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🎞 Thumbnails

We process media files with different libraries to convert them to a widely compatible format and to speed up previewing files.

Thumbnail engines

libvips (images)

By leveraging libvips' lightning-fast image processing capabilities and memory-efficient design, the conversion process becomes remarkably fast, ensuring optimal performance even with numerous images. Moreover, the utilization of pyvips as a Python interface facilitates seamless integration with the project

ImageMagick (RAW images)

ImageMagick's robust suite of tools empowers us to perform conversion of raw images on a wide array of file types. When coupled with the wand library, which provides a Pythonic interface to interact with ImageMagick, it's easy to maintain and extend.

Because there are some compatibility issues between ImageMagick and PyTorch, this runs on a separate microservice.

FFmpeg (video)

As a powerful and versatile multimedia framework, FFmpeg equips users with a comprehensive suite of tools to seamlessly convert videos in various formats. The open-source nature of FFmpeg results in continuous updates and improvements that keep pace with evolving industry standards.

Source of truth for processing

Big thumbnails act as a source of truth for all subsequent processing like finding faces, calculating similarity, finding objects etc. The reason for that is twofold: First, we know that all files will be compatible with the machine learning pipelines, because it's only one format, second all file dimensions are limited to a certain format, which will prevent a possible explosion of resource use.

Other thumbnails

We also create thumbnails for previewing the faces and for the avatars of users. This is done to increase the speed of displaying a lot of them.


GET /media/thumbnails_big/<hash>

Gives you a large preview of the actual file. It is also an image for videos. If you want to display the video file use media/photos/<hash> instead.


  • Authorization - Bearer <token>

GET /media/square_thumbnails/<hash>

Gives you a normal preview of the actual file. Can be an image or a video.


  • Authorization - Bearer <token>

GET /media/small_square_thumbnails/<hash>

Gives you a small preview. Usually only usable with a blur to indicate loading. Could be replaced by blur hash.


  • Authorization - Bearer <token>

GET /media/photos/<hash>

Return the actual image or video from the server.


  • Authorization - Bearer <token>

GET /media/faces/<hash>_<face_number>.jpg

Returns the face for an image.


  • Authorization - Bearer <token>

GET /media/avatars/<first_name>avatar_<hash>.png

Returns an avatar for a given user.