Ever had a video shared with you with zero explanation of its source or context? It can be frustrating, especially when you want to know more about it.
Thankfully, you don’t need to remain ignorant—reverse video searches make it easy to find the original video to learn more about what’s going on.
So in this guide, I’m breaking down the easiest ways to do one. You’ll learn three fast methods, plus how to reverse video search on mobile.
What’s the Point of Reverse Video Searching?
We already covered one reason for reverse video searching: to get more context about a video shared with you without a source. But there are three more uses worth learning about:
Finding Copied Videos
If you create a lot of video content, you’ll inevitably see it shared across the web—often without permission. Video searching lets you find these copies and request credit (or a takedown) from the culprit.
Discovering Related Content
Imagine you’re searching for videos of a specific historical event.
By reverse-searching one video, you can reveal countless others of the same incident. You’ll then have more context to fuel your research or curiosity
Find a Video’s Full Version
People love to post cut clips of videos as content these days. Instead of asking them for the full version, reverse-search to find it instantly.
How to Do a Reverse Video Search
Without further ado, here’s how to do a reverse search with video. We’ll start with desktop, then move to mobile.
1. Screenshot, Then Image-Search the Screencap with Search Engines
No search engine offers direct video search, but you can use their powerful image searching to the same effect. Here’s how:
- Find a notable frame of the video (something that stands out from other videos and will show up in search)
- Pause the clip
- Screenshot the frame (Use the “PrtScn” button on Windows and Command + Shift + 4 on macOS)
- Go to Google Images
- Click on the “Search by Image” button and upload your screenshot
- Sift through the results for the original video
2. Use Berify
Berify is a reverse image search specifically designed to find stolen videos. It’s more comprehensive than a simple image search since it aggregates multiple search engines into a single query.
It’s simple to use—similar to Google Images and TinEye:
- Screenshot a clip from your video
- Go to Berify and upload your image
- Search and analyze the results for your video
You’ll need to sign up for a free account before searching. Aside from being more powerful than standard image searches, Berify lets you analyze multiple images simultaneously.
3. Image-Search a Screencap with TinEye
TinEye is the most powerful reverse image search engines I’ve ever seen. Whenever I need to identify an image—no matter how obscure—TinEye’s there to find it.
Of course, that powerful engine makes it easy to find videos. Here’s how to use it (the process is similar to the steps above):
- Go to TinEye’s website
- Upload a screenshot of the video you’re looking for and search
- Filter by “Oldest”
- Analyze the results
TinEye also offers a tracking feature that alerts you each time an image appears across the web. This is extraordinarily useful for preserving your intellectual property (a main application of reverse video searching).
TinEye is also a privacy champ and doesn’t save your search images.
Bonus: How to Reverse Video Search on Mobile
If you’re on mobile, you can reverse search videos similar to the techniques above. Here’s an easy example:
- Download the Google App
- Find a unique frame of the video you’re reverse-searching
- Pause and screenshot or photograph the frame
- Uploading to Google Lens
- Analyze the results
If this doesn’t work, you can access TinEye’s mobile site and follow the same steps listed above.
Reverse Video-Searching is Simple
Once upon a time, finding the original source of a video was hard. You can ask whoever shared it where they got it or search-related terms on Google with your fingers crossed.
But thanks to the techniques above, it’s a piece of cake now. My preferred technique is using TinEye because of its raw power, but the other options are effective too.
So now that you know how to do it, get out there and reverse video search!