How to Reverse Video Search (and Why It’s Helpful)

Have you ever come across an exciting video and wondered where it came from?

If so, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of ways to find a video source through reverse video searches.

This guide explains how to perform a reverse video search and why it’s useful.

What is reverse video search?

Many people use search engines to find information by searching for a particular word or phrase (aka “keywords”) until the search engine reveals a page, video, or another piece of content that matches the search.

A reverse search, however, involves entering the content (usually a video or an image) and finding each webpage where the content appears.

Thus, an RVS (reverse video search) consists of posting a video in the search engine and discovering the source of this video on the web.

How Reverse Video Search Works

Search engines, like Google, can interpret a video’s color and pixels and then find similar (or exact) videos on the web.

This will often reveal the original source of the video and any other instance of the video online.

However, this process is not always 100% accurate.

If a single pixel in the video has changed, it may not appear in search results.

Moreover, a large number of videos are uploaded to the web every day. This process therefore requires search engines to effectively index all videos to show up in search results.

Reasons to Use Reverse Video Search

There are several reasons why one might want to use reverse video search. Here are the most common use cases:

Find the source of a video

Most often, a reverse video search is used to find the source of a video.

Suppose you find a funny or interesting video online. You might want to know who posted the video, if other content (like a blog post) is related to the video, or if the owner is producing similar content.

A reverse video search, in this case, may be able to find the original source of the content.

Find duplicate videos

If you’re a video producer, you might want to use a reverse video search to see if anyone has copied or replayed any of your original videos.

A reverse video search can help you find illegitimate uses of your content, after which you can contact the owner and request credit or removal of the video.

Find the full version of a music video

Sometimes you may come across an interesting video clip and want to find the rest of the video.

A reverse video search might be able to interpret the video clip and find the full video online.

Find related content

A reverse video search can also help you discover video-related content.

It may surface similar videos or related content (like articles, web pages, or blog posts) that featured the video.

This can be a great way to find more interesting content.

How to do a reverse video search

There are many ways to perform a reverse video search. You often have to directly use the search engine or a third-party tool to download the image.

Here are the most effective methods to perform a reverse video search.

Run a reverse video search on Google

Google doesn’t offer a video-specific reverse search feature, so you’ll need to take a screenshot of the video and then use the reverse image search feature.

  • Find a distinctive frame in the video (i.e. a section that looks unique from other videos and is most likely to have the same video appear online).
  • Pause video.
  • Take a screenshot of the image you want to capture (Shift-Command-4 on Apple/Mac or Ctrl + PrtScn on Windows).
  • Save screenshot.
  • Go to Google Images and select the camera icon. Use the search by image option.
  • Download screenshot.
  • Google will return search results for your screenshot (if available).
Screenshot of the Google Images search engine, September 2022
Google Images search results for cat videosScreenshot of Google Images results for [domestic short-haired cat]Google, September 2022

Run a reverse video search using Berify

Berify.com is a reverse image and video search tool that combines your search with results from multiple search engines at once, including Google, Bing, Yandex, and others.

This can provide more comprehensive results than using a single search engine.

To note: This freemium tool allows you to register for free, but will then charge a monthly subscription fee. So, use the free version if you only need some research.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Take a screenshot of the video clip you want to search.
  • Visit Berify.com.
  • Upload the screenshot in the search box that says Browse and upload image here.
  • Click on Look for.
  • Berify will display all results that match your search.

Run a reverse video search using Shutterstock

Shutterstock hosts a massive online database of over a billion images and videos. It can also be used to perform reverse video search.

  • Take a screenshot of the video clip you want to search.
  • Visit Shutterstock.com.
  • Go to the search field. Click the camera icon (the Search by image function).
  • Download the screenshot. (To note: You can also specify if you are looking for certain vectors or if the illustrations in the video are computer-animated/generated).
  • Click on the magnifying glass.
  • Shutterstock will display images or videos similar to your search.

Run a reverse video search using TinEye

TinEye is one of the leading “search by image” tools that allows you to find other images and videos that match your search.

TinEye uses computer vision, image recognition and reverse image search technology.

  • Take a screenshot of the video clip you want to search or search the video by URL.
  • Visit TinEye.com.
  • Find the search field. Click it To download to upload your screenshot, or simply drag and drop your image.
  • Click on the magnifying glass.
  • TinEye will display all images or videos similar to your search.

Run a reverse video search on Bing

Like Google, Bing’s reverse video search feature works best with a video screenshot. Running a reverse video search on Bing is simple:

  • Take a screenshot of the video clip you want to search.
  • Open Bing’s Visual search page.
  • Upload the screenshot, drag and drop the screenshot or paste the image or video URL into the search box.
  • Bing will show results for “related content” that closely matches the image or video.

Performing a reverse image search is simple

Whether you’re trying to trace the source of a funny video or find similar content relevant to your interests, a reverse video search can be a useful tool for everyone.

Google, Bing, TinEye, and other tools offer reverse video search features that make it easy to find a video’s origins.

Remember that reverse video search can help you find duplicate content, which could help protect your digital assets. Or, it can help you find the original publisher of a video so you can give credit where it’s due.

Video is a great addition to many marketing campaigns, web content, social media strategies, etc. Use reverse video search to make finding, sourcing, and attributing videos more accessible than ever.

More resources:


Featured Image: Overearth/Shutterstock

Brandon D. James