Bottom line: I have never found the feature that I think that you are describing as a feature in Premiere Elements.
On what computer operating system is your Premiere Elements running? And, have you updated Premiere Elements and Elements Organizer 13 to 13.1 using Help Menu/Updates? If not, please do that.
Where do you want these thumbnails (assumed with first frame of video) to appear - Elements Organizer 13/13.1 and Premiere Elements 13/13.1 Editor, or in the computer hard drive save location (such as Windows Explorer, now called File Explorer in Windows 8 or 8.1)?
There is no way that I know of to create first frame of video thumbnails for your Premiere Elements exports using Premiere Elements. There used to be a feature in older versions where you could do that for just for thumbnails that appeared within the project.
Please give more details.
I've found if you move along the timeline and then stop at a video clip this will be used as thumb when you export, theres no actual setting which I have found
I cannot confirm your finding in any version of Premiere Elements Windows operating systems - Windows XP 32 bit, Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 64 bit. And, I have never seen your finding reported for Premiere Elements Mac.
I've found if you move along the timeline and then stop at a video clip this will be used as thumb when you export,
Consequently, could you please give details of how you obtained this result so that I can try to reproduce it.
Interlaced or Progressive
Pixel Aspect Ratio
The closest I can come to what you describe is the Freeze Frame feature of Premiere Elements where you place the Timeline Marker on the Timeline at the frame that you want to grab from a video and then
a. Freeze Frame feature for a bmp still of the selected frame
b. Publish+Share/Computer/Image for jpg still of the selected frame
Please review, consider, and then let us see if we can determine the difference between us.
In Premiere elements 13 just move the timeline marker to a video clip until it shows in your preview. Make sure it is a clear image, if you use transitions and the timeline marker is placed between transitions that will be your thumb image so just move it away until you have a clear image.
Next output to your mp4 setting. When the out put starts it uses the marked timeline image for your thumb image, this works on both Mac and windows
I still cannot reproduce your results regarding user being able to select the first frame display in the thumbnail of the export .mp4 file saved to the computer hard drive.
I have tried samples from
1920 x 1080 @ 24 progressive frames per second
Canon EOS 7D
1920 x 1080 @ 29.97 progressive frames per second
Export in each case above was Publish+Share/Computer/AVCHD with presets = MP4 H.264 1920 x 1080p30.
I also did another one
1920 x 1080 @ 50 progressive frames per second
Export in this case was Publish+Share/Computer/AVCHD with presets = MP4 H.264 1920 x 1080p25
No matter where I place the Timeline Indicator in the Timeline content prior to export, the thumbnail image for the file saved to the computer hard drive
a. is not the frame image at which I have placed the Timeline Indicator
b. and the frame image of the file saved to the hard drive can be randomized in that is is not the first frame seen before the export and is not the frame image where the Timeline Indicator was set before export.
Later I will look at this also in Windows 8.1 64 bit.
I have nothing on the Timeline besides the unedited clip.
I tried Andrew's method too but could not reproduce his results. No matter where I left the CTI my video would always pick the first frame as the file picture icon.However, I did find another method.Installed a program called MP3tag. Once you have created your MP4 just use this metdata utility to apply any JPG you want as the "cover photo", save, and your done. Looks like it was originally designed for MP3 tag editing. But it seems to work without a hitch on my MP4s.
Thanks for the update. Interesting tip, good information to have. I will give it a try.
Best wishes as you move forward with your projects.
Just tried it again tonight and worked fine one thing I may have not mentioned that the video clip must also be selected
Common mistake couldn't understand when I made changes to a clip nothing happen then realised it wasn't selected
Thanks for following up.
I cannot confirm your findings and conclusions related to export's thumbnail image with or without the Timeline Indicator on the Timeline clip selected during the export to file saved to computer hard drive.
Please let us know if you can think of any other factors that might be explain why MEH2010 and I have not been able to confirm your results and conclusion.
MEH2010 hit it on the head. You drag the video you want to add a custom cover into mp3Tag, click on the "disk icon" at the bottom, add your jpg or w/e and then hit save.
Thanks MEH2010! I needed that!!!
Thanks for following up the comment of MEH2010 regarding customizing the thumbnail image for a mp4 video.
Where in the steps do you designate the frame that you want as the thumbnail image? I have not looked at this first hand yet?
I will check it out.
MP3Tag worked great! Thank you for the tip! Now all my videos can have thumbnails within Windows Explorer!
Re: Canon 7D footage and Premiere Elements 13...imports fine, but looks soft -- I'm not pleased with the results.
The Canon produces MPEG-4 VIDEO...but do I need a specific/better codec for best results? Or can I assume that if it imports to PE ... that's as good as it's going to look? I'm shooting at highest resolution (1920x1080, 30 FPS).