Asset URLs

Working with direct file URLs for Wistia-hosted content

Sometimes a particular implementation calls for the use of a file URL, what we call a Direct Asset URL in Wistia. This is the raw video or image file ending in the relevant file extension like .mp4 or .png. Below are some techniques for obtaining these asset URLs with a few tips & tricks for using them.

An ’asset' refers to the any of the video or image files attached to media. Video files for streaming, thumbnail images, and storyboard images are all considered ’assets'.

Alert
We generally do not recommend using Asset URLs in most situations. Accessing the Wistia-hosted video file outside of our player means you won’t get any video stats, analytics, customizations, HLS playback delivery, or other features specific to the Wistia player. This activity does count towards your account’s bandwidth usage. If you do start using Asset URLs, be aware that bandwidth usage may increase significantly, which can incur additional usage costs for your account.

Getting an Asset URL

Asset URLs are obtained through the Wistia Data API, specifically the medias:show method.

The response to a medias:show request includes an array of assets, with their direct URLs and information on each asset’s size and type. The OriginalFile asset is the source media that was uploaded to Wistia, and all other assets are the streaming-optimized files delivered by the Wistia player during playback.

Note
The OriginalFile is used as a blueprint for encoding a set of streaming assets, and is never used for video streaming/playback in the Wistia player. Originals are typically much larger in size compared to our streaming-optimized assets, which means higher bandwidth usage when viewed or downloaded. Unless you’re looking for a backup of your original, we generally recommend against using the OriginalFile for embedding or downloading, as doing so can lead to high usage costs.

Alternatively, you can use this handy ’videolinkfor' tool. This makes it a little easier to get an asset URL without directly using our API, and it will give you a link for the 1280 x 720p asset URL, in .mp4 format.

Asset URL File Extensions

Asset URLs in Wistia take this form:

http://embed.wistia.com/deliveries/856970d9a4bcb9aab381a0bd9ab714f19d72c62f.bin

The .bin extension at the URL is for binary. Certain clients won’t accept URLs with an unfamiliar extension like this one. In this case, you can drop the .bin, add a slash, and append whatever filename and extension you like -– you’ll still get the underlying video asset.

So, say the URL above is an mp4 file and we need the URL to end in the proper file extension. Here’s how we would change it:

http://embed.wistia.com/deliveries/856970d9a4bcb9aab381a0bd9ab714f19d72c62f/my-file.mp4

Getting HLS assets

Wistia uses HLS playback by default - if you would like to retrieve HLS assets for your videos in m3u8 format, you’ll first want to grab an mp4 asset URL from your video using the Data API technique mentioned above. All m3u8 files in Wistia are generated dynamically from the mp4 files for that same media.

With an mp4 asset URL for your media, you can change the extension from .bin to .m3u8, and add the query parameter origin_v2=1 . This will return an HLS manifest file for that particular mp4.

Enabling Downloads from Asset URLs

Alert
Reminder that asset URL viewing and downloads will contribute to bandwidth usage in your account. Enabling downloads from direct assets creates the risk of a spike in bandwidth, and thereby increased bandwidth costs, but without any video stats to represent it.

If you are looking to allow downloads from asset URLs in your site or application, you can add the disposition=attachment parameter to the end of the URL, e.g.

https://embed-ssl.wistia.com/deliveries/061aacab996e0da67c3dd65883025aa3efa6043d.bin?disposition=attachment

This will automatically download the file instead of trying to play it natively in the browser.

HTTP vs HTTPS Asset URLs

If you have an asset that’s served over HTTP and you’d like to get it served over HTTPS instead, you’ll need to change the subdomain from embed to embed-ssl. We use different subdomains for SSL and non-SSL assets because they’re sometimes served through different CDNs for performance reasons.

Thumbnails & Image Assets

Using the Data API or oEmbed endpoint, you can obtain the thumbnail URL for your video, and then manipulate it. You can request images from a specific time in your video, resize them, even crop them!

For more details, We have a dedicated guide all about working with images!