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Setting a poster frame

From: HTML5: Video and Audio in Depth

Video: Setting a poster frame

Another option we can use is a poster image or a poster frame, which is the image that shows in the place of the video before the video has started. Here we have 4 versions of the same video. In the first one the video tag doesn't have a poster and it's not being preloaded. So what we see here is just blank. It doesn't have any information about the video. The second one is a video tag that doesn't have a poster and it is preloading. So what we're seeing is the first frame of the video. As you can see, the first frame isn't always the best representation of the video as a whole.

Setting a poster frame

Another option we can use is a poster image or a poster frame, which is the image that shows in the place of the video before the video has started. Here we have 4 versions of the same video. In the first one the video tag doesn't have a poster and it's not being preloaded. So what we see here is just blank. It doesn't have any information about the video. The second one is a video tag that doesn't have a poster and it is preloading. So what we're seeing is the first frame of the video. As you can see, the first frame isn't always the best representation of the video as a whole.

It is often just a blank- frame or black-frame like here. So with the poster image, we can select specific image that we think best represents what the video is for our users and display that as a placeholder for the video. If we scroll down we can see a version of that, and we can see that it looks much nicer. We will see an actual image of the video. So this works in this case with both preloading and not preloading, as you can see in the versions 3 and 4. To set a poster-image, first we need to select our image. The image can be either a GIF, JPEG or PNG, just like a normal HTML image.

As for the image content, it should be something that gives the user an idea of what the video is. It often means selecting a specific frame of the video or even designing a title image. For this one I just grabbed a frame from later on in the video. If we scroll ahead, in this vide -- (Music playing) You can see I just grabbed it from right around here. I used QuickTime Pro on the Mac to pull out the frame, but if you have any kind of video editing software you should be able to pull a frame from the video easily enough. All right, so let's go to the code and add a poster frame.

So now we are in the 2-06 folder, if you're following along in exercise files, and if you have been following along in the same file, it actually reverted to a version of our video tag that now we're back to the podcast video file and we don't have the autoplay attribute in here and we don't have the loop attribute. So if you have either of those still, you can remove those. Now, to add a poster image, we just add the poster attribute and then set that to our image source, which in this case is here at our video assets folder and podcast dash-poster.jpg All right, so if we save that and go over to Firefox and go to our podcast page, reload it, you see now we have our poster image for our podcast and it looks much nicer than the black frame that we had there before.

For the most part, browsers support the poster attribute pretty consistently. There is an issue with Safari where if you preload the video, Safari will show the first frame of the video as soon as it's available. Actually, I'm going to go pull up that same demo page in Safari and if we scroll down to the last 2 versions, you can see in the first one we have a poster and it's not preloading and in the last one we have a version that has a poster and it's preloading and what we're seeing is the first frame of the video. So other browsers will continue to show the poster image until the user clicks play and I think that's what we'd all expect to happen.

So hopefully Safari will change it soon so we'll still see the poster in this case. If you're preloading the video and you want to get around this issue, you could splice the poster image into the first frame of the video and then when Safari shows the first frame, it'll be the poster image. That gets a little bit more complicated though, especially if you're not the one making the video. But otherwise the poster will show first in most cases. Now that you know how to do a poster, I would recommend using it whenever possible, because it looks much nicer and it can really help your users understand what the video is before playing it.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for HTML5: Video and Audio in Depth
HTML5: Video and Audio in Depth

37 video lessons · 14744 viewers

Steve Heffernan
Author

 
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  1. 1m 24s
    1. Welcome
      42s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
  2. 15m 18s
    1. Understanding HTML5 video and audio
      4m 46s
    2. The state of HTML5 video and audio
      4m 29s
    3. Understanding the format war
      3m 53s
    4. Configuring your server to deliver HTML5 media formats
      2m 10s
  3. 32m 36s
    1. Using the video and audio tags
      5m 34s
    2. Using multiple sources for browser compatibility
      5m 53s
    3. Preloading
      4m 16s
    4. Autoplaying
      2m 2s
    5. Looping
      5m 11s
    6. Setting a poster frame
      3m 43s
    7. Setting the video width and height
      3m 40s
    8. Displaying subtitles and captions
      2m 17s
  4. 12m 40s
    1. Falling back to Flash
      4m 4s
    2. Falling back to download links
      6m 21s
    3. Using an embed code builder
      2m 15s
  5. 22m 17s
    1. Understanding HTML5 video formats
      5m 10s
    2. Understanding HTML5 audio formats
      2m 57s
    3. Encoding MP4/H.264 video with HandBrake
      3m 13s
    4. Encoding Ogg, Theora, and WebM with Firefogg
      3m 18s
    5. Encoding audio formats with VLC
      5m 54s
    6. Automating video and audio encoding
      1m 45s
  6. 34m 59s
    1. Setting up the JavaScript
      4m 39s
    2. Creating Play and Pause buttons
      7m 52s
    3. Creating a Play Progress bar
      5m 49s
    4. Creating a Load Progress bar
      9m 29s
    5. Creating a Current Time and Duration display
      7m 10s
  7. 4m 37s
    1. Overview of known issues
      35s
    2. Autobuffer or preload?
      56s
    3. Load progress in Firefox 3.6
      41s
    4. Android 2.0 issues
      1m 5s
    5. iOS 3 issues
      1m 20s
  8. 2m 8s
    1. Flight of the Navigator
      50s
    2. ZEN Audio Player by simurai
      34s
    3. The Wilderness Downtown by Google and Arcade Fire
      44s
  9. 1m 40s
    1. Further exploration
      1m 40s

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