Responsive Video Poster

Responsive poster image for videos to improve performance and allow full control of video placeholders.

Video elements only allow one image as the poster, which is not optimal for performance. This JavaScript plugin uses a standard image tag as the poster. This means standard responsive image techniques can be used to load only the most appropriate image. This also gives full styling control of video placeholders. Performance optimizations are also included for loading of both native and embedded videos.

<video> and <img>

The default setup with the poster as the first frame of the video.

<video> and <picture>

The picture element is used for the poster and the video controls are hidden while transitioning the overlay. The poster is the last frame of the video.

<iframe> and <img>

The iframe includes an empty srcdoc attribute which prevents the video site from loading it's scripts until the user clicks on the video. The poster is the middle frame of the video.


$ npm install responsive-video-poster --save-dev


Import JS

The script is an ES6(ES2015) module but the compiled version is included in the build as "src/scripts/responsive-video-poster-umd.js". You can also copy "src/scripts/responsive-video-poster.js" into your own site if your build process can accommodate ES6 modules.

import ResponsiveVideoPoster from 'responsive-video-poster.js';

// Init with string - default setup for one instance
const responsiveVideoPosterDefault = ResponsiveVideoPoster({ selector: '#responsive-video-poster--default' });

// Init by loop - this wont allow access to methods
const responsiveVideoPosterElements = document.querySelectorAll('.responsive-video-poster');   

for (const item of responsiveVideoPosterElements) {
  ResponsiveVideoPoster({ selector: item });

// Init with all options at default setting
const responsiveVideoPosterDefault = ResponsiveVideoPoster({
  selector: '.responsive-video-poster',
  overlaySelector: '.video-overlay',
  posterSelector: '.poster',
  videoSelector: '.video',
  animClass: 'is-anim',
  inactiveClass: 'is-inactive',
  embedPreload: 500,
  hideControls: false


Property Default Type Description
selector '.responsive-video-poster' String Container element selector.
overlaySelector '.video-overlay' String Overlay element selector.
posterSelector '.poster' String Poster element selector.
videoSelector '.video' String Video element selector.
animClass 'is-anim' String CSS class to transition the video overlay between states.
inactiveClass 'is-inactive' String CSS class to hide the video overlay.
embedPreload 500 Integer(ms) Amount of time given to preload an embedded video.
hideControls false Boolean Hide video controls while transitioning overlay.

Import Sass

@import "node_modules/responsive-video-poster/src/styles/responsive-video-poster.scss";


The demos makes use of the padding technique to maintain aspect ratio. Only one aspect ratio of 16:9 is used in the demos. You can add your own or use classes provide by frameworks such as Bootstrap.

<div class="responsive-video-poster responsive-video-poster--16by9">
  <button class="video-overlay" aria-label="Play video">
    <div class="poster-btn"><svg class="poster-btn-icon"> ... </svg></div>

    <img srcset="images/720/image.jpg 720w, images/1080/image.jpg 1080w" src="images/1080/image.jpg" class="poster">

  <video src="videos/video.mp4" preload="metadata" class="video" controls></video>


Bootstrap Example

<div class="responsive-video-poster embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9">
  <button class="video-overlay embed-responsive-item" aria-label="Play video">
    <div class="poster-btn"><svg class="poster-btn-icon"> ... </svg></div>

    <img srcset="images/720/image.jpg 720w, images/1080/image.jpg 1080w" src="images/1080/image.jpg" class="poster img-fluid">

  <video src="videos/video.mp4" preload="metadata" class="video embed-responsive-item" controls></video>


Video loading optimizations

The video element includes preload="metadata" and the embedded video includes an srcdoc="" so the video is not loaded until the user interacts with it. This will slow the loading of embedded videos which is partially addressed by the built in embedPreload in the options. This will reduce the initial page load but may increase lag in playback for some users. Both can be removed if not needed. The plugin should also work normally with lazy load plugins.


A 'playVideo' event is started once a user clicks the video overlay. The event is ended once the overlay has become inactive and the video starts playing.

document.querySelector('#responsive-video-poster--default').addEventListener('playVideo', (event) => { 
  console.log(`Action: ${event.detail.action}`);


Supports all modern browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Edge) released as of April 2020.

Demo site

Clone or download from Github.

$ npm install
$ gulp serve


Covverr videos of Lago di braies and Lofoten rocks. Youtube video of Tustan Karpaty mountains.
Lazy loading of an embedded video by Arthur Corenzan.