Add a Thumbnail to Kaltura Media


Kaltura allows media owners (and co-editors) to change a video's thumbnail that displays before the video is played, or that shows when the video is seen in "My Media" or in a Media Gallery. Your thumbnail can make your video more easily recognizable and look a little nicer. You have a few options on how to replace it. 

Critical Concepts

What's a Thumbnail?

In this context, a thumbnail is the small still image that's on your video before you play it. It's a way to kind of visually represent your video with a still image. Kaltura auto-generates a thumbnail based on a frame a few seconds into your video, but, as you've probably encountered, a random frame from your video may not always be useful, flattering, or meaningful.

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to change it, but you'd be surprised how the right still image can communicate more about the content of your video than its title or description can. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Steps to Take

Thumbnails can be added in either Canvas or MediaSpace. Follow the first two steps depending on where you want to perform the action. 

In CanvasIn MediaSpace
  1. Log into Canvas.
    1. Go to
    2. Enter your active directory credentials.
  2. Within Canvas, click My Media in the left navigation.
  1. Log into MediaSpace.
    1. Go to
    2. Click the profile icon at the top right of the page and select Login.
    3. Enter your active directory credentials.
  2. Click the profile icon again and select My Media.
  1. Locate the video in the list and click the pencil icon on the right side of its row.
  2. Click on the Thumbnails tab below the video preview.
  3. Add your thumbnail by clicking either Upload Thumbnail, Capture, or Auto-Generate. Read below to see more information on each option.

A screenshot of the "thumbnails" tab on the Kaltura "edit page."

Thumbnail Replacement Options

Upload thumbnail allows you to upload your own image. This offers you the most control of what users will see when they see your video, though you'll need to create the image yourself. Check out our tutorial on using PowerPoint to create a thumbnail if it's helpful.

Capture allows you to select whatever frame is visible within the player at the top of the page. Play or advance your video to whatever point you want, pause, and then click the "Capture" button to select that frame as your thumbnail.

Auto-generate brings up a menu featuring a handful of snapshots from your video. It's possible you'll find one that suits your purposes, but you arguably have more control with the other two options.

Note that once you select or generate a thumbnail different from the original, a "download" button will appear, allowing you to put the current thumbnail onto your computer.

If you still have questions or need additional assistance, feel free to contact us at