Adding Cover Art to Video Files

I’ve been asked a couple of times recently about adding cover art to video files. This process will replace the default icon used, which is a frame from the film, with the DVD cover or any other artwork you want to use.

The first step is to get the DVD ripped and encoded as an MP4 or M4V file. The MKV format has become popular lately but, it doesn’t support cover art in meta-data in a way that is useful. Technically it is supported but the process of adding it is long winded and nothing I’ve found can read and display the artwork so it might as well not be there.

I’m going to add artwork to the excellent British film Brassed Off. The image below shows the original file displayed in Windows Explorer:

Original Film

Download and install the application Mp3Tag then start it up:

MP3Tag Opening Screen

Mp3Tag, like most tagging applications, works by being pointed at a directory and then listing all the media files it found in that directory.  When you first install it you have to select the folder you want it to work on which you do by pressing the indicated Add directory… button. I have just a single film in my working folder by you may have hundreds or even thousands. Select the film you want to work on by clicking on it in media selection window (right hand side).

Now visit TMDb and search for the film you are adding cover art too. Their selection of films is generally excellent but if you don’t find the film you are searching for you can always add it. You want to download a poster for the film which, at the moment, is a link at the top of the film listing. Select the most appropriate image and download it.

Now go back to Mp3Tag and right click in the cover art window (towards the bottom left) and select Add cover… as shown.

MP3Tag Cover Art Selection

This will open a file selection window that will let you choose the image that you just downloaded, as shown here. Simply double click on the image you want.

Art Selection

All that is left to do now is click the save button in the top left of the window.

MP3Tag Save

The save operation has to completely re-write the file with the cover art embedded into it. Since video files tend to be quite large this may take a few seconds to a minute or more. A dialog box will pop up telling you when the job is complete.

Now when you look in the folder in Windows Explorer you’ll see the file with the cover art you selected:

Cover Art Added

When you are done delete the images you downloaded and reward yourself with a smug grin and warm sense of satisfaction at a job well done.