Programmable Media

Video Player customization

Last updated: Sep-12-2023

You can customize your video player in a number of ways using Cloudinary's customization options, or alternatively, add more advanced customizations using the VideoJS API.

You can also easily customize and embed your video player in an iFrame using the Cloudinary Video Player Studio.

Video player visuals

You can change the look and feel of your video player by specifying a global skin theme and/or by controlling specific elements of the color schemes.

All transformations use the JavaScript (legacy) syntax. When looking at transformation examples in the rest of the documentation, you can change the JS tab to display the legacy (cloudinary-core) code examples.

Skin theme

By default, the video player has a semi-transparent dark theme. The theme you select controls the color of the video player controls, controls background color, title style, and the color of the right-click context menu commands and central play button. You can change the theme skin by adding the class: cld-video-player-skin-<value> to the video tag. For example, to specify the light theme, include this in your <video> tag:

Color scheme

If you would like more control over the color scheme for the player, you can customize this using the colors constructor parameter.

To set the color scheme for the player, you need to specify three colors (as hex values) to be used for the base, accent and text:

  • The base color is used for the video player controls bar and information bar. It's also used for the central play button and right-click context menu.
  • The accent color is used for the seek bar, volume control and for highlighting interactions with the UI, e.g. when hovering over a menu item.
  • The text color is used for all the text and icons that are present within the video player UI.

You can configure the color scheme as part of the <video> tag:

Or using the JavaScript constructor parameter:

Here's an example of a customized player using a Cloudinary color scheme and custom logo:

The skin theme you set will affect how your color scheme displays. You should test your color scheme with both skin themes to ensure you get the desired output.

Configuration options

You can set most configuration options either in your video tag or using JavaScript.

This section covers:

Common configuration examples

The examples below highlight some of the available options you might want to use when configuring your video player instances

Define video transformations

Defining video transformations for your video player instance will apply these same transformations to all video sources. The example below demonstrates a simple crop:

  • In the <video> tag:
  • In the videoPlayer:

You can also apply transformations to a single video by including the transformation when setting videoPlayer.source:

For information on available video transformations, see:

Customize seek bar functionality

The standard video player seek bar has two additional configuration options available to enhance the experience for your users:

  • Seek thumbnails show a preview of upcoming content to the user while they are seeking the video. This functionality is enabled by default. To disable it, set the seekThumbnails constructor parameter to false.
  • AI-based highlights graph shows a visual representation of the highlights of the video based on how our AI preview algorithm determines the level of interest for each part of the video. To enable this functionality, set the aiHighlightsGraph constructor parameter to true.

Here is a simple example that demonstrates both features. Hover over the seek bar to view both thumbnails and graph.


Both features use additional Cloudinary functionality behind the scenes which consume additional transformations when enabled. For more information, see the transformation counts documentation for Seek thumbnails and AI highlights graph.

Additional common configurations

Some additional common configurations include:

  • Setting the autoplay mode. For example, use on-scroll to cause the video to start playing when more than half the player is visible on screen.
  • Setting a specific image as the video poster, including applying image transformations on the specified image.
  • Adding a floating player when less than half the player becomes visible on screen. This can be set to appear in the bottom left or right and includes a button to close.
  • Defining the preferred set of video formats. By default the video format set is mp4, ogg, and webm, where the player selects the best format to play based on the browser in which the player is running.
  • Customizing the video player font. (The font is applied to titles, descriptions, recommendations, time counter, etc.)
In the video tag:
As a videoPlayer method construction parameter:

The above are just a few common options. For details on all available options, see the Video Player configuration options section in the Video Player API Reference.

Additionally, see the Cloudinary Video Player samples which demonstrate many of these configuration settings.

Default configuration behaviors

Most standard HTML5 video attributes (autoplay, loop, preload, muted, etc) retain their standard default behavior (auto mode for preload and false for all others).

By default, the video player automatically uses the middle image of your video as a poster image (the equivalent of <cloud_name>/video/<type>/<videoID>.jpg). You can specify a different public ID and/or image transformations using the posterOptions (data-cld-poster-options) setting.

Additionally, by default, when the player requests your video, it will automatically request the best format from the default source types (.webm, .ogg, and .mp4). If the transformation defined already exists for the requested source type, it's delivered. Otherwise, the relevant transformation is transcoded and streamed in real time. You can override the default format options using the sourceTypes (data-cld-source-types) setting.

Configuration precedence

You can set transformations and a number of other configurations either in the <video> tag or in the videoPlayer instance. In both cases, they define the defaults that will apply to all video sources. You should not include the same configuration parameter in both the tag and the JavaScript element, but if you do, the JavaScript setting will take precedence.

In general, if you set the same configuration parameter for a specific video source, those values override the values of the parallel setting for the player.

However, if transformations are defined for both the source and the player, the transformation definitions are merged. For example, you could define width, height, and text overlay transformations at the player level, and then apply some special effect transformations for a particular video source. The resulting video will include all of the above transformations.

The cloudinary autoPlayMode (data-cld-autoplay-mode) is similar to the standard HTML5 autoplay parameter, but includes additional possible values. You should not include both settings in your player, but if you do, the Cloudinary autoplay mode setting takes precedence.

Video titles, subtitles and descriptions

Video titles, subtitles, and descriptions can help give your audience quick information about your video. This information is displayed as follows:

  • The title and subtitle is displayed at the top of the video player whenever the controls are displayed.
  • The title is displayed on the playlist thumbnails in the playlist widget or 'Next up' preview.
  • The title, subtitle, and description are displayed for the primary video recommendation when recommendations are enabled. The title is displayed for the remaining recommendations.
  • If a title is not defined for any of the above, the video's public ID is used instead. If a subtitle or description is not defined, those elements are not displayed.

For example, the recommendation pane below shows the title, subtitle, and description of the main recommendation video, and titles for the remaining recommendations.

Video recommendations pane with titles and descriptions

You can add titles, subtitles, and descriptions directly to video assets by adding them as context values using the upload or context methods of the Upload API or via the Media Explorer.

If you're using the Media Explorer to add the values, they should be added as Custom metadata, with the keys defined as title, subtitle and description. The default Title (Caption) and Description (Alt) fields shown in the Metadata tab are not used by the video player.

You can also define the title, subtitle, and/or description at the source-level in the <video> tag or videoPlayer JavaScript using the info parameter:

  • In the <video> tag:
  • For a videoPlayer source:

If the info parameter is set for a source, its values override the parallel entries in the resource context.

Subtitles and captions

You can add subtitles and captions in vtt format to your videos as a separate text track for the video player. This allows them to be toggled on or off while the video is playing. If you're looking to automatically generate transcripts to use as subtitles and captions, you can use the Google AI Video Transcription addon or Microsoft Azure Video Indexer addon.

To add text tracks, set the textTracks parameter at the source level using the videoPlayer JavaScript.

The textTracks parameter is an object containing the information about all the text tracks to be added to the video source. You can configure tracks for both subtitles or captions.

For each text track set the following parameters:

  • label - The label that appears in the menu when toggling closed captions, e.g. "English".
  • language - The language code indicating the language of the captions, e.g. "en".
  • default - Boolean. Whether the captions should be displayed by default when the video is loaded.
  • url - The link to the vtt file to use for the captions. You can upload your vtt files to Cloudinary as raw files.

Here's an example of setting subtitles and captions for a videoPlayer source:

Low-level customization with video.js

The Cloudinary video player is built over the VideoJS player, v8. You can access all underlying capabilities of the VideoJS API, using the videoPlayer.videojs.default property.

  • In previous versions of the Cloudinary Video Player, you accessed the VideoJS API with videoPlayer.videojs. Due to changes in the VideoJS API, you must now update these references to videoPlayer.videojs.default.
  • Adding customizations with video.js could cause conflicts when future versions of the Cloudinary video player are released. Before upgrading your version of the video player, it's important to verify that your customizations are still working correctly.

For full details on all of the available functionality, see the VideoJS Player API documentation.

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