Videos are easy to produce via iphones, GoPros, Dropcams, HD DSLRs or any screen capture software. Information in video format is becoming as common as text to more and more people and it has just only begun. This video revolution creates a desperate need to handle videos smarter and creates opportunities for new companies alongside the giant youtube. One such area is Video Discovery as we see by Jinni, Popscreen and Reddit.tv. These are off course following in the wake of the gigant Youtube but they seem to address a real problem that people want solved.
Video search or video discovery
Video Discovery is usually defined as digging up entertaining videos online that you did not knew existed. It can be video discovery for linear TV, Video on demand, youtube videoclips, editorially or socially curated video feeds, etc. and differs from regular search for videos since you have no idea what you are looking for. I argue that the online video discovery is however only half the problem on videos and thus only half the solution.
Find the video in dont remember – Video rediscovery
The other half of Video Discovery is about your own videos. Finding the right video clip is really difficult when you have thousands of videos on your drives. Myself, I have the challenge of family videos dating back to 2004 that is ordered on dates. When I try to find a video I have a memory of I can choose between guessing until I find the video I am looking for or I use Fast Video Cataloger to find it in seconds. It becomes really clear when you dont know what you are looking for, that you need a great tool for family video discovery. video discovery is one of the new features in Fast Video Cataloger that I have used almost every day. I now enjoy the pleasure of getting entertained by my own family vacation videos that I have forgotten about. This video rediscovery topic is important and your own videos always outperform the new video of cute kittens in entertainment value.
We just released the 3.5 version of our video file management software, Fast video cataloger.
The last couple of days I have been writing about the main new features in this version. First the new tool that helps you to eliminate duplicate video files in your video collection.
Then I wrote about the new attract windows that let you enjoy your video collection in a unique way.
However, most of the development time invested in version 3.5 went into many small improvements. Little things that together makes a huge difference in your everyday use of the program. THAT is the topic I write about today.
The first thing we added to fast video cataloger was the new attract windows. Since these windows need to rotate content they need to load and decode images. One of the slowest operations you can do with a computer is to read or write from a mechanical disk drive.
When I had implemented the new attract windows I knew we had to do a pass on performance to make sure the new functions didn’t slow down the program. I did a full pass on performance optimization. We ended up not only optimizing the overhead from the new windows but actually made the whole program more responsive. The most important change is probably that we now run more background worker threads than we did in earlier versions.
The end result is a user interface much more fluent than before, provided you have a multicore CPU in your computer.
New way to rate videos
We added the rating as a column in the video details list, this way it is much faster to rate videos. We use stars that you simply click to light up similar to ratings in Amazon. This saves one click every time you want to rate a video as you don’t need to open up the dropdown menu like in previous versions.
When setting keywords to multiple videos you now simply select, mark and add. For multiple keywords you enter a comma (,) separated list of keywords right away. This makes it a lot easier to set multiple keywords to multiple videos.
Extended file operations
When you browse a video collection it is pretty common that you find video files you don’t want to keep for one reason or another. I added the option to delete the file and remove it straight from Fast Video Cataloger.
I have been pretty reluctant to add any file operations to the program opting to have most operations work on the video catalog instead of the actual file system. And the file operations we do support I tried to keep them to the File organizer window. The one exception to this was the renaming of a video title, renaming a title will also rename the video file. However, cleaning out files is such a common use case and has been requested by several users so I decided to add it Fast Video Cataloger 3.5
Since before we have the option to sync the organizer window automatically with the selected video. In the file organizer window you can do any file operations on your video files. In this version we added the option to force sync the file organizer window with the selected video.
New video file operations
All in all these are pretty small changes in functionality when working with video files but I think they will make a huge difference. I for one use these new functions all the time when cleaning up my catalogs.
The dynamic layout
Fast video cataloger has a very dynamic user interface. You set it up as you like and you can do it across several computer screens. In the 3.2 version we added multiple layouts that you can switch between with the function keys. It can be a big efficiency boost to have specific layouts for different types of work. For example to have one layout used for adding videos, one for keywording and one for viewing videos.
However, before 3.5 it was pretty hard to keep track of which layout you selected. Now when you switch layouts the name of the layout you switch to is displayed for a short moment. You can set the name of each layout in preferences.
I also fixed a bunch of windows bugs, in some cases it was impossible to open windows that had been closed unless you reset the layout. This is now fixed and the handling of layout windows in general should be much more stable and layout switching easier to understand.
Fast video cataloger comes with an internal video player. We did not add any new features to the player but we did some minor changes to how the volume control works. First of all you can set the volume when a video is not playing, that was not possible before. We also changed the scale of the volume control so that you can set volume with better precision.
More video detail columns
I mentioned earlier that we added ratings as a video details column. I also added a file size and the last modified time of the video file as sortable columns. The file size size and time was also added to the “add videos” list, this is really useful if you only want to add new video files or just the large files.
New videodetail columns
We manage to get a fair number of small improvements into Fast video cataloger 3.5. All in all I am really happy with the new version and hope you are, or will be. You can download fast video cataloger from http://videocataloger.com/download
When your video collection grows to one thousand videos and more it becomes hard to remember each and every video file In your collection.
Inspiration from movie file discovery
Keyword search is fine, if you know what you are looking for, but sometimes you just might just want to use your movie collection for inspiration.
For example if you have all your family videos In a collection it might just be nice to watch random videos and remember old friends, old vacation or your children growing up. If you are doing creative work you might want to use your video collection for inspiration, for example by watching random stock videos to get ideas for new designs. Fast video cataloger has the tools to do just this on overdrive.
Video discovery in Fast video cataloger 3.5
In Fast video cataloger 3.5 ( http://videocataloger.com ) we introduced three new Window types that will help you get inspiration from your movies or simply help you enjoy your video collection. We call the new windows Attract windows.
Attract Video Wall
The Attract video wall window plays random videos as a video wall. The video wall playback shows each video thumbnail in quick sequence to make it look like a video. It is kind of like if you would fast forward the entire video but with enough display time per frame to just grasp what is going on. Using the video wall makes it possible to watch and get the idea of what happens in an entire video just by watching it for a few seconds. The video wall let you watch a bunch of videos in that way at the same time, the human brain is surprisingly good an getting this information and I think it is probably the fastest way to ingest video content.
Attract video wall showing food videos
The Attract video wall takes this type of browsing to the next level by rotating in random videos. If a video is interesting, just hover the mouse above the thumbnail and the program will stay on that video. You can then right click to select or play the full video from the video wall.
Attract actors window
The Attract actor windows cycles through all actors in your video catalog one by one in an image carousel. Depending on the type of video collection you have you might now have actors set to your videos. If you don’t have any actors simply close the attract actors window and don’t use it. If you do have actors the attract actor window is a nice way to see them all. You can quickly jump to more details on the Actor by right clicking them. You can also filter out videos where the selected actor is in the cast.
Attract actor window
Actors are more than people
When we did the first version of Fast video cataloger, Actors made sense and we thought of Actors as people acting in movies. The more we worked with video catalogs the more we realized that actors really could be anything that takes part in a video where you want to be able to associate more meta-data than a simple keyword. For example, if you make commercial videos, the actors can be the brand you do the commercials for. If you are doing work for hire videos that customer might be the actor and you might want to store their company information in the actor description.
Attract cover window
The Attract cover window shows random cover images as an image slideshow. In the preferences you can select if you want to show only cover images or companion images as well.
Attract companion image showing one of the dishes.
Just like with the other attract windows you can “pause” the slideshow rotation by moving the mouse cursor above the image. Right click the image to jump to its video. In the same way as Actors, a Cover image does not necessarily have to be a cover, it can be any good image representing the video.
Using layouts for video discovery
Fast video cataloger has good support for setting up different layouts and switching between them. I would recommend that you create a specific layout for the attract windows. Most of the time you might not need them but they are sure nice for the time when you want to get inspired or simply enjoy your video collection.
Note the check box to show companion images and not only covers in the attract cover window.
You can download a free trial copy of Fast video cataloger from http://VideoCataloger.com/download/. Fast video cataloger is available for Windows PC computers running Windows Vista or later.
Duplicate video files ( exact same copies of a file stored in different folders ), not only occupies unnecessary disk space but also makes it much harder to have an organized video collection. If you add meta-data to one video that data is not shared with the other duplicate copy.
In Fast video cataloger 3.5 we introduced a new tool to help you find duplicate videos in your catalog.
When you have a large video collection it is pretty likely you eventually will end up with multiple copies of the same video stored in different folders or on different disks.
How do you end up with duplicate video files?
There are many ways to end up with duplicate video files. Perhaps you downloaded the same file twice, moved video files from a digital camera more than once (just to be sure…), renamed a video file and then didn’t know you already had a file and so on.
How to find and clean duplicate video files
From Fast video cataloger ( http://videocataloger.com/download/ ) select then file menu and Repair. The Repair window will open, click on the “Check duplicate” tab to get to the find duplicate videos tool.
Selecting the repair tool
The Find duplicate video tool in fast video cataloger works on all videos you have in a catalog so there will be no need to pick the folders to search for, the program already know where all videos are stored.
Selecting the find duplicate video tab
From the find duplicate window tab click the Start button to start scanning your entire video catalog for duplicate video files. Depending on how many videos you have in your catalog and how many of them are duplicate this could be really quick or quite slow.
How Fast video cataloger finds duplicate files
When Fast video cataloger tries to find duplicate video files it first check the length of the video, this will rule out most videos as duplicates. It then checks the size of the video files in bytes.
Both of these operations are pretty fast but for all videos that are the same size and the same video length the program needs to do a much more thorough check to make sure the videos are really the exact same video file only in different locations.
Scanning for duplicate video files
To do this check it calculates a 256 bit checksum based on the whole video file. To calculate this checksum the program needs to read every single byte of the video file and that can take a while for large video files. The checksum is then stored in your catalog, so each file will only needs to calculate the checksum one. This also means that you can close the program and it will resume the next time where it left off. And if you have scanned for duplicates at one time it will likely be quicker doing the next scan after you have added more files to your catalog.
The algorithm used to calculate and to compare videos is the same used by several cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The risk that the program will say that two different files are the same by mistake as a result of the same checksum being generated from different video files is virtually non existing. Or to put it into context with an example:
”A mass-murderer space rock happens about once every 30 million years on average. This leads to a probability of such an event occurring in the next second to about 10-15. That’s 45 orders of magnitude more probable than the collision.”
And the extra check for the size and video length reduce this risk even futher.
Since the program needs access to the actual video files to be able to compare the videos, you need to make sure you connect external USB drivers where you have videos from your catalog. If the video file is not available the program will simply ignore it, to check for missing files use the repair video tool instead.
What to do with the duplicate video files?
When the program has found the duplicate videos you get a list of the duplicates find. Click on each entry and the program will list all duplicates it found, click on the duplicate file you want to keep.
Selecting which video file to keep.
When you have gone through the list and selected the files to keep click the Merge Videos button.
File description, ratings and obviously the path and filename vill be kept for the one video file you select to keep. The keywords and actors from the other copies will be merged to the catalog entry for the one file you keep.
Duplicate videos has been merged
When the mergin is done the duplicate files will be deleted.
The new duplicate video file finder tool makes it easier to keep your video collection ordered.
If you have not already, go to the download page and download fast video cataloger ( http://videocataloger.com/download/ )
For immediate release: Fast Video Cataloger 3.5 get feature for video discovery
Videostorm Sweden AB has released Fast Video Cataloger 3.5 to
introduce a discovery mode for offline video clips. Fast Video
Cataloger is a video clip management software for Windows that
presents synopses of large quantities of video files. Visual
search in combination with metadata and keywords let users find
scenes inside videos in a natural way without playing them.
Fast Video Cataloger 3 is a video clip management software for
Windows designed to handle thousands of video files on a
standard PC. The program extracts a wall of thumbnail images to
represent all scenes in each video. This provides a visual
search through inside video files instead of watching the
duration of clips. Each thumbnail doubles as a playable bookmark
for that scene and is manually enriched with keywords for
filtering and searching. Fast Video Cataloger 3.5 introduces
three new windows with functions to assist with video discovery. .
Fast Video Cataloger 3.5 is a personal video clip management
software for Windows with a changeable user layout to fit into
existing video workflows. Each video is represented by a wall of
thumbnail images that combined provides an overview of the whole
collection. New thumbnails and keywords can be added manually
by the user during playback. Search by keywords to find all
individual scenes in the entire catalog matching that keyword.
Drag and drop files from Fast Video Catalog 3.5 to external
video tools for direct access. Fast Video Cataloger version 3.5
adds a build-in tool to automatically remove duplicate video files.
Fast Video Cataloger 3.5 is a Windows tool for communicators,
educators, instructors, researchers, security professionals,
digital media labs, police intelligence specialists, and
everybody who manages video clip collections.
Fast Video Cataloger runs under Windows 8.x/7/Vista/ with .NET
framework. A single-user license costs $197(US). Multi-user
discounts are available. You can download a trial version of
Fast Video Cataloger from http://videocataloger.com/.
The 3.50 update is free for all customers and you can use your original registration information. We have lots of minor improvements and bug fixes as usuall and there has been a focus on performance and workflow that should make a few common operations faster and more streamlined.
New Attract windows
In the 3.50 version we introduced three new windows in a new category that I would like to call “Attract Windows”. The purpose of the attract windows are to cycle throught content auomatically from your video catalog. Just like with all other windows you can decide to use these windows, just close them or use them in specific layouts. My hope is that the attract window is a new inspiring way to enjoy your video catalog, perhaps to get inspiration.
- The Actor attract window cycles through actors one by one.
- The Cover attract window cycles though covers and/or companion images one by one
- The Attract Video Wall is a new video wall window that plays a video wall for a few seconds ( that you set from preferences) and then switches the videos to a new set of random videos.
For each attract window you can right click to get options to go to editable versions of the content.
New find duplicate videos tools
A new tool to find duplicate video files was introduced. This tools makes it really easy to clean out duplicate videos from your catalog and optionally delete them and save some space on your disks. You can find the tool as a tab in the Repair windows.
Other bug fixes
You can now set volume even if a video is not playing. Also, the scale of the volume control is now much better and the whole slider is used.
General performance improvements. This one is hard to prove and explain but you will find that some operations, for example keywording, is much faster.
Fixed a bunch of issues with disapearing windows that required layout reset to reappear.
Other general improvements
Star rating in the video detail list instead of a drop down list, save a click every time you rate a video.
The About box now show video catalog statistics.
Video file size and date modified in the add video dialog and detail list. This is good if you only want to add large files to a catalog if you have an sd and an hd version of a file, or if you only want to add the last touched file.
Added a Right click option to sync file organizer to video. This is good to have if you don’t have the automatic sync turned on. The automatic sync can cause performance issues if you have videos on powered down disk drives.
Right click option to remove a video file from disk and from catalog. You could do this before from the file organizer but since this is a pretty common thing to do when cleaning up a catalog, we added a menu option for it.
Option to show/hide horisontal video details horizontal scrollbar. With more columns a scrollbar is good to have but it does take screenspace. This might sound like a small thing and it is, but I have had emails from users that wants it there and users that hate that it is there. So now everyone can set it up as they like it.
Copy from actors, just right click the actor portrait to copy it into the clipboard. Might be useful if you edit portrait in Photoshop or another image editing program.
Support to enter multiple keywords at once with , separation.
Added message when you switch between layouts to make it more clear that you did switch to a new layout. Remember that you can set name to the layours as well from the preferences.
And much more… Download and test from http://videocataloger.com/download/
If you keep a digital video collection it might be nice to have covers images stored with your video files.
In Fast video cataloger ( http://videocataloger.com ) it is easy to add covers to a video. You simply drag imagefile to the upper part of the companion image window. You can also let the program detect covers automatically when a video file is added to your catalog.
But where to you find the covers in the first place?
Freecovers.net is a website dedicated to cover art and graphics, whether that be audio, film or
game based. It does require you to register to be able to download. You can download the covers
for free but to get the full resolution cover images you need to pay a yearly membership free,
Is a movie poster site. You can download covers for free and there is non registration required.
The posters are fairly low resolution.
Blue video covers. Image by brett jordan
Is a french cover site. But even if you don’t understand the language it is pretty easy to
navigate if you know what you are looking for. No registration is required to download.
The internet movie database might not be a straight cover web site but it still a really great site for finding movie art.
This site claims to be the worlds largest cover image site, lots and lots of dvd covers. And most seem to be user provided so the quality is mixed. No registration is required.
And finally http://www.seekacover.com/ is another Cd and DVD cover site that does not require any registration.
Working with video doesn’t have to be slow, painful or frustrating. Irrespective of which video software you choose to work with, there are steps you can take to make the process quicker and easier.
1. Always use Fast video cataloger to find (and move) video files you care about
Move video files by dragging them from the video catalog to the folder where you want to store the file. When moving files from inside Fast video cataloger your catalog will always be consistent with your file system.
2. Create a dedicated file organizing layout
Fast video cataloger has support for multiple layouts and you can quickly switch between them from the windows/layout menu or shortcut keys (F5-f12). When working with video files you typically want other windows open than when you are searching and browsing your video catalog. To use a new layout first select the layout, arrange the windows as you like them and select “Save current layouts”. Layouts will be saved across program runs.
3. Use the autotag feature
When a file is moved by drag n drop from the catalog view, an autotag can applied to the video. In preferences (on the File Organizer tab) you can set the autotag text and you can also decide to hide all videos that has been autotagged. Hiding is useful when sorting a large list of videos in your catalog and want to go through each and every one of them. In this case, when every video has been moved the list will be empty.
4. Move companion files with videos
Companion files are supporting files in the same folder as a video. A typical example of a companion file is a video cover image. When you drag a video from the catalog list to a new folder the companion files can follow automatically. In preferences check the “move companion image” option on the “file organizer” tab. You can also specify a file pattern for what files be moved with the video file.
5. Sync to folder
In preferences there is an option called “Autosync to videofolder”. When this option is checked the folder window will automatically switch folder when you select a video in the catalog to the folder of the selected video. This is really useful when, for example, adding companion files from video folders. Note, however, that the program can add the companion files automatically during indexing if that option is checked.
6. Switch to Thumbnail view
The file pane in the file organizer can display files in different views just like windows explorer. Right click on an empty part of the file window and change the view from the view menu.
7. Hide File organizer when not needed
If you are not working with organizing files or similar, hiding the file organizer will improve performance. When the file organizer window is accessing your computers hard drive to present lists of files it can slow down the program, especially in thumbnail mode if the thumbs needs to be generated. If the file organizer is hidden there will be no performance issue.
8. Archive videos you seldom need
Use the archive function to archive videos you seldom view to external disk. Label the external archive media with the archive tool and put a sticker on it with that label. Now it will be easy to know what files are on which device. You can now browse your full collection and when playing you just load the right external media to enjoy the old videos.
9. Use your favorite video tool in combination with Fast with Cataloger
Want to run a video tool on a video file? Create a custom action from the action tab in preferences.
10. Rename files from the video catalog
You can rename video files directly from the catalog list. Simply click on the name to change the title of the video. The video file name will automatically be renamed to match the new name of the video.
Here are 13 ideas for how to improve performance when working with videos in Fast video cataloger. Fast video cataloger is normally a very fast program, but as with most programs sometimes it is not as quick as you would like to.
General performance tips for any Windows software
Make sure you have an adequately equipped computer
Fast video catloger is designed to run on a computer with 2 gb of memory and an intel i5 cpu or better. The program will use more than one cpu core if available. It will also make use of a dedicated graphics card if you have one installed, it does not have to be a state of the art graphics card, just about any dedicated card will be enough. the program will run on less than this spec but this is what I personally recommend, less than this might have a significant impact on performance.
Make sure your CPU it is not throttled
This tip applies to if you run the program on a laptop. Most, if not all, laptops have power save features that can be set to anything between performance and energy saving. Try changing the power save mode, this can have a huge performance impact. Some laptops automatically try to save energy i.e. throttles the cpu when the power cord is disconnected, try if there is a difference running on battery or plugged into the wall.
Close other running programs
Programs running in the background can take a significant chunk of performance from your cpu and put load on your disk system. If you feel Fast video cataloger is slower than usuall check the following common issues related to software:
Do you have heavy web pages loaded in your browser ( Chrome is especially evil as it fidcles with internal Windows timers )?
- Is Windows update running?
- Do you have a scheduled virus scan running?
- Is Windows defragmentation running?
- Any other heavy program running that you usually don’t have running?
Run windows disk defragmenter
If your hard drive is fragmented it will slow down all I/O. When indexing video files fast video catalog uses the hard drive ALOT, a fragmented drive will significantly reduce efficiency. Run the Disk Defragmenter tool from accessories / system tools.
Tips specific to Fast video cataloger
Store your catalog on an SSD
Fast video cataloger saves changes to the catalog as they happen, there is never a need to save your catalog that always happens automatically. Try to place your video catalog file on the fastest device you have. Preferable an SSD drive or the internal hard drive. Video files can be stored on external drives as they are accessed way slower.
Turn off virus scanner on the video catalog
Turn off virus scanning for the vcat file extension. If you are an advanced user and know what you are doing you can most likely also turn off virus scanning for your video folder.
Storing video files on a nas device is recommended and a good idea. The vcat file should preferable be stored on your fastest device and the internal drive is faster than a NAS. However, if you want to access the catalog from several computers you might need to have the catalog on a shared NAS device. In this case make sure to run automatic backups on the folder where the vcat file is stored. Automatic backup takes a copy of the catalog file every time it is written to, this will happen a lot and will waste space on your NAS as well as reduce performance.
Do not index videos while browsing
You can index video in the background as you are working with Fast video cataloger. However, indexing video is a heavy operation, it typically accesses the disk more and uses more CPU power than just playing the video. If you feel the program is sluggish simply pause the indexing process while you are working with the software and resume it when you are not using your computer.
Hide windows that you do not need
Fast video cataloger has a number of different windows that each has a specific function. Some of these windows does heavy computations in the background. Always hide windows that you do not use. The attract windows and the file organizer windows are the heaviest. The video player window only takes performance when it is playing a video.
Set the right size to video frames
You can set the size of video frame thumbnails. Setting a video frame size that is larger than the resolution of the video is possible but pretty pointless, you bet the same result from the zoom function. The larger size of video frames you capture the larger your catalog and the more memory the program will need and the more cpu it will need to decompress the video frame thumbnails.
Set the right number of frames to capture
You can set the intervals between the video frames when you capture. The more frames you capture per video the more memory and performance will be required.
Make sure companion images are of a reasonable size
Fast video cataloger has support for adding companion images to videos. These images will be displayed in the attract window and in the companion images window. There is no limit on the size of the companion images but adding huge images, like what you get by default from a high res digital camera, will take time to decompress.
Disable Sync to file folder
Fast video cataloger has the option to automatically sync the file view to where the video that click in the video catalog is stored. You can enable this feature from the preferences and it will not work if the file organizer window is hidden. However, when the file view browses to the location of the video it will need to access the disk and this can take time, especially if the disk has powered down, then it can take several seconds.
We are constantly working to improve the fast video cataloger software. Among the most recent improvement are the Video wall Window and the ability to have a bunch of user layouts that you can quickly switch between.
Here is a little insight into what we are currently doing to improve the program, all the things we have planned are the result from user feedback. If you have ideas on how to improve the program feel free to contact us and share your suggestion, we read all mails!
The video wall allows you to watch a time laps view of all your videos, it is the quickest way that I know of to browse through a lots of videos. The video wall is actually a first step to the next major update to Fast video cataloger, what we are working on right now. Video wall was supposed to be part of this update but it turned out so well that we did an intermediate release with just this function (try it yourself by downloading fast video cataloger http://videocataloger.com/download ).
The next focus in our roadmap is to add attract windows for actors, covers and videos. The attract windows will present your video catalog automatically in an interesting way. The attract windows will help you enjoy and discover your content and I am pretty excited about this new feature. You will probably want to setup a special layout for the attract windows.
When we have completed the attract windows the next thing on our list is a new tool to check for duplicate content. If you have a large catalog it is pretty easy to have the same video saved from two different folder. We want to add a tool to automatically detect this case and merge the two videos in the catalog.
After that we will do a pass on improving search and filtering. We have a bunch of ideas on what could be better but we have not yet decided on the details, again, feedback is very welcome.