Open your project in the Descript video editor, then locate the saved file with your watermark. Drag and drop the watermark image into the timeline. Hover your mouse over the insert until the two outfacing arrows appear, then click and drag the boundaries of your image to stretch it across the entire script track. That way, your image will appear throughout the duration of the video.
  3. Edit your watermark. To make your watermark less obtrusive, you can use Descript’s video editing tools to adjust the opacity (aka transparency) of the image. You can adjust the size and positioning of the watermark photo on the video itself by clicking and dragging the boundaries of the added image.
  4. Save your content. Save and export your video. Descript basic members will also see Descript’s watermark in the bottom right-hand corner of their finished video; those who upgrade to a paid subscription or editor account will be able to export their work without the watermark.

Final thoughts

Watermarking can help provide authenticity, spread your brand, and protect your work. In fact, section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act makes it illegal to remove watermarks from original property, and perpetrators could receive heavy fines if found in violation. Watermarking is an effective and easy way to safeguard your art, so it’s worth the time you invest watermarking your videos.

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