Fast video cataloger is the best way to manage large local video collections. Metadata allow you to quickly search and find what you are looking for. This text will help you work smart and save time with video folders in Fast video cataloger.
Video metadata and the catalog
In Fast video cataloger, all metadata is stored in a video database called a video catalog. The metadata allows you to tag videos for searching, add descriptions to videos and quickly preview thumbnails from videos.
There are several reasons why keeping the metadata catalog separate from the actual video files is a very good idea.
Making a backup of the metadata is easy as the size of it is small.
Search is quicker as the metadata is separate and in one place.
You can still access videos using external programs as the original video file exists and is not bundled inside a database.
Issues with storing absolute paths
In Fast video cataloger, the videos in the catalog are references through paths.
But… there are some issues with storing links to videos as paths that all boil down to the link can become invalid.
If the device where the videos are stored changes name the path breaks for all videos on that device. This is very common if you, for example, have videos on external drives that are mounted in different orders.
If you want to move your catalog to another computer, all links need to be updated.
If you share videos through dropbox but the dropbox folder is on a different location on different computers.
Fast video cataloger has a repair function that you can use to scan the catalog for broken paths and update them.
Using special video folders
Recently we added a new feature in Fast video cataloger called special folders. They help you solve this problem much easier and quicker than before.
Special folders are variables (symbolic paths) at the start of a video path. Special folders are only resolved to real absolute paths when the video is actually accessed. Real paths are converted to special folders when a video is added to the catalog.
There are a few native special folders. And, you can define your own special folders from the “special folder” tab in preferences.
Local special folder
The first native special folder is [LOCAL]. Video paths starting with [LOCAL] are basically paths relative from your video catalog file. [LOCAL] resolves to the folder where your video catalog is stored. When you add a video to a folder that is stored in a subfolder relative to where your catalog file is, it will automatically be converted to a [LOCAL] path. This allows you to create a folder structure with your catalog in the root and all videos in subfolders. You can then move the whole folder structure to other folders or devices and all paths in your catalog will still work.
Cloud storage special folders
The second type of native special folders is cloud storage locations like [DROPBOX] and [ONEDRIVE]. They will automatically be used whenever you add videos from your dropbox folder if you have dropbox installed. The path for cloud storage is read from the Windows registry.
Custom special folders
You can also create your own special folders. You can for example create a mapping called [EXTERNAL] to an external USB drive. After you have set that mapping up and you add video from that external drive it will be stored as [EXTERNAL]/path to video file. If you then at a later point need to move that drive to another drive letter you can simply update the mapping in preferences and everything will work as before.
Using just a few keyboard shortcuts can get you a lot more efficient with Fast video cataloger. Here are the shortcuts I use regularly in Fast video cataloger.
Use the interactive smart search
Press CTRL – I to bring up the interactive smart search input field in the top bar. Type your search terms, and press “Enter” to search, then CTRL-I again to hide the window and go back to shortcut use. If you know your catalog this is by far the fastest way to filter a video collection. You can use the smart search to search keyword as well as other properties like for example the path. You can also use several search terms to quickly narrow down your search. If you for example type: c:\tmp\ 2019 you would find any videos in the c:\tmp folder or subfolders tagged with 2019.
Look in the documentation for how the smart interactive search works, if you are not using it you are missing out on one of the most powerful features in the software.
Iteractive video search lets you quickly drill down in huge video collections
Jump through the filtered video list
The ALT – o/l shortcut will let you go to the previous or next video in the current filtered list. It will work regardless of the video catalog window is visible or not.
Scrub through the selected video
Use ALT – j/l to jump to the next thumbnail in the currently selected video. This will let you quickly scrub through a video.
Use CTRL – “+” / “-“ to change the size of video thumbnails quickly. This can be very useful if you have lots of screens from a video and to see more of the video without using the mouse for scrolling.
And find the preferences
Press CTRL – p to instantly bring up the preferences.
Layouts are important
Setup a few ones and quickly switch between them with F1-F8. Layouts let you use the screen estate efficiently for your current tasks. Take the time to configure your own layouts.
Actions can have shortcuts
Did you know that you can assign custom shortcuts to actions and that actions can run external programs or fast video cataloger scripts?
All the shortcuts mentioned in this text are the default ones. You can reassign them if you would like to.
Check when you can use the Shift key. Some of the functions in the program have different meanings if the shift key is held down when the menu is selected. For example, the “Add to playlist” will work differently when the shift key is pressed.
The Videowall is meant to provide a massive preview of your entire catalog at once. It loops through all your video scenes in all your videos from start to end, all in the same window if it fits.
Video wall gives you an animated overview of your current search results. Attract video wall shows a random selection of videos from your entire catalog.
The Videowall is a great tool for quick overviews and can be used to get a first grasp of the content of the catalog holds for content or if you are looking for something special among lots of videos. For example, if you have over a hundred of long surveillance videos you might want to look at them all at once just to figure which ones to really look into.
Once you find something interesting simply double click to get all the video scenes(Video scenes or thumbnails are shortcuts to time in a video) for that video. From the Video Scenes window, you can start playing directly from each scene that you find interesting, just by clicking them.
This article will show you how to get the high-quality video playback on your Windows PC. I will show you how to use madVR, a very popular high-quality DirectShow video renderer that uses the power of your graphics card to provide fast and very high-quality video playback.
DirectShow is a software component system from Microsoft. With DirectShow, a developer can create a video player that supports all video formats on the market. This is possible without having to implement all the video formats. Players can also support new video formats without doing any update to the video player software. So pretty awesome, let’s dig more into how DirectShow works.
How DirectShow works
A DirectShow filter is a piece of software packaged in a file with the .ax extension. Filters are registered in the windows registry. Video players then query the Windows registry for filters. The application can then build a filter graph to transform frames from a video into pixels on the screen.
Let us break down the simplest type of DirectShow filter in an application.
First, the application uses an input filter to read the video file. The input filter sends the data to a decoder filter. The decoder filter decodes the video stream and sends it to a render filter. The render filer puts the pixels on the screen.
The reader filters are typically installed by default in Windows. Some older decoder filters are installed with Windows and you download more yourself and install them. These type of video decoder filters are often called codecs. Then there are standard render filters installed with Windows, you can also download and install your own render filters. These custom render filters usually do different types of filtering to reduce artifacts caused by the compression in the video files.
The naïve way to build a filter graph is to let directshow automatically connect the pins. Unfortunately, this simple approach often does not work very well due to filter incompatibilities. More advanced video software has lots of code to reliably manually construct the filter graph.
High quality video rendering
madVR is a very popular high-quality DirectShow video renderer that uses the power of your graphics card to provide fast and very high-quality video output.
Key madVR Features according to their homepage:
MadVR does High bitdepth processing (32bit per component)
It has high quality algorithms for scaling, sharpening, debanding, dithering etc.
It does Smooth motion playback without 3:2 pulldown judder even at 60Hz
Using forced film mode it turns 60i movies into perfect 24p
It has a very reliable playback using automatic fullscreen exclusive mode
To summarize, you will get better video playback quality with madVR. The improved quality is especially evident when you play older low-quality videos. To do its magic MadVR needs several decoded video frames. Because of this, it will take a few more moments until you see the first rendered image compared to using more basic renderers. If you are after high-quality video output madVR is the way to go.
How to install MadVR
Download the madVR zip file from their homepage and unpack it. Make sure to unpack to a folder where you can keep the files. Since madVR does not come with a normal windows installer the software will be installed to where you unpack the zip file.
Go to the unpacked folder, right-click on the install.bat file and select “Run as administrator”. This will register the madVR Directshow filter (madVR.ax) in your computer’s registry so that programs can find it.
Selecting to use MadVR for high-quality video playback
The integrated video player in Fast video cataloger, https://videocataloger.com/download natively supports MadVR. However, it is but it is not selected by default.
Start Fast video cataloger, open the preferences and go to the “Video Player” tab.
From the “Video player to use” dropdown menu select “Direct + madVR”. This will tell Fast video cataloger to use special code to build a filter graph using the madVR high-quality renderer.
In version 6.1 it is now possible to create virtual videos by combining sections from videos in your collection. It is basically an advanced playlist maker that allows you to create playlists of whole video clips or just a part of a video. You can use this to make a quick early draft before doing video editing or just play like a normal video. The playlists are not altering video files in any way and you can make playlists of videos in different formats and resolutions instantly without doing any type of re-encoding that would lead to quality loss. It is also super quick.
Video playlist window
Create a new virtual video playlist from the playlist window and then select a current playlist. There are three basic ways to populate your video playlist.
Add whole video clips to the playlist by right-clicking a video and selecting “add to playlist”.
Add a video segment by right-clicking a thumbnail and selecting “Add to playlist”. Doing that will att the segment from the time of the selected thumbnail to the next one. If you hold down shift while selecting add to playlist you simply add a short segment (you can select the length from preferences) from the time of the thumbnail to the playlist.
Right-click the camera icon in the video player to add a clip from the time where the video player is currently in the playing video.
You can re-order your clips with drag n drop after they have been added.
Extended thumbnail properties
Another new function in version 6.1 is the ability to add extended properties to thumbnails and to use that in searches. You could, for example, add a description to each thumbnail explaining the scene in words. Access this functionality from the video details window.
We have extended the scripting interface so you can leverage these new functions in your own custom solutions and we have added some more samples to give you a good start when doing your own video solutions based on fast video cataloger.