These help notes are provided to assist you in viewing and uploading content and to inform you about certain aspects of the system, such as the use of Cookies.

Should you encounter problems with the application, please contact InsrvConnect,
email: , telephone +44 (0) 29 208 74487.

These notes are not meant to be comprehensive. A comprehensive user manual, Helix Media Library User Guide, can be found at:
Welsh Language

A Welsh language version of the system will be available in 2013 with the release of Helix Media Library 2.5.


The use of cookies in this application is restricted to Essential Cookies (first party cookies) as mentioned in

Offensive Content

Please report any content which appears contrary to University IT Regulations by using the reporting facility provided by the Helix application (you need to be a University account holder to use this facility), or contact InsrvConnect, email: , telephone +44 (0) 29 208 74487.

If using the Helix facility to report offensive content, comments or profile pictures, do not use FireFox on any platform, or Internet Explorer running on VISTA. The facility will not work.

Current solution: Use another browser. The vendor informs us that the problem will be fixed in version 2.5.

All reports of offensive content, profile pictures or comments are logged on the system console, which is accessible by the System Administrator. The Helix system alerts the System Administrator by email of a report of offensive content but does not send an email to warn of offensive comments or profile pictures.

Current solution: Send an email to InsrvConnect if the issue is urgent.


Screen Readers
Please note that Helix is incompatible with versions of Jaws lower than version 12.

Closed Captions
Helix allows subtitles but the facility does not work with Mobile Devices.

Current solution: Use a PC or MAC to view closed captions.

Dealing with Poor Viewing Performance

Should the video appear shaky, or there is excessive buffering, this can sometimes be overcome by using the quality button and selecting Low instead of High.

Please note that this only applies when you are accessing the Helix site directly. It does not apply to embedded code.

Using the Application

Uploading Video

Content Browsing
Unsuccessful Uploads
Chapter Points
Videos Don't Load
Editing Media
Mobile Access

Uploading Videos:

When uploading videos, please note that they should contain subtitles. Consult the user guide for information on how to create captions files.

Descriptions and Transcripts
All video clips require associated long description attributes and/or transcripts.

There is a maximum of 1000 characters in the Description box but associated files (eg Word documents) can be used.

If you have not done so already, log in using your user Cardiff University username and password.

If the option of uploading videos is available to you as a user of the system, click on the "Upload" button on the menu bar.

Each School or Division has at least two content areas to load media: a public area eg Chemistry (which is open to all); and a members only area eg Chemistry - Students, Staff and Guests (which requires you to enter a Cardiff University username and password to view).

There are 4 steps to follow.

STEP 1. Details

Add the video's metadata, including Title, Category, Description, Your Contributor Name, and E-mail Address (please use your full email address).

Click Save.

STEP 2. Choose file

Upload your video file. The maximum recommended file size is 500Mb but the size of the file you are able to upload depends on the settings within the system.

The Media Library will let you upload videos in the following formats: .mov, .avi, .wmv, .flv, .mpg, .mp4, .mp3, .wav, .wma

If you try to upload a video in one of the above formats but cannot see the file when browsing to it, it is likely that the Media Library has not been enabled to allow that type of file to be uploaded.

Upon upload a progression bar will show the percentage of the file that has been uploaded.

STEP 3. Thumbnails

Once the whole file has been uploaded the system will begin to extract the thumbnails from the video. Please wait for the thumbnails to appear on the page - a "Loading Thumbnails" icon will appear in the interim.

If the extraction of thumbnails is successful, eight random thumbnails will appear on the page.

You will be given the option of uploading your own thumbnails or alternatively selecting the default thumbnail for the Category you have uploaded your file into.

Images uploaded for thumbnails must be 320W X 204H and the format must be .jpg.

Select a thumbnail or accept any default.

Click Next

STEP 4. Associated and Captions files

Upload your captions file.

Allowed file extensions: *.smi,*.rt,*.ssf,*.srt,*.ttxt,*.sub,*.txt,*.xml

Upload any associated files - the following extensions are allowed:

*.doc;*.docx;*.ppt;*.pptx;*.xls;*.xlsx;*.pdf;*.swf;*.jpg;*.gif;*.htm;*.txt;* .zip;*.mp3

When finished, use the Upload File button and then press Next, or, if no files have been uploaded, just press Next.

Done !

Your video has now been uploaded to the system.

You will receive an e-mail reporting the success or failure of the upload. If successful, you will also be informed of the link to your video.


Please be patient while waiting to receive any notification, as the system may have a queue of files that it is working on and may need to encode the file in different formats or at different quality levels depending on the set up of your system.

Content Browsing:

Once you have logged into the system to view videos in a certain category, click on the category name you desire on the left hand side menu. To view a specific video either click on the video thumbnail or on the video title.

The Video Window will be displayed. This has various user options dependent on the way your system has been configured. The option to flick from High to Low Quality Video is done by selecting either High or Low on the drop down menu.

Clicking on the "Full Screen" Option, where available, makes the video viewer expand to fill the page. Return to the normal size by pressing on the "Esc" key on your keyboard.

Embed Code can also be copied from the Video Window so that you may embed your video in a web page.

You can use the search facility to allow you to search the title or tag text of any video. If you click on the search button without typing anything in the box, you can refine your search by searching just one category, or videos from a certain contributor.

Unsuccessful Uploads:

On rare occasions some files will not be encoded by the system and you will be notified by email.

This can be for a variety of reasons, but mainly to do with the audio and video codecs contained in your video file not being recognised by the system's encoder.


Playlists allow you to create a list of your favourite clips and have them display at the bottom of your screen. You can have as many clips in a playlist as you want, and you are able to scroll left and right when the playlist gets full to view all the items. You can also create several playlists to host different types of media according to your needs. Enable the playlist in the My Account area of the Helix Media Library, and add content to the playlists on the playback page when you view clips.

Chapter Points:

Create Chapter Points for clips that are long and would benefit from segmentation to draw attention to particular points of interest. Chapter Points can be added and modified by the contributor of the clip and by a Helix Media Library administrator. Chapter points cannot be added to audio clips. When chapter points are added to a clip, the original is not modified at all. Chapter points can be added and deleted leaving the uploaded clip in its original state.

Media Fails to load:

If when clicking on a clip you only see the URL, embed code, video information and a white space where the video is meant to be, it might mean that you do not have RealPlayer installed or there is an issue with it. Please make sure that you have the latest version downloaded from Alternatively, you can change the playback method by clicking on Preferences and changing the output format to Flash. Click Save to save the changes and try your clip again.

Editing Media:

If you wish to make changes to media that you have already uploaded, it can be done by clicking on Upload and then on My Media. This will list all the media that you have uploaded, and you will be able to make changes to items such as the title and description, as well as add tags, or even skip past the first page and change the thumbnail that the video uses. If you would prefer to use a thumbnail other than the ones shown, you can select Custom and then chose a different thumbnail if you have created one that you want to use.

Mobile Access

You can access the Helix Media Library from an iPhone, Android and iPad.

When you visit the site you will be presented with the clips that can be viewed by unauthenticated users. If guest access has been disabled, you will need to log in using the same credentials as you would normally when accessing the Media Library from a desktop computer.

You will see the same layout as you would on a PC when accessing the site from an iPad. There are some differences. For example, you won’t be able to see the upload clips, or create or view playlists as Flash is unsupported on iPad.

Additional Notes on Mobile Devices

1. For iPad, please ensure that 'Accept Cookies' is enabled in the settings for Safari.

2. Helix is not guaranteed to work with all makes of Android phones.

Current solution: Use a PC or MAC to view content.

3. Videos may not be viewable on some mobile devices, particularly Android devices, when off-campus.

Current solution: Use a PC or MAC to view content.

4. Mobile devices do not offer upload facilities.

Current solution: Use a PC or MAC to upload content.

5. The closed captions facility does not work with Mobile Devices.

Current solution: Use a PC or MAC to view closed captions.