I am really happy to let you know that today the new version 4.2 version of fast video cataloger is available for download.
This is, as usual, a free upgrade for all customers. A free trial is available for new users.
The major change in 4.2 is a complete and much needed makeover of the search function. Search is faster, easier to use and much more powerful. We have worked together with a few users to make this happen and I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.
This is how we should have done it in the first place!
We have merged the scene search and the video search into the same window, just one search window. And, since it is a normal window you can place it in your layouts.
FVC has always differentiated between scene search and video search. This has been confusing to a lot of users and was something we tried to address with this version. In the keywording window you will now by default tag a scene as well as the video whenever a scene is selected. If no scene is selected only the video will be tagged. So the default is basically the option we used to call “both”. There is still an option to turn this off if you only want to tag scenes. For new users it is hopefully much more intuitive, if a scene is selected it will be keyworded.
The search video search function has, as mentioned, moved into its own windows together with the scene search. This new window replaces the advanced search dialog, the dropdown search in the video catalog and the scene search window. Searches will happen instantly as you edit your filter, no need to click a filter button to do the search. It is also possible to combine filters in ways it was not before. I.e. you can easily search for a video with some tag containing a specific cast.
Scene searches and video searches still show their result in different windows. This is because you might want to move between them and have them displayed at the same time.
Scene searches are at the bottom of the search window but unlike before they take account of the current video search. I.e. it is now possible to search for specific scene but only in videos with a specific cast.
Finally, we added the function to save searches for later with your catalog.
Contact sheet images are great for overviews of a videos. It flattens out the serial boundaries of video that can be a huge time waste when browsing for a specific piece of content. This solution is actually one of the cornerstones that we have built fast video cataloger upon.
It is really quite simple. All you need is to click Export video as Contact sheet under the File/Export menu. The wizard takes you through the process of exporting the currently selected video as one contact sheet image. All the way to the save as a JPG.
It would not be an informative blog post if it ended here. So let’s go through it in detail. In my example I have used a presentation from a seminar I watched online. By producing a contact sheet image, I got a printable and easy to use note for my memory of the content. This can be very effective if you are a person frequently visiting seminaries and coming home without notes or coming home with scrabbles that are difficult to put into context.
There are a lot of options and actually pretty entertaining to create the images. Please note that the tool works with the video scene thumbnails in your catalog. Before you start make sure that your thumbnails actually represent the video in a good way since they will all be there. Have a look before you starts and if you need more thumbnails add them to your catalog by re-indexing the video or add them with the “camera” icon or burst capture. Don’t forget to remove the ones you don’t want.
The work area in the wizard is divided in 3 parts, a navigator in the bottom right, an options menu at the top left and the instant preview of the finished result in the middle. As seen highlighted in yellow below.
The options menu
We have provided the standard widths (800,1024,1280,1600,2048) as options in a drop down to make is easy to produce pretty contact sheet images.
By changing the background color, font and text color to fit a desired graphical look you can make the image contact sheet blend in with your other company documents.
In the thumbnails part we have added option to scale images and dress them up a bit with round corners, shadow and spacing in between images. You may also choose to display time of thumbnails or not.
All the changes you make are available instantly as a preview. Whatever you may think of the proverb “Seeing is Believing”, there is no argument that seeing the results of the option changes you do is the best way of learning how to use this tool.
I strongly suggest to simply play around for 10 minutes as a the first thing you do to as a crash course. You can always start from the beginning again if you do not like the result of your first try.
All the zooming and panning of the contact sheet preview is done in the navigator. It provides a fast and easy way to make sure all parts of the video look as you expected with the options you have put in.
You may grab and move or resize the red square to navigate or zoom your preview.
The UP arrow zoom in on the first thumbnail while the BACK and FORWARD arrows step through the different navigating positions you have had.
Left button zoom out to show you all content in the preview. Middle button fills out the width of the preview window and the right button takes you to the middle of the preview without zooming in or out.
Once you are happy with the result press finish and save the JPG file on your disc for publishing, sharing or printing.
We just released version 4.1x of Fast video cataloger with the usual bug fixes and minor improvements.
However, in this update we managed to get in quite a few important, and we think, really exciting new features.
Export to csv files
If you for some reason want to do something in excel or some other external tool we now have the option to export videos and actors as csv files. The export function takes the currently filtered video collection so if you want to export your entire collection make sure you do not have any active filters.
Save video as a jpeg contact sheet image
Contact sheet images are great for overviews of a videos. It’s really the fundamental idea fast video cataloger is based around. In this version we added a new wizard to export the selected video as a jpeg contact sheet image. There are a lot of options and actually pretty entertaining to create the images so give it a try. The tool works with the already extracted images in your catalog so if you need more thumbnails add them to your catalog by re-indexing the video or add them with the “camera” icon or burst capture.
Import actors from a folder structure
If you store your videos in a folder structure based on key actors or if you have a folder structure with just actor data, this new tool should be really useful. The “import actors from folder wizard” scans a root folder that you pick for subfolders named as actors. In each subfolder it picks the first image as portrait. It also matches videos in the subfolders with videos in your catalog and set the actor as cast in these videos. We originally developed this tool to be able to help users that had problems with very large actor galleries and halfway through we noticed it was a really useful tool, we put in a wizard for usability and here it is. Do let us know what you think about it and if you miss anything, we always listen.
Backup is easy to forget, now it’s a bit easier to remember. We added a menu item to enable easy backup of your catalog. The backup is taken to the same device so I highly recommend that you make backups to other devices as well from time to time. Disk crashes do happen and from time to time we have people reporting that their database has been corrupted (if that is the case and you do not have a backup please contact support, we might be able to help reconstruct your catalog)
Improvements to the indexing engine
Some users have reported issues indexing some videos, issues we have had a hard time reproducing. The problem was rare but for the people who had the issues it was a big problem, probably because they had lots of videos created in the way that caused the problem.
With the assistance of helpful users that provided us with problematic videos we have finally been able to track down this problem and made some improvement to the indexing engine. The videos failed indexing in the program regardless of the codecs installed. Hopefully this problem has now been fixed in 4.1x. If you have trouble getting videos indexed, give this version a try, it should work.
A big and special Thank You! to everyone who send us problematic video files and helped us track down this issue.
More space for video content
Some people have complained that the title bar etc. are taking too much space from videos. We have done a pass on the user interface to get rid of unneeded elements and make more space for your videos. You will immediately notice that the title bar has disappeared. Other changes are that the filters in the actors can now be hidden (and there are more subtle tweaks).
We have added a new option to optimize your catalog and make it faster. You can access it from the repair menu. You probably won’t see a noticeable change on small catalogs with less than a 1000 videos. Before running the optimization do make a backup and be prepared for the process to take a pretty long time (hours for very large catalogs). Do not interrupt the process when it is running.
Preparation for Windows 10 anniversary update
Windows 10 anniversary update is just about to be released. We have tested this version on the preview of the update to make sure it works. We have also updated the program to use the latest version of the .net runtime. (For whoever interested, we use C# and .net for the GUI and C++ for the indexing and video player ).
And, we have a bunch of minor improvements and fixes too numerous to mention but here are a selected few. The companion images now has a right click file menu and you can select to view companions in an external image viewer, more info in the video detail window, filtering now works as expected when filtering with many actor tags, sound volume in the player is saved between runs, scene search filters works better with more keywords, delete key now works as shortcut to remove a thumbnail, title of the catalog and actor window now shows the number of displayed items and much more (check the detailed version history in the documentation for a complete list ).
We hope you will enjoy this version and get even more value from your videos.
Today we released Fast Video Cataloger 4, as usual the update is free for customers.
Download it today and test out the new Auto indexing feature
We have been hard at work to bring new features to you as well as improving a few old ones.
Some customers have reported challenges that we track back to video codecs. To address this in an easy way for you as a user, we have included a set of video codecs inside the Fast Video Cataloger software. This means there is always a working set of video codes for playing and indexing files as a fallback, if the ones on your PC does not work properly. It should give an even more stable experience when playing and indexing lots of video files. You find how to switch between different codecs under preferences/Video player.
Password protection and Auto indexing
Sometimes you need that simple password protection on catalogs so they are safe from curios eyes. I used this recently when I needed to turn my computer in for service. You find the password feature either at the creation of a new catalog or in the File menu in an old one
One of the most anticipated features has been the Auto indexing setting. Point to any folder on your disks to be watched by the program. When Fast Video Cataloger run it will identify new video files inside the folder to add to the catalog. This means you can have a Dropbox folder shared with others where you keep your videos.
Security by 256 bit aes encryption
When you need really tight security you can use the masking feature of Fast Video Cataloger 4. This heavy encryption is done on a video file level so even the video files and filenames on your hard disk is encrypted.
Be careful though. This is a full strength encryption 256 bit aes encryption and we do not have any backdoors. I.e. if you lose the encryption keys there is no way for us to help you get the video back, please use this feature with care!
With this feature comes the capability for Fast Video Cataloger to play video files downloaded with Videodownlodhelper. This is a popular Video download helper add-in for Chrome.
We are very pleased with the way Fast Video Cataloger 4 has turned out and hope that all of you great customers continue giving us feedback and support.
Today we released Fast Video Cataloger 3.95, as usual the update is free for current customers.
New video indexing engine
This new version contains a new video indexing engine. The new engine uses a more direct approach to configuring the filters that should be able to index more videos even if DirectShow filters on the computer are misconfigured. This new way of indexing videos is now the default. If you have issues indexing a videos with the new version you can switch back to the old engine from the “Video Indexer” tab in the Preferences, check the “Use windows filters” checkbox. You might also want to switch back if you have rare or custom codecs. A tip, if a video fails to index you can switch index method and retry the failed videos, some might work with the alternative method.
The integrated video player still uses the default Windows filters so it is possible that videos can be indexed but not played back correctly if filters are misconfigured on the computer.
I might write a more detailed post about how the new engine works later. Anyway, the net result of the update is that most people should have less codec issues and an easier time indexing videos.
Every now and then Microsoft releases a new compiler, they did that last year. A new compiler means, in theory, faster and better running code and fixed bug in the base libraries. For this version I took the time to recompile all components of the program with the latest visual studio and the latest c-runtime. In theory this should be an improvement, in practice, you probably wont notice any difference.
New video keyword search
Keyword search now support “ALL” and “ANY” searches. In the “Advanced filter dialog” on the keyword tab you will now find a “match” radio button. We have wanted to update the whole search interface for a while but instead of waiting to do a whole rewrite I decided to get this important improvement in as soon as possible.
Download the latest version from the download page
Today we released a new updated version of Fast video cataloger (3.94) and it is available to download from http://videocataloger.com/download/
We added a new function to automatically select a layout when you either play a video or select a new video. This is pretty useful if you have limited screenspace. When you play a video you typically want to use as much as possible of the screen for the video window and when you pick videos you probably want to see as much as possible of the video list and thumbnails. This new feature is turned off by default so you will need to turn it on from the preferences and select which of your layouts to use for the different cases. Remember that you can create your own layouts really easy in the program, even if you don’t use the auto layouts I recommend that you play around with the layout feature.
Select layout automatically when playing a video
If you have old catalogs with companion images some of these would not show in the previous versions. This has now been fixed and you should be able to see images regardless of if they were added with an old version or a new one.
You can now multiselect files for delete right from the video catalog. In general it is recommended you use the file browser for cleaning up files in your catalogs but this can still be useful if you stumble upon a bunch of videos you want to clean up quickly.
Finally we added an advanced feature for adding companion images. You can now select to only add videos from subfolders with the same name as the video. For example if you have a video in a folder called test_video.avi you can ask the program to search for companion images in a folder called test_video/.
You can now add companion files from subfolders with the same name as the video file.
Hope you like the update and as usual, all feedback is very welcome.
Today we released a new updated version (3.92 ) of Fast video cataloger with new video import functionality and much more.
The most important new feature is a big update to the previous import functionality. In the 3.92 version you can now import an entire video catalog into your current catalog. Videos that has been imported before will be automatically skipped to prevent your catalog to end up with duplicates of all videos.
We also added support to import keywords from another catalog and you still have the option to import actors.
All import functions are accessible from the File menu.
Another less visible improvement the faster video searches. The improvements are probably only noticeable in collections of more than a thousand videos but if you are working with large collections this should hopefully be a welcomed improvement.
The video indexing engine has also been updated to handle yet more cases of broken video files, i.e. the program will gracefully skip the failed videos now instead of crashing. The updated engine also handles some cases of mpeg files that it failed to index in previous versions.
Finally we have a done a bunch of minor fixes and improvements that I won’t mention here. Most should be listed in the documentation.
This updates is a free update for all customers. Download the latest version of Fast video cataloger from http://videocataloger.com/download/.
Since we are developing a video cataloging software we are also getting a bunch of video related questions. These are often questions that require other software packages to get the job done. Here I have collected a bunch of our most frequently asked questions about video tools.
This article is written in 2015, since tools change over time this page may not be relevant or contain broken links if you are reading this a few years after 2015.
All tools recommended here are available for Windows PC.
What is the easiest/best free video editor software?
Easiest and simplest would be Windows Movie maker, it is available for free from Microsoft in the Windows essentials package. Windows Movie Maker is really easy to use and allows you to create videos out of photos, cut and edit videos and share them online.
VSDC Free Video Editor is a free, as in no hidden fees or advertising, non-linear video editor. It features a complete set of instruments for all-round editing and creating of videos. The tool comfortably deals with dozens of video codecs and formats, while visual effects and filters help you making the final video look as pro-like as you need. Fully customizable video editing and the native support for multiple media devices contribute to flexibility of the program.
Lightworks is professional Non-Linear Editing (NLE) software supporting resolutions up to 4K as well as video in SD and HD formats. Lightworks has been used to edit several Hollywood feature films. It has many features but there is a learning curve to get used to the program. Lightworks is available in a free version and a professional version. The free version is limited to video output resolutions of 720p or less.
I’m looking for the easiest/best software to split up a video or merge video’s together.
Most video editing programs can do this, however if you only want to cut out a part of the video you want a tool that does it loss-less. I.e. you don’t have to encode the video again after a section has been cut since this will decrease video quality.
SolveigMM Video Splitter is a Commercial video editor to operate with pre-compressed FLV, AVC/H264, MP4, MOV, AVCHD, MPEG-2, MKV, MPEG-1, AVI, WMV, MP3, WMA files. The editor is lossless and fast, removing unwanted parts of the video with just a few mouse clicks. It claims to keep 99% of data and only transcodes a few frames at the beginning and end of the video segments minimizing the artefacts from recompression and increasing the speed of the program.
Avidemux is a free open source video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities.
What tools do you recommend to convert videos between formats?
There are too many tools to mention here to get the job done. If you do a simple search on the internet you will find a bunch of tools. Most of these tools are just packaged up interfaces to the same open source tools. For most formats there are really no need to pay for a video conversion software.
HandBrake is my goto tool for converting video between nearly any format. It has been around for a very long time and is still being developed.
What professional video editor do you recommend?
Adobes creative cloud includes all of Adobes video tools and is easy to recommend. You can pay per month in you don’t need constant access to them.
I have just uploaded version 3.82 of Fast video cataloger.
You can download this version from the download page at http://videocataloger.com/download/
If you are a customer you should have already gotten an email earlier this week about the new version, a free update for all customers as usuall.
This upgrade, from the previous 3.64 release, contains a whole lot of changes behind the scenes. We have refactored the whole backend of the video catalog system in preparation for future planned features. We have also done an extensive pass on performance so more of the program is executed in parallell on multiple threads. If you have a good computer you should notice that the program is more responsive now, most systems should now be limited by disk I/O speed.
On to the details…
We have added a “connect” dialog that will allow you to connect to a Fast video cataloger server. Please note that this server is stil in beta testing and only available upon request.
We have fixed screen alignment issues in fullscreen mode on Windows 8.1 machines with high dpi screens.
We have added an option to let the program recognized any type as a video or photo files as specified in the preferences. Note that you obviously need to have the correct codecs installed that supports the file extension.
We have added a few more new recognized video file types; ts, tr, trp
Finally we made some small tweaks to the user interface. If you adjust the zoom factor it will snap to make sure you can easily use the full width of the window. I also added a subtle fade to the thumbnails and rewrote population of the thumbnail window image by image so we can display them quicker than before.
Its been close to 5 months now since we did the latest update to Fast video cataloger. That is quite a while but I can assure you the Fast video cataloger software is still very much alive. We have just finished the testing of the lastest version and you can expect it to be uploaded this week to the site. As usual if you bought the software this is going to be a free update and I will send an email once it is available to be downloaded.