posted Jul 16, 2013, 8:44 AM by   [ updated Jul 16, 2013, 8:46 AM ]
You've seen them. Maybe you've been a victim yourself. I'm referring to that dreaded freeze frame you see on many campaign videos that look like this:









Or this:

Other times the frame just looks blurry or blah. But they always look bad.

The technical term for the frame is “video thumbnail,” though they are sometimes referred to as “poster frames” or “preview images.” The good news is that with some guidance, you no longer have to get stuck with the images Vimeo or YouTube chose for you. Here’s how to create them to your specifications:


Of the two video hosting services, Vimeo offers the best selection process. Go to your video's page and click on the "Settings" button that appears under the video. From there, scroll down to "Thumbnails," where you will find three options for picking an appealing image:

  • Click the "Choose" icon to scroll through the entirety of your video and select a specific frame. When you find the image you like, click it to select it and then click "Use this frame."
  • Vimeo will generate eight thumbnails for you when you click the "Random" icon. If you don't see anything you like, just click "See more options," and eight more images will be generated. Once you find the frame you like, click "Use this thumbnail."
  • If you want to upload your own thumbnail image, click on the "Upload" icon. This will allow you to chose a JPG, GIF, or PNG file from your computer. (Note: Vimeo recommends uploading an image with the same resolution as your video.)


YouTube does not offer as expansive a selection process. Go to your “My Videos” page, find "Edit Video Info" and click on it. There, you will be allowed to choose from three images that YouTube provides for you. Hopefully, you'll find one you like.

If you're a YouTube Partner, however, you have more options. Partners can click on the button called “Upload your own Thumbnail.” Thumbnail size specifications are 1280 x 720 pixels. Note: changing the thumbnail image could take up to six hours to reflect the updated selection.

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