Video Thumbnails

Most video files support some kind of cover art, but hardly any system use them by default. I became tired of looking through folders with lots of default icons, and finally figured out how to turn that around to my advantage. Each systems guide is below, but lets cut right to the chase:

On Windows, you will need to download and install ICAROS shell extensions and enable a specific option (more below). On Ubuntu, you will need to install the latest version of ffmpegthumbnailer from source. I do not have a Mac to test OSX, but it looks like the QLVideo app will get the job done.


There is a great linux package called ‘ffmpegthumbnailer’ that offers this capability. Sadly, the ones in the Ubuntu main repos are outdated and don’t support it, so we have to build it ourselves!

sudo apt -y purge ffmpegthumbnailer libffmpegthumbnailer4v5
sudo apt install -y libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libavutil-dev libavfilter-dev libjpeg-dev libpng-dev git build-essential cmake

git clone
cd ffmpegthumbnailer
sudo make install

By default the thumbnailer does not use embedded cover art, so we need to add the option -m to the ffmpegthumbnailer call. This file is usually at /usr/local/share/thumbnailers/ffmpegthumbnailer.thumbnailer but may also be at /usr/share/thumbnailers/ffmpegthumbnailer.thumbnailer

[Thumbnailer Entry]
Exec=ffmpegthumbnailer -i %i -o %o -s %s -f -m

If you notice the second line, Exec at the end all we did was append a -m.

Try it out with the matroska test file!


Download the Icaros shell extension from either videohelp or majorgeeks (or the developer’s website, that doesn’t support VPNs, so I won’t link here). Once it is installed, you will need to open it and enable the video previews.

And it should be that simple! Download the matroska test file and try it out.

Mac OS X

Download the latest QLVideo package and install it. If you have any questions or trouble, read through their Readme.