Create Video Thumbnails for Free

Figured I’d share my results in what I’ve found by researching how to get video thumbnails. I tried MovieSnapshot but the JPGs it created were zero bytes; thus they were useless. Some people have been able to use the command line with VideoLan to create thumbnails, and someone else was able to create video thumbnails with ASP and FFmpeg. However I really didn’t feel like messing with the command line. I found a program called ThumbCell Creator but the reviews weren’t very good for it, so I didn’t bother with it.

After some more searching I found a program called Livid Batch Export Utility and it apparently will do a lot of batch conversions for video, including images. However the thumbnail export is buggy in verison 1.2 and I had to figure out how to get around those bugs. So here are my findings:

Livid Batch Export Utility 1.2 Thumbnail Export Workaround

  1. Backup your original videos (the program will overwrite files without warning you)
  2. Pick your source folder (the videos to be converted)
  3. Pick your destination folder (where you want the thumbnails, must be different than the source folder)
  4. At the bottom select Open (this is where you select the export format)
  5. Pick BMP (Picture will not work, not sure why)
  6. Now you can go back up to Settings (here you can change the color depth and quality)
  7. Now click Start
  8. Go into the destination folder, you will notice the files have the same video file extension, so you will have to rename each file with a .bmp manually or do so with a app that will rename files in a batch. I like to use a free program called Rename Master. Rename Master will rename a batch of files in a folder very fast (handy app to have). You can use it to change the extensions of your files, but remember to rename the destination folder’s files (they may confuse you off since they have the same names as the videos)
  9. So now that you have all your files renamed, you might want to convert them to a web format like GIF, PNG or JPG.
  10. You can either use Photoshop to convert files by using an Action or use a free program like Faststone Photo Resizer

NOTE: The bitmaps created by Livid Batch Export Utility will be the same size as the original video and are of the first frame.

Its a pain to have to go through all these steps but it’s the only free and fast way I know how to do this. Otherwise you would have to do a screenshot for each one and crop just the video.

And something else I found out, doing a screenshot in Windows Media Player will result in it being black, however there is a way to fix that.


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