The powerful video player in Fast video cataloger

The internal video player

Fast video cataloger has a build in video player that quickly lets you play videos from the time of the thumbnails. The internal video player is part of your layout, and can be configured to your needs. The video player can be configured in the preferences under the “video player” tab. When you change the selected type of video player, that change will happen for the next video you play.

The preference page for the integrated video player in fast video cataloger

Video player to use

“Best” option

The “Best” option is the safest bet for playing your videos. It tries a list of options one by one starting with the build in video player through the MadVR or vmr9 renderer. If that fails it tries the installed DirectShow filters and so on. (The actual internal order is Direct + MadVR, Direct + vmr9, directshow smartconnect + vmr9, directshow smartconnect + vmr7, directshow smartconnect + evr, asf).
Since this option also tries locally installed Directshow codecs there is a small risk of running into issues with badly configured codecs on your computer. This may cause Fast Video Cataloger player to become unstable and freeze. To resolve this you either need to fix the installed codecs or switch to one of the other video player options.

“SmartConnect VMR9” option

The “SmartConnect VMR9” option uses directshow smartconnect to find locally installed codecs and render the video with video mixing renderer 9. Use this option if you want the program to use directshow codecs you have installed and configured yourself or through a codec pack.

“SmartConnect VMR7” option

The “SmartConnect VMR7” option uses directshow smartconnect to find locally installed codecs and render the video with video mixing renderer 7. This option is legacy and would very rarely be the best or recommended choice.

“SmartConnect EVR” option

The “SmartConnect EVR” option uses directshow smartconnect to find locally installed codecs and render the video with enhanced video renderer. This option should give a bit better performance and video quality compared to VMR9 but there is a known windows issue with the video rendering on top and outside of windows.

“Direct” option

“Direct” is the most stable option and will only use the bundled codecs. Rendering is done through VMR9. This option will not consider local directshow filters.

“Direct + MadVR” option

“Direct + MadVR” is the same as “Direct” with improved rendering quality. It uses the hardware accelerated MadVR renderer if it is installed on the computer. Since MadVR is dependent on the gpu and graphics drivers there is a risk this will cause stability issues as well on some computers. If this is the case, try updating to the latest MadVR, update your graphics drivers and if it still fails you simply switch to another video player option.

“Direct, No Sound” option

“Direct, No Sound” is the same as the “direct” but without any sound, i.e. it will NOT even attempt to render any audio. This is the most stable option and the fastest. Select this option if you don’t need sound or are having issues with a video in “Direct” mode.

The other video player settings

There are a few other useful and interesting settings that come in handy in some cases.

Video Start offset will start the video this many seconds in the video and not from the very start. This is useful if you want to skip banner screens at the start of videos.
Stretch will stretch videos to fill the video player window.
Restart from thumbplay will stop and then start at the time of thumbnails instead of seeking directly to the time. This is a bit slower bit might be needed for some rare video files, try it if nothing happens when you click on a thumbnail.
For each video in this folder and Also try playing from here allow you to let the player try another root folder without changing the catalog. This is useful for example when you have videos in your catalog from an external harddrive h:. At one time you inserted a usb stick and Windows has therefor changed the drive letter of your external harddrive to g:. If you fill in h: and g: in these two fields it will allow the videos to play even though the catalog reference paths are not valid. There are other fixes to this problem. You can use the Repair tool to update your catalog or use windows device manager to ensure the drive letters are always the same. But we want to provide this quick and handy temporary solution. Sometimes you simply want to move on and not fix problems with paths.

External video player

You can also configure Fast video cataloger to play your videos in any external video player on your computer. You can do this either by entering the path to your preferred video player on the “general” preference tab. The advanced option if you have a player you prefer is to create a custom action. The custom action let you pass extra arguments to the external video player.

Fast Video Cataloger 4.3x adds MadVR support

New Fast video cataloger version

Fast Video Cataloger 4.3 is now ready for download from http://videocataloger.com/download/
This is a free upgrade for all Fast video cataloger customers, use the same key as in previous versions.

Improvements to the integrated video player

In this version we have made several improvements to the integrated video player.

We have added support for MadVR, a GPU based video renderer that basically uses your graphics card to improve video quality. MadVR will be used if the video player preferences in Fast Video Cataloger is set to “Best” or “Direct with MadVR”. MadVR is not included with the installer but you can download it for free from their web site

We have fixed issues with videos that failed to play with sound. We have also added an option to force video to ignore the sound track. If you don’t want/need sound it will make starting the video a bit quicker. Another advantage is that issues with the sound stream will not cause video playback or seek problems.

And we have improved the stability of the video player and managed to get rid of a few cases of videos that could cause the program to freeze.

Other improvements and features

When indexing videos the program will now look for nfo xml files and if one is found it will take tags (keywords), plot (description) and title from the nfo xml file for each video and add that automatically to your catalog.

Some reported issues where the layout was not saved correctly have been fixed.

Fixed rare out of memory issue due to fragmentation, for some reason this seemed to be more common in Asian versions of Windows.

And… lots and lots of other fixes and improvements.

We have already started work on the next version, stay tuned. As always we welcome feedback or ideas on how to improve the software.

New version out now – Fast Video Cataloger 4.12

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.

Easy Backup

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).

Optimize database

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.

Fast Video Cataloger 4

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

Stability improvements

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.

Download today and try out the new features

Improved video keyword search

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.

Updated components
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

Auto layouts and companion images from video folders

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

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.

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.

New improved video import function in Fast video cataloger

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/.

Recommended Video Tools 2015

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.

 

Fast Video Cataloger 3.82 released

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.

New version soon…

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.