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

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.

Where can I download video covers?

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?

http://www.freecovers.net/
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,
currently $10.

http://www.impawards.com/
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

Blue video covers. Image by brett jordan

http://moviecovers.com/
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.

http://www.imdb.com/
The internet movie database might not be a straight cover web site but it still a really great site for finding movie art.

http://www.cdcovers.cc/
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.

 

10 tips for working with video files

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.

13 Performance tips for Windows applications and Fast video cataloger

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.

NAS storage

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.