Remove Black Bars from YouTube Thumbnails

Posted Apr 9, 2014

Video Thumbnails saves the headache of manually creating and uploading thumbnails to your WordPress site, but sometimes the thumbnails provided by YouTube have annoying black bars on the top and bottom. This is called letterboxing and was common on widescreen videos uploaded before YouTube began supporting HD. Now that we can upload widescreen videos in HD, YouTube provides high-resolution thumbnails at their correct aspect ratio. But for old or standard definition videos, the largest image available from YouTube is a full-screen image that will have letterboxing. Here is an example:


Video Thumbnails will check if a high-definition thumbnail is available and then fall back to the standard definition thumbnail. This means the plugin will sometimes download the letterboxed images created by YouTube. A new feature available in version 1.1 of the pro version solves this problem by adding an option to always crop to a specific aspect ratio. Just select "widescreen" in the settings and new thumbnails will always be cropped to a ratio that will remove those bars. Here is our improved thumbnail:


This is just one of the many benefits of upgrading to Video Thumbnails Pro. Existing pro users can upgrade to the latest version by entering their license key on the settings page.