Change Your Movie’s Poster Frame

Posted on by Larry

The “poster frame” is the small, thumbnail image that is displayed by the Finder for most movies. Most of the time, we don’t care what the poster frame is. But, sometimes, we care a lot.

The problem is that when you export files from Final Cut Pro X or Premiere Pro CC, the poster frame is assigned automatically. Unlike YouTube, you can’t pick the poster frame you want displayed.

However, there is a simple fix using Apple Compressor. Better, you can do so without re-encoding or compressing the file. Here’s how:

These two steps make sure that your file is only copied and not compressed.

NOTE: As you can see, you can also use this menu for other marker tasks as well.

The secret to this technique is the Pass-Through settings. These override the compression settings – which is why you don’t care which compression setting you initially pick – and allow you to make a copy of the master file using Compressor without altering the source video or audio.


You could also create a new compression setting as a custom preset – call it, say, “Poster Frame.” This allows you to create these settings once, then apply them to as many files as you need. Keep in mind that you can’t save this as a droplet, though, because that wouldn’t allow you to set the poster frame.

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7 Responses to Change Your Movie’s Poster Frame

  1. mijones says:

    Larry: This is great, but what about those who have migrated away from FCP, et al., and use Adobe editing products. Is there a fix in the Adobe CC apps somewhere? Thanks, Michael

    • Larry says:

      MI Jones:

      I don’t know how to do this using Adobe products. On the other hand, Compressor is only $50, runs as a stand-alone app and you could consider it as a utility you use to reset poster frames, while still using AME for your standard compression.

      Keep in mind that this works with QuickTime movies, not MXF.


  2. Luke says:

    Hi Larry. I noticed that when sharing a project directly from FCPX (Top Right Corner) the Poster frame displayed in the finder is whatever image I have selected by positioning the “playhead” in the timeline before sharing. It seems to work great and that’s what I use personally. Am I loosing something in the process ?

    • Larry says:


      Wow… if true, that’s a trick that even Apple doesn’t know! (And I can’t think of anything you’d be losing…)

      Thanks for sharing.


  3. Ian R. Brown says:

    There is a much quicker method using QuickTime Player. Open the video in QT, navigate to the appropriate frame and copy it (cmd-c). Then do a “Get Info” (ctrl-click) on the video file and select the tiny thumbnail at the top left corner of the “Get Info” window. Finally paste (cmd-c) the new frame onto the thumbnail. That’s it!

  4. Jordan Bentz says:

    Ian R. Brown… what a hero — your QT fix worked.

    Working with a client who’s doing a direct embed – didn’t know the solution until now.

    Thanks my dude.

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