When you post a video or include it in your content, chances are that you don’t want to have to hunt around for a featured image to accompany it. However, many WordPress themes look their best with featured images in the homepage, category, and archive templates. Without featured images, many image-dependent designs can break or look inconsistent.
Automatic Featured Images from Videos is a new free plugin from the folks at WebDevStudios. Created for sites that are heavy on video content, the plugin will automatically grab the thumbnail of a YouTube or Vimeo video that occurs within the first 1000 characters of a post.
I tested the plugin and found that it works unobtrusively in the background. It doesn’t require anything extra when adding a video in a post. As soon as the draft finishes saving, you’ll see the new featured image assigned. The screenshot included here shows videos from both Youtube and Vimeo with thumbnails automatically added by the plugin.
Automatic Featured Images from Videos currently only works with a full URL, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScMzIvxBSi4 and does not work with a shortened URL like http://youtu.be/ScMzIvxBSi4. It also works when using the full embed code. I spoke with Brad Parbs who said that the team is currently working on a patch to ensure that the shortened URLs work, too. They also plan to add a few more popular video services in a future release.
If you post a lot of video content, then the Automatic Featured Images plugin will be a real time saver for you and will keep your homepage and archives looking colorful. Download it for free from WordPress.org.