Start an embedded YouTube video at a certain timestamp

In a previous post I covered how to link to a specific timestamp in a YouTube video. The short version looks like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjDw3azfZWI#t=31m08s

The “#t=31m08s” takes you to 31 minutes and 8 seconds in a video. I just found out that you can also start embedded videos at a certain timestamp.

To do it on an embedded video, use the “start” parameter. Note that start takes seconds as a parameter, not minutes and seconds. For example, to start an embedded video 31 minutes and 8 seconds into a video, 31*60+8 = 1868 seconds, so you would use this code:

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/PjDw3azfZWI&hl=en_US&start=1868"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/PjDw3azfZWI&hl=en_US&start=1868" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

and it would look like this:

That’s all there is to it. :)

52 Responses to Start an embedded YouTube video at a certain timestamp (Leave a comment)

  1. This is an incredibly useful tip! Really makes it A LOT easier to reference information or particular points within videos. Plus, it really lets you choose what shows up as the video thumbnail. Nice!

  2. Very neat. What about a stop parameter? Or maybe start-stop-start-stop…then I can just pull “sound bites” out of a video without editing :) Maybe this is already possible? Please expand if so.

  3. Too bad this doesn’t work for people using oembed.

    It *could* work, if YouTube passed the # bit along to the oembed URL, which returned the proper start parameter… hint, hint…

  4. Matt,

    Great tip. Thank you! Do you know if there is a way to embed a YouTube video with a screen shot at a certain time but still start at 0:01?

  5. Troy and Otto, good suggestions. I particularly like the idea of a “stop” parameter so I could highlight just the part of a video that I cared about. Be aware that because of the way that videos are encoded (MPEGs for example), they may have normal images (an “i-frame”) or the frame might be “predicted” from other images in the video (“p-frame”). You can even have “b-frames” which are bi-directionally predicted from a previous frame and a frame that will occur later in the video stream.

    That’s a long-winded way to say that getting frame-level accuracy is hard; you might say “start at 1868 seconds into the video” but the video might need to start rolling at 1867 seconds to be able to reconstruct the video frames.

    But I agree, this would be nice.

  6. It would be really cool if you could put together piece that would consist of x different videos. That way you could play video #1 for x time and then start with video #2 for x time and then move to video #3 for x time.

    With that you could make FAQ, Top 10 things and so on with only internet connection. No software needed at all :). Cloud video computing here we come.

    Next wedding video will be done from Youtube videos :)

  7. I’m using sometimes this Tool from Apture.
    You can install a Plugin (Website/Blog) or you can use the Apture Builder.
    You can setting a Start AND Stop-Time for Videos, Width and Hight etc.

    PS: I am not a Apture-Partner, only a early user ;-).

  8. I have to agree Nermin about piecing together a number of videos. If there is a particularly relevant section in the video, could it be searched that way? For example in the video above: Eric Schmidt speaks about Google creating a Twitter page based on a question posed. Would someone be able to search for “Eric Schmidt talks about Google and Twitter” disregard the quotes, just for emphasis.

  9. This is great for referencing as normally if u are quoting something from a book you write it’s reference in a particular format but this is cool as you can quote ‘Larry Page said ….’ and for reference embed a video that starts @ the time that he actually say that. Awesome! News websites should already be using this but I guess not a lot of people know about this.

  10. Bit like walking into a Movie half-way through :)

  11. Great tip! It’ll definitely come in handy. The ability to stop would be a welcomed addition, but it seems like that may take a bit to figure out.

    I like the video though Matt!! Thanks for sharing – certainly wish it didn’t take 1 year to find me.

  12. Ian M

    It would also be great if YouTube would make it easier to disable annotations. I utterly *hate* them and have never seen a case where I would prefer them on rather than off.

    It’s possible to do via a URL parameter on the video, but I think it’s important enough to include as a checkbox in the embed code generator, as I think many people would use it.

  13. What I’d like is a way to choose both start and end time for the embedding. That would be very useful to highlight when there’s a certain segment that’s interesting.

  14. Thanks for this brilliant tips … is seem we could “highlight” the wright moment in this video content. The wright moment at the wright place ! Regards …

  15. Nigel

    If you have start and you have stop, then the next thing might be ‘pause’ and ‘comment bubble’.
    e.g. (script) Start at 1868 seconds, pause 20 seconds at 1885 with comment “Eric sucks lemon, tries to figure out how to make it into lemonade”. Stop at 1995. (/script)

    Ah but then we get into general scripts for playing video, if you can play one video and control how it’s played, then why not many? e.g. Player video 2947845 1020 seconds to 1070 seconds, fade, play video #38577 1080 to 1090 seconds, etc.

    Erm, thinking about it, there is this site
    http://mixerbeta.jaycut.se/mixer

    Which mixes video online.

    Imagine a mashup tool that let you edit YouTube videos, not by actually editing youtube videos, but rather by constructing the play script needed to replay them. They edit the play script with fades and transitions, and can just click play and the script runs and the video replays.

  16. Is there a reason that you’re aware of why the start parameter doesn’t use the same format of minutes & seconds?

  17. Thanks for the cool tip! Its nice that you can add videos starting from a certain point, coz you might have a long video but only the last 15 minutes might be relevant to what you wanna share (on a blog, etc.)..so now instead of showing a lot of irrelevant information first, you can get straight to the point!

  18. Very useful & cool tip.. thankx matt..

  19. I love it when you post these really useful tidbits. I found this genuinely helpful. thank you.

  20. It really works fine ! thnx

  21. Awesome, just looking for something like that.

    Thank you for the great tip.

  22. Really neat… This makes linking a part of the content in YT videos much easier :)

  23. Wow it really works… Thanks matt :) it’ll make things much easier

  24. Hey Matt,

    Thanks for the helpful hint. Can definitely use that when embedding a video into either my blog or website. Never knew it was possible to set a specific timestamp.

  25. Ron

    Thanks Matt! This exactly what I was looking for to post a video for a friend at a particular time interval in the video. I have always wondered how to do this.I didn’t know it was possible. Now I can reference a lot of videos. :)

    thanks again

  26. Greetings Matt:

    This comment may be off topic a little bit, but in my opinion it is an important question which perhaps you may be able to offer a solution/change to?
    It appears that when I embed a YouTube video into any given site, when I validate the HTML/XHTML with (http://validator.w3.org/) there always appears to be issues of missing attributes. Is there a programming solution which could be offered so that this does not have to be performed manually?
    On topic now… This is a great post and I really appreciate you taking your time to offer little tidbits and tricks such as these.
    Have a great week!

    ~Scott

  27. Great tip, been looking for this for some time now thanks Dan

  28. Wow… It’s working. It would be great. Got to think of the new scenario how to use this on my campaign. Thanks Matt!

  29. Thanks matt, I was wondering if there is a way I can also pass the ‘stop’ parameter like I want the video to be played from 51st second to 192nd second and don’t want the rest?

  30. Veronica

    This is a bit off the subject, but will I see you at our 20 year reunion?

  31. I was so excited to run across this information. Thank you for the info. I am new to the world of blogging and am still learning. However, I’m trying to embed a video (not Youtube) and would like it to have a timestamp on when it starts. Can I do this with a video other than from Youtube? Thank you for your time.

  32. That’s a great tip. I develop websites, so knowing this is really helpful. I think including YouTube videos on websites is a great thing to do. Many clients ask us about putting video on their websites and we tell them to use YouTube because you get the added benefit of getting traffic from YouTube even though it’s easy to embed Flash video right on their own site. More tips like this would be great.

  33. You have no idea how helpful this little tip is going to be! You just opened up a whole new door for me as I want to post videos to my personal blog but sometimes it just takes way too long for them to get to the point of reference.

  34. All I can say is OUCH. The version that I was served had absolutley NO sound. Instead it had SUBTITLES. Were they speaking in a non-english language??
    Although I disagree with some of the moves that Google has made, I am NOT one of those who likens Google to ‘Big Brother’.
    With all the clamor about Google’s secrecy etc. you could not have handed your detractors a bigger load of ammunition. A video on YouTube depicting the Google’s CEO speaking with no sound, just subtitles, is bound to look like a coverup to many Google critics. For pete’s sake find and attach the sound file so that this criticism cannot get started. There must obviously be a sound file, as there ARE subtitles.
    Keep you blog coming.
    Dave

  35. Hello – does this code work for all video hosting sites or simply just for YouTube? I’m currently using Viddler but would like this functionality as well.

    Thanks!

  36. ste

    Very handy, I’ve been looking for something like this – I just wish they’d put this kind of thing somewhere easy to find on the actual site rather than me having to google for ages lol.. thanks matt :D

  37. This is a great tip. This certainly helps in pinpointing the user to the correct place in a video but it doesn’t help in the presentation of numerous video clips. I’m still working out some of the usability issues in including video in text. There isn’t a problem when you have a one-one relationship: x said “this” and you show the clip of “this.” But when you have numerous clips the presentation can become more difficult.

  38. It’s the neat, cool little tips and tricks like this that you deliver us that set the blogs and sites of those of us who follow your stuff apart from those who don’t. Great stuff.

  39. Wow! This would be great! I just hired a company to make videos showing my properties that I have for sale and I really didn’t like some of the information they put at the beginning. I wanted to just skip to a view of the house and not my name first which they did. Since they have no way of going back and fixing the videos, I’ll forward them this idea to see if we can just start them a few seconds into the videos for my blog. Thanks so much for the helpful tip!

  40. I had been thinking of something like this for a while but was too lazy to investigate. Glad I happened to run across this useful technique while religiously reading your blog, Matt. Thanks. :)

  41. Kumar

    Start an embedded YouTube video at a certain timestamp.
    By giving a value such as start=10 you could skip the ad (your video will start in 10seconds) that show in the begining.
    I was wondering how to implement the start=nn for various songs embedded through a playlist.

  42. Nick

    As for adding a STOP parameter: There is this website http://www.splicd.com , that let’s you enter a YouTube URL, a start and a stop time, and then it generates a unique link for you to a ‘chopped’ version of the video. But the link you get looks like http://splicd.com/… , so you can’t really tell, what they did to make the video stop at the desired time. Anyone any idea?

  43. @ Troy – this website worked for me: http://splicd.com

    I was able to enter a start and stop time for my YouTube video.

  44. paul

    Is there any way to get the thumbnail/still view (which shows before the video is played) to be at the beginning of the timestamp, rather than at the beginning of the video?

  45. The suggestion of blend of videos and rotation just means editing the loops to create the experience you want. Editing with video software is not as steep a curve as some think. The beauty of video is you have the eyeballs and eardrums to make a deep impression. A pair of senses always trump just one.

  46. Hi.

    I have tried to apply this technique on an SWF video file. But i found out that it doesn’t work. Is there a specific “tag” I can use on embedded SWF video files?

    Thanks.

    Jack

  47. Cymnbaoth Boru

    This is extremely useful for the multiple hour youtube videos, if you want to come back to the same spot you left off at. Thank you so much for this little how to.

  48. Here’s the new way to do it with iframe embeds:

    Here is a link to the player parameter documentation: http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/player_parameters.html#start

  49. Hmm, I got escaped. Let me try it again:

    <iframe width=”560″ height=”349″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/9h1swNWgP8Q?start=5″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

  50. Matt- your post needs an update.
    It used to be easy- there was an option in embed to “Start video at”
    and it was easy to custom pick sizes using the old embed code.
    I just had to figure this out- Thanks Shannon – jj Behrens
    I wanted to start a video at 39:27 in- so I had to multiply 39x 60 + 27 to come up with 2367
    Copy the standard embed code:

    Then put this on the end of the video url “?start=2367″:

    Voila- it starts at the right time.

  51. Mike Hunt

    Thank you for this tut

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