How To Change Your YouTube Video Thumbnail Image?

Graywolf teased us a bit in his video entry here, and below about a technique that can set your YouTube thumbnail image. Here’s his video.

So, does it work? I tested it out, after trying the math in my head. I’m probably wrong, but we’ll see.

It worked! See the black video overlay with the message?

This post from Crunchnotes, and the comments, are postulating that it is the center/middle of the video. That’s what I did above. However, YouTube says here that it’s not possible.

How do I change the default thumbnail for my video?
While we may add this feature in the future, there is currently no way to change the screen shot that we capture from your videos for thumbnails.

The other theory is that you can set something called a “poster frame” in your video editing tool. I did not try that, and a quick look around in my Sony Vegas DVD software package tutorial and I can’t find anything about how to do that.

20,000 points to anyone who can solve this mystery?

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Haven - April 13, 2007

It’s definitely the exact center frame of the video (at least for .avi files). I’ve uploaded a number of videos to YouTube, and each thumbnail is the frame at the exact middle point of the video, including the milliseconds. So if you upload a 3-minute long video (3:00:00), the thumbnail will be the frame that is at exactly 1:30:00. If you upload a 2:48:66 video, then the thumbnail will be the frame at 1:24:33. If you want to prove it to yourself, open a few of your uploaded videos in an editing program (e.g. Windows Movie Maker). Look at the video length, then divide it in half. The frame at that exact midpoint will be the thumbnail.

cinetech - May 11, 2007

I’ve added more info in my website:

How To Set Up The Right Poster Frame In YouTube

Don - January 8, 2008

Sometimes when I do a search in Google I see links for videos and sometimes the video thumbnail is there and sometimes it isn’t. Do you know what type of program or software you need to make your thumbnail display like that?

    kjkh;jh; - May 22, 2009

    try wondows movie maker

JST - April 17, 2009

Don, I'm guessing this has something to do with Google's own system and there's little you can do to influence it except make your YouTube video popular. Anyone know better?

Nicolás Casanova - July 6, 2009

I've just posted a 1 minute 20 seconds video and the middle thumbnail youtube picked is not the exact middle frame!!

At the end of the video there is a 5 second still inviting viewers to subscribe to my channel. I think youtube counted that still as 2 seconds and not 5, divided the total video time and picked that middle frame, not the real middle frame.

blsjfj - June 12, 2010

some people have a picture thats not in there video how do you do that?????

    Anonymos Guest - July 8, 2010

    They add a picture exact in the middle of the movie and the picture is only shown for extreme short time, its gone faster than the human eye can see it.

    i wanna know - December 29, 2011

    thats the same thing im asking!!! shane dawson and other bloggers do this!!

      POOPOO - June 16, 2012

      Silly, YouTube partners have the option to change the thumbnail to whatever

dhanesh mane - August 7, 2010

I have tried almost all options that are disused over net, But I dont think there is any ful proof way to have thumbnails of our choice. I am really working on it and will figure it out soon. if any one come ot know how to do it then pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee post it.

suzy - April 3, 2011

-We offer a service that guarantee's you have your YouTube video's thumbnail be just what you want it to be. Guaranteed!

@ewankennedy - March 29, 2012

Hi Jim,

Here's how you can do it. I succesfully switched a thumbnail image on my YouTube a few minutes ago.

I changed the timing of my slideshow so that the first slide is displayed for 10 seconds, converted to video and re-uploaded. The first frame was shown as one of the three options from which you can choose your thumbnail. It wasn't offered as an option first time round.

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