Workaround for video thumbnail issue

There are a number of posts in both the Classic and Omeka S forums about not being able to generate video thumbnails - instead you just get the grey fallback video icon, which is both visually unappealing, and leaves users uncertain about how to view the video. This is apparently an issue of needing ffmpeg installed on the server, which our hosting service had only limited ability to offer, so I came up with a (admittedly clunky and not very sophisticated) workaround for this.

  1. Take a screenshot of the video, then upload that image as another file for the video item. Make the screenshot the first file in the list, so it shows up for the item preview. Now the thumbnail for the entire item will be that screenshot.
  2. Replace the fallback video icon with one that guides the user to interact with it. For example, ours looks like this:

To do this, create or download an image, then save it as fallback-video.png. Navigate to application/views/scripts/images within your theme, and replace the default fallback video image with your new one. Save, etc.

Step 2 only has to be done once, of course - then it’s just repeating step one for each video in your collection. You could also skip step 1 and just create a more user-friendly fallback video image for all videos, but I like having custom preview images for each video.

Anyway, thought others might find this a quick fix for this annoying issue.


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