Extracting Thumbnails from a Video

Generate thumbnails at different times in a video using the Wistia API.

Once you have the direct URL of a video in Wistia, you can easily extract thumbnails from it and resize them.



The Wistia APIs were specifically built for videos in projects. We do not formally support using our APIs for audio files in projects, or audio or video episodes in Channels at this time. For the most reliable experience, we recommend continuing to use these for videos in projects.

Getting the Asset URL

In order to extract a thumbnail, we first need to get the video's URL.

To do this, use the Data API --
specifically the Medias#show endpoint.

The response to that request will include a list of assets for the video. You should probably take the URL for the HdMp4Video asset or one of the other higher resolution formats. But if the thumbnail you're making will ultimately be resized down, you can also use the IPhoneVideoFile or something of a more modest resolution.

Extracting the Thumbnail

Once we have our video URL, we just change the format to .jpg and append a video_still_time parameter.

So say we have this video URL:


And we want to get a thumbnail from 10 seconds into the video. We change the .bin to .jpg and append ?video_still_time=10 to it, like this:


That was easy!

NOTE - Extracting thumbnails like this isn't instaneous. In most cases, our system will have to pull the original video file out of storage to operate on it. When this happens, we will return a 202 Accepted response instead of the thumbnail image when you hit that URL, and in the background our servers will be extracting the thumbnail for you. This usually takes anywhere from 15 seconds to a few minutes depending on the size of the video file you're pulling the
thumbnail from.

So if you're displaying a new thumbnail image to users and want to make sure they don't see a blank image, it's best to fire off that request in advance so that by the time they request it, the image will already be ready!

Cropping and Resizing Thumbnails

Want to also resize the thumbnails you get back? You can just tack on some extra query string parameters and we'll resize it for you.

Say you want a 100x60 version of the example above. Just add in image_crop_resized=100x60 like this:


For the full list of image options see: Working with Images.