YouTube To Launch New Player Complete With Thumbnail Previews & Storyboards

By Megan O'Neill 

YouTube has just undergone a pretty major overhaul of their design, but it looks like they aren’t done yet.  Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration reports that the online video giant has got a new player in the works and it’s going to be a pretty major change, complete with thumbnail previews and auto-generated storyboards.  Read on to learn more and see a video preview of the new player.

Agarwal writes that, “The next version of YouTube video player will have one very useful feature – you can hover your mouse to any point in the video, without actually moving the playhead, and the YouTube player will show you an image thumbnail of the video frame at the position.  Thus you can easily get a visual gist of the whole video while the clip is still buffering.”

While this probably won’t be too helpful for videos that don’t have much variety in the shots, such as a person sitting and talking to the camera or cats sleeping soundly and adorably, it should be helpful for longer videos with multiple scenes, making it easier to skip ahead and go back to specific parts of the video.

In addition, the new thumbnail preview feature means something else—YouTube will be producing a lot more than their usual three thumbnail images per video.  Agarwal reports that, “For the new video player, YouTube generates one big Storyboard of 100 thumbnails per video and these thumbnail images are arranged in the Storyboard like a 10×10 grid.  As you move your mouse to different points in the video player, it quickly grabs the corresponding thumbnail for that position from the storyboard.”  You can view some sample storyboards on the Digital Inspiration post (that’s one in the image above).

No launch date for the new player has been announced and it is not yet clear as to whether creators will have the option to choose a video thumbnail from this much larger choice set, but we’ll keep you posted as more information is released.

What do you think about the new features?  Are you looking forward to the thumbnail previews or storyboards?

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.