Better video file management

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 a large number of small improvements. Little things that together make a huge difference in your everyday use of the program. And that is the topic I write about today.

Greatly improved performance

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 first implemented the new attract windows, I knew we had to pay attention to  performance to make sure the new functions didn’t slow down the program. This turned into quite an undertaking! We ended up not only optimizing the overhead from the new windows, but actually making the whole program more responsive. The most important change is probably that we now run more background threads than we did in earlier versions.

The end result is a user interface that is much more fluent than before, provided you have a multicore CPU in your computer.

A new way to rate videos

We added the rating as a column in the video details list, the idea being that it is now 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.

Multiple keywords

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 immediately from Fast Video Cataloger.

I have been reluctant to add any file operations to the program, opting instead to have most operations work on the video catalog instead of the actual file system. And I tried to keep the file operations we do support in the file organizer window. The one exception to this was the renaming of a video title, as renaming a title will also rename the video file. However, cleaning out files is such a common usage scenario, and has been requested by several users so I decided to add it Fast Video Cataloger 3.5

We have had the option to sync the organizer window automatically with the selected video for some time.  In the file organizer window, you can carry out 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

New video file operations

All in all these are pretty small changes in functionality when working with video files, but I believe they will make a huge difference. I for one use these new functions all the time while 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.

Before 3.5, however, 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 time. You can set the name of each layout in preferences.

I also fixed an assortment 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.

Video player

Fast video cataloger comes with an internal video player. We did not add any new features to the player but we did make some minor changes to how the volume control works. First of all you can set the volume when a video is not playing. We also changed the scale of the volume control so that you can set volume with greater 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

New videodetail columns

Summary

We manage to get a great 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 too. You can download the latest version of fast video cataloger from https://videocataloger.com/download

 

Using Your Movie Collection for Inspiration

You know that problem, when your video collection grows to over a thousand videos? And it becomes next to impossible to remember each and every video file in your collection?

Seeking inspiration from movie file discovery

Keyword search is fine if you know what you’re looking for, but sometimes you 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’re 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 in style!

Video discovery in Fast video cataloger

Since Fast video cataloger 3.5, we’ve been able to use three new Window types that will help you get inspiration from your movies. Or simply help you enjoy your video collection. We call these new windows Attract windows.

Attract Video Wall

The Attract video wall window plays random videos as a wall of videos. Hence the name! The video wall playback shows each video thumbnail in succession, to make it look like a video. It is similar to if you would fast forward the entire video, but with just enough display time per frame to grasp what is going on.

Using the video wall makes it possible to get a pretty good 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 simultaneously. And the human brain is surprisingly good at getting this information, and I think it’s probably the fastest way to ingest video content.

Attract video wall showing food videos - this is how to handle large collections of movies!

Attract video wall showing food videos

The Attract video wall takes this type of browsing to the next level by pulling 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, then this 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.

How to cycle through all actors in your video catalog

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. But the more we worked with video catalogs, the more we realized that actors could really 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 – according to your needs and preferences. Most of the time you might not need them, but they are incredibly useful for the time when you want to get inspired or simply enjoy your video collection.

Support for setting up different layouts and switching between them.

Note the checkbox to show companion images and not only covers in the attract cover window.

You can download a free trial copy of Fast video cataloger. Fast video cataloger is available for Windows PC computers running Windows Vista or later.

How to find duplicate video files

Duplicate video files (exact copies of a file stored in different folders ) not only occupy unnecessary disk space, but also makes it harder to have an organized video collection.

Additionally if you add meta data to only one copy of the video, that data is not shared with the other duplicate files.

Fast Video Cataloger has a quick and easy tool to help you find duplicate videos, wherever they lie 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 this can happen. Perhaps you downloaded the same file twice, moved video files from a digital camera more than once (just to be sure… we’ve all done it!), 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 ( https://videocataloger.com/download/ ) select File then 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 knows 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. The time this takes depemds on how many videos you have in your catalog and how many of them are duplicate.

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, as this will rule out most videos as duplicates. It then checks the size of the video files in bytes.

Both of these operations are quite 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 some time for large video files. The checksum is then stored in your catalog, so each file will only need to have the checksum calculated 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 some time, it will be quicker carrying out 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 further.

Since the program needs access to the actual video files to be able to compare the videos, you need to make sure that external USB drivers are connected if required. 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 will 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 have been merged

Duplicate videos have been merged

When the merge is complete, 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.