Using a PDF as the 'sg_uploaded_movie'

Greetings again,

Is there a way to have a Versions PDF file be used as the Thumbnail for the Version?

Ideally, when clicking on the thumbnail for this Version the PDF file would load in the Browser, not an external application like Preview.

Is there a different way to upload the PDF file as opposed to…

app.shotgun.upload( “Version”, sg_version[“id”], upload_path, “sg_uploaded_movie” )

Or is this just not possible.


Hi Daniel,

Yes, we support upload PDF as a version. And the thumbnail will generated. Clicking the thumbnail, overlay player will open the pdf. This is a sample I made for you.

API to upload pdf file is also has the same behavior.

What is your SG site? Maybe there is something wrong. I could help to check.



Does it support multi-page PDFs? I can’t even upload the document manually.

I have heard from others that this works at other studios.

Assuming the site is mis-configured or my PDF is getting creating in an in-compatable manner, is the command I am using correct?

Should I be using upload_thumbnail() rather than upload()?


Hey @CGSoup! Multi-page PDFs should work as well - it sounds like something may be going wrong here. If you haven’t already, probably a good idea to open a support ticket for this one and send us the specific PDF you are testing with so we can troubleshoot.

In terms of the API calls, upload_thumbnail() is more appropriate if you want only the thumbnail to be created from the PDF, not the entire Version. For instance, if your Version media is a movie of some sort, but you want the thumbnail to reflect the PDF, then use upload_thumbnail() to generate/replace only the thumbnail with the PDF imagery.

Regarding the PDF you are using, how was it generated? Anything out of the ordinary there? Have you tried any other standard PDF’s to see if they work differently?


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One bit of clarification on what the current behavior is when uploading a multi-page PDF. When uploading a PDF, it will get transcoded into a movie file where each frame is a page in the PDF so when played back, you can step forward/backward through the pages. It does not just display the source PDF for review/markup within the player.


The PDF is getting generated via fpdf. (628 Bytes)
MutilPage.pdf (611.9 KB)

This file works in Preview, Acrobat and Chrome/Safari but wont upload to SG.

Cant seem to upload any PDF as a thumbnail manually…



So what is really odd is that using the +Version button on an Asset page, and dragging the same PDF file into the Uploaded Movie ‘drop-zone’ on the pop-up widget works as advertised.




Hi @CGSoup

The difference you’re seeing there is that when you use the +Version form, the ‘drop-zone’ is uploading your PDF file to the Uploaded Movie field. This should work fine, like you’re seeing.

In your example where you’re seeing an error, you’re trying to upload the PDF to the Thumbnail field. This will not work, as that field only accepts an image.

The good news is, that we have a transcoding process that runs in the background when you upload a PDF to the Uploaded Movie field. It will take care of populating the Thumbnail field with an image for you, usually within a few minutes of your upload to the Uploaded Movie field completing.


It appears as though my Production test case has MUCH larger images on each page and I think this is causing the issues.

What is the maximum size allowable for thumbnail source images?

Looking into this more…

Using smaller images seems to be working. Do all the images need to be the same aspect ratio?

When viewed in Preview it looks correct, but in Screening Room all images after the first one are scaled into the aspect ratio of the first image. Does this mean that I will need to make sure my PDF has consistent page sizes?


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Hey Daniel,

The PDF will be scaled to fit into the bounds of a 720p movie. The transcoder is likely looking at the dimensions of the first page and then similarly scaling the rest of the pages by the same amount. The web playback tools were admittedly designed more towards the review of still image and movie files, and review of a PDF document is not as well fleshed out.

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This issue is that the image on the pages were too large (7k+).

Do you know what the maximum allowable input size for the thumbnail process is?

I see this in the docs…

For image files, Shotgun’s Transcoder generates a single high resolution (maximum 2k) image file (PNG if the original contains transparency, JPG otherwise) that is used by all supported browsers.

The filmstrip will be 720p but how big can the pages be before it bothers the filmstrip movie process. 2500 seems to be working OK…


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One last question about the filmstrip thumbnails.

Is there a way to control the poster frame for the thumbnail filmstrips. We would always want the first frame to be the poster, as opposed to the middle frame which seems to be the default?


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Hey Daniel,

There currently isn’t a way to select which frame is the poster. It currently grabs one from the middle of the sequence.

Could you send me a PM with a link to the Version(s) that failed to transcode for you? And that had the variable frame size? I can go over the source media with our engineers to determine what may have gone wrong.

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