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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Desktop movie file discovery

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

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

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.

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.

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.

How to find duplicate video files

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

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

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

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.

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

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/ )