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Turn any video frame into a thumbnail

Zach Goodman
August 16, 2012 by Zach Goodman Alum

Greetings, Vimeo denizens. Here’s a quick thumbnail update for those of you with opposable thumbs:

We just introduced a new feature that enables you to take any frame from your video and turn it into a thumbnail (i.e., your video’s preview image, visible before your vid starts playing). Our new thumbnail chooser allows you to scroll through the entire length of your video to find its sweet spot.

This means you are no longer at the mercy of our auto-generated thumbnails, and your video need not be represented by someone’s face in mid-expression, eyes half-closed and mouth half-open like a narcoleptic’s driver’s license photo.

To turn any video frame into a thumbnail, all you need to do is:

  1. Visit your video’s Settings page.
    1. In the Thumbnails section, click the “Choose” icon
    2. Find the chillest frame in your video and click “Use This Frame.”

And now you’re thumbnailin’.


NLC Plus

Very nice. It's been up for a few days now and immediately I singled out the thumb I wanted. Thanks.


Love this! Next lets get customizable Album thumbs. You guys rock

Remyyy Plus

As we say in (bad) french : "Ca le fait grave ! "


This is really really useful, one of the features I've been waiting for. Thanks very much!

Kathaperumal Parimanan

A fantastic feature. Can we showcase all of our thumbnails created by this method in Vimeo? Thank you in advance

Exhibit-it Plus

When will there be an API for setting the thumbnail (ie. vimeo.videos.setThumbnailframe)? Developers need some way to set a specific time / frame for the thumbnail…

This new feature caused the default thumbnail to no longer be the starting frame. There really really really needs to be Advanced API method for developers to set the thumbnail. :)

Can you please pass this feature API request on to the powers to be?

Thanks in advance

Fubelly PRO

This would be *extremely* useful. API support for setting thumbnails please!

Simon Ellis Plus

I don't know if it's just me but I don't seem able to capture a specific frame accurately. Whatever I select, it seems to choose a different frame. Depending on the file, sometimes it chooses one very close to what I have paused on, but sometimes it chooses one up to four seconds later in the film.

I have tried switching between SD and HD in the preview window, tried waiting for the buffering to complete, tried capturing the frame as it plays rather than pausing it, but nothing changes.

I would also like to know, as somebody else asked, if the selected thumbnail is HD or not, because how some users get incredibly sharp thumbnails is still a mystery to me. Bespoke HD jpegs uploaded at the same size as the video are either crunched into lower resolution, flanked by black pillarboxing on the left and right sides, or both.

As bloody brilliant as Vimeo is, thumbnailing is the only apsect that has never been an exact science :(

Lester Gantan

I changed my thumbnail successfully around 6 hours ago but when I want to post a video link to Facebook, the old thumbnail still appears. How long does it take for new thumbnails to appear in links to other sites?

Ricochet Partners PRO

Could someone from Vimeo please comment on the fact that this feature does not work properly? See Mike's and Simon's comments.
Is it a fixed offset from the frame you are trying to choose or is it just a random thing? In my opinion it would be a sign of respect if you would at least address the issue.

Ritmo Visual Filmes Plus

Ron Spencer , i make your words mine ,
Facebook does not catch the updated informations and thunbnail , i need to share my film , and it its not working.

Rhythm Reference PRO

Is there anyway to set a default frame? I have 500 videos and I want the thumbnail to be the 1st frame. Hoping I don't have to choose it on each video independently.


I have the same question as Lester.

I changed the thumbnail and renamed the video, however, when I share the link to social media, the old name and auto-generated thumbnail appears.

Anything I can try to make the new name and thumbnail appear?

I have logged out and back in from my Vimeo and Facebook profile and tried from another computer.

Tania Ku Plus

same problem here, but i can't find a solution anywhere despite the longevity of this thread life. can a vimeo staff member please reply?

Julia Patey

I am experiencing the same problem... Would be great to get the answer from someone.

Samuel G. Anderson Plus

Answer us please. When I paste my link to FB or wherever it just shows the old default thumbnail. This is not good because viewers are more likely to not click and watch a video that has a lame looking thumbnail link.


what would be helpful is if you could adjust where the fram captures within the video frame. in a vertical video, i may not want the center of the frame only, i may want the top of the frame and i may not feel like going to software on my computer to make the proper edit. but great upgrade otherwise

DeafCOG Plus

Hello guys - I am failry new to Vimeo. Can I use two thumbnails on my video frame. One from the start to show the company logo and the end bit showing the lottery fund logo. Many thanks X

Peter Hardy Plus

Hi, Any suggestions on how to change the default preview image for my Vimeo clip? Vimeo selects a random frame which doesn't change when I change the thumbnail.

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