How to create a background video in React Native

Photo by Fatos Bytyqi on Unsplash
Demo: Peleton Home Screen

In this post, we are going to create a backgroundVideo in React Native. If you have just started with React Native check out my article What you need to know to start building mobile apps with React Native.

Background video can add a nice effect to the UI of an app. They may be helpful also if you want to display, for example, ads or send a message to the user, like we’ll do here.

You will need some basic requirements. To get started, you must have the react-native environment setup. That means you have:

  • react-native-cli installed
  • Android SDK; if you have a mac you won’t need that, just Xcode

Getting started

First things first, let’s bootstrap a new React Native app. In my case I’m using react-native-cli. So in your terminal run:

react-native init myapp

This should install all the dependencies and packages to run your React Native app.

Next step is to run and install the app on the simulator.

For iOS:

react-native run-ios

This should open up the iOS simulator.

On Android:

react-native run-android 

You may have some trouble with Android. I recommend that you use Genymotion and the Android emulator or check out this friendly guide to set up the environment.

First what we are going to do is clone the Peleton app’s home screen. We are using react-native-video for video streaming, and styled-component for styling. So you have to install them:

  • Yarn:
yarn add react-native-video styled-components
  • NPM
npm -i react-native-video styled-components --save

Then you need to link react-native-video because it contains native code — and for styled-components we don’t need that. So simply run:

react-native link

You don’t have to worry about the other things, just focus on the Video Component. First, import Video from react-native-video and start using it!

import import Video from "react-native-video";

Let’s break it down:

  • source: the path to the source video. You can use the URL instead:
  • style: the costume style we want to give to the video, and the key to making the background video
  • resizeMode: in our case it is cover; you can try also contain or stretch but this won’t give us what we want

And other props are optional.

Let’s move to the important part: placing the video in the background position. Let’s define the styles.

// We use StyleSheet from react-native so don't forget to import it//import {StyleSheet} from "react-native";
const { height } = Dimensions.get("window");
const styles = StyleSheet.create({backgroundVideo: {height: height,position: "absolute",top: 0,left: 0,alignItems: "stretch",bottom: 0,right: 0}});

What did we do here?

We gave the video a position :absolute and we give it the window height of the device. We used the Dimensions from React Native to ensure that the video is taking up the whole hight — top:0, left:0,bottom:0,right:0 — so that the video takes up all the space!

The entire code:

Also, you can make this component reusable by doing the following:


And you can use it with other components:

That’s pretty much it. Thank you for reading!

Photo by David Boca on Unsplash

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