Using wp_read_video_metadata to extract video metadata in WordPress

The wp_read_video_metadata function in WordPress is responsible for extracting metadata from video files. This function is part of the WordPress Media module and it retrieves important information from video files, including the duration of the video, the dimensions of the video frame, and the file format.

By using this function, WordPress can display more detailed information about the video files that are uploaded. This can be particularly useful in managing media files within the WordPress dashboard, as it allows users to see key details about their video files at a glance.

It is also used in the process of generating attachment metadata for video files. The retrieved metadata can be stored in the database and can be used to enhance the user experience, for example, by displaying the duration of the video in a media gallery.

Furthermore, the wp_read_video_metadata function can be used to validate video files. For instance, it can help to ensure that the video files uploaded to a WordPress site are in a supported format and meet any size or dimension requirements that may be set.

Parameters Accepted by wp_read_video_metadata Function

The wp_read_video_metadata function in WordPress accepts one parameter:

  • $file (string): This mandatory parameter specifies the file path.

Return Value of wp_read_video_metadata Function

The wp_read_video_metadata function returns an array containing the metadata if found. However, if no metadata is found, the function will return false.


How to Use wp_read_video_metadata Function to Retrieve Video Metadata

The wp_read_video_metadata function is commonly used to retrieve metadata from a video file. Here is a simple code snippet that demonstrates its usage:

$file_path = '/path/to/your/video.mp4';
$metadata = wp_read_video_metadata($file_path);
if ($metadata !== false) {
 echo '<p>Video duration: ' . $metadata['length_formatted'] . '</p>';

This code first defines the file path to the video file. It then uses the wp_read_video_metadata function to retrieve the metadata from the video file. If the function successfully retrieves the metadata (i.e., does not return false), it outputs the duration of the video.

How to Check if Video is HD Using wp_read_video_metadata Function

The wp_read_video_metadata function can also be used to check if a video is in high definition (HD). Here’s how:

$file_path = '/path/to/your/video.mp4';
$metadata = wp_read_video_metadata($file_path);
if ($metadata !== false && $metadata['width'] >= 1280) {
 echo '<p>This video is HD.</p>';
} else {
 echo '<p>This video is not HD.</p>';

This code does the same as the previous example to retrieve the metadata. It then checks if the width of the video is 1280 pixels or more. If it is, the video is considered HD and the appropriate message is displayed.

How to Display All Video Metadata Using wp_read_video_metadata Function

You can use the wp_read_video_metadata function to retrieve and display all metadata of a video file. Here’s how:

$file_path = '/path/to/your/video.mp4';
$metadata = wp_read_video_metadata($file_path);
if ($metadata !== false) {
 echo '<pre>';
 echo '</pre>';

This code retrieves the metadata and then uses the print_r function to display all the metadata in a human-readable format.


The wp_read_video_metadata function in WordPress is a built-in function that is primarily used to extract metadata from a video file. This metadata includes key information such as the video’s length, dimensions, file format, and codec details. The function leverages the PHP’s native getID3 library to accomplish this task. This metadata can then be used in various ways, such as displaying video details on a webpage, or for sorting and filtering videos based on their properties.

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