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How to Start YouTube Videos at a Specified Timestamp

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How many times have you sent friends a 20 minute YouTube clip for 5 seconds worth of humor, 10 minutes into the video? I know I have, fortunately the folks at Google provide YouTube users with a set of parameters that control when a video begins. These parameters can be used in two scenarios, the first when posting a video on a website, blog, or Facebook and the seconds when sending a video link to someone via email.

In the how-to below, I will show you how to use the start parameter for embedded videos and the timestamp for links. If you have any comments please post them below or if you have any questions visit our forums.

Thanks to Matt Cutts for pointing out this feature.

Embedding the Video with a Specific Start Time

a start youtube videos at predefined timestamps How to Start YouTube Videos at a Specified Timestamp

1. Open the video in your browser and right-click on the Embed link provided.

2. Choose Copy from the drop-down menu to copy the embed code.


start youtube videos at predefined timestamps How to Start YouTube Videos at a Specified Timestamp

3. Paste the code to your desired location and add the following &start=#ofseconds after the video URL.

Where I typed #ofseconds you would enter the time in seconds where you would want the video to begin. Repeat for the other URL in the embed code.

start youtube videos at predefined timestamps a How to Start YouTube Videos at a Specified Timestamp

Now when you play the video, it will automatically begin at the 35s mark.

Linking to a Video with a Specific Start Time

start youtube videos at predefined timestamps b How to Start YouTube Videos at a Specified Timestamp

1. Open the video in your browser and right-click on the URL link provided.

2. Choose Copy from the drop-down menu to copy the URL for the video.

start youtube videos at predefined timestamps c How to Start YouTube Videos at a Specified Timestamp

3. Paste the URL into an email or text box and add the following code at the end of the link;

#t=number of minutesmnumber of secondss

Where number of minutes and number of seconds specify the timestamp in minutes and seconds. So if you wish to start at 31 minutes 8 seconds, you would type [#t=31m08s] at the end of the link (without brackets).

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Originally posted Mar 16, 2010

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  • http://www.gilsmethod.com Gilberto J Perera

    Adalberto,

    Thanks for taking the time to look this up. I’ll add it to my list of this to write about it soon. Thanks and I look forward to seeing you around the site often.

  • http://adal-berto.blogspot.com Adalberto Hernandez Vega

    Gilberto,

    I’ve managed to isolate the requested code using YouTubeWrapper.swf available for free to obtain what started this interesting thread, please check the following code and note the starttime and endtime flashvars:

    It works perfectly.

    Best,

    Adalberto

  • http://adal-berto.blogspot.com Adalberto Hernandez Vega

    However the folks at apture.com have managed to implement a start/stop (actually “pause”) feature on YouTube videos, check it out here: http://bit.ly/aTjsIs I guess they are using flash variables when calling the player.

    • http://www.gilsmethod.com Gilberto J Perera

      Adalberto,

      I saw the video on your site, that’s pretty cool. Can you please reference the exact Apture article so that I can write about this cool feature? Thanks.

    • http://adal-berto.blogspot.com Adalberto Hernandez Vega

      Gil,

      I don’t know of an specific article about this feature, but I have used it because they have it available in their free service: Apture is a service that allows blog publishers to add a layer to their website providing links expansion and content aggregation and web search without leaving the site, they started as a WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger plugin, now they added a “share” bar to search for content, share on Facebook, Twitter and Email which is recently also available as a Firefox add-on to do that in every website. They also have Chrome and IE versions.

      Then when you want to create an embedded video they allow you to publish just a clip of the video if you want.

      Please enter the previous link: http://bit.ly/aTjsIs and at the top bar that appears when you scroll down that window just a little, type apture on the search field and [enter], then you will see some links to videos and articles explaining the service.

      After digging a little into their generated code, I guess what they are using is the YouTube Chrome-less player, (example here: http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/chromeless_example_1.html ) which accepts parameters such as: flashvars=”endtime=52″ as attributes of the embed tag. The player is called: YouTubeWrapper.swf and if you Google for it you can find it for download.

      Best.

    • http://www.gilsmethod.com Gilberto J Perera

      Adalberto,

      Thanks for the insightful post. I’ll have to look at this a bit more, very interesting. Based on your suggestion I checked out the Apture site and added the code to GIlsMethod. Have you found it to increase engagement on your site? Thanks for following up. Have a great day.

  • http://www.gilsmethod.com Gilberto J Perera

    You are correct. I reread it and it only applies if you own it. I’ve looked around and can’t seem to find a reference to something similar. Sorry.

    Regarding the stop on YouTube, I looked at the documentation and it doesn’t look like a stop time is supported (see http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/player_parameters.html).

    Have a great weekend.

  • http://adal-berto.blogspot.com Adalberto Hernandez Vega

    I guess that will only work if you “own” the video, so you can edit the “description”

    Now, related to your post about YouTube, Is it possible to specify a “stop” parameter to share a video clipped to a certain section in the middle?

    Thank you!

    Adalberto

  • http://www.gilsmethod.com Gilberto J Perera

    Adalberto,

    Very good question, here’s what I found from Vimeo FAQ:

    “We have a timestamp feature that allows you to link to different times in a video from the description. To timestamp a video, put the specific time of the video you would like to link to. For example, writing 2:32 in the description, will send a viewer to the 2 minute, 32 second mark after the video loads. You may add as many timestamps as you so please.”

    http://vimeo.com/help/faq#chapters

    Hope this helps.

  • http://adal-berto.blogspot.com Adalberto Hernandez Vega

    Do you happen to know how to do exactly that but with Vimeo videos?

    Thanks,

    Adalberto