Fast Video Cataloger 6.33 – Exclude videos with keyword

A new version of Fast video cataloger is now available from the download page

Search – Exclude keywords

You can now exclude videos matching keywords from the search result. You find this option in the search window below the keywords. This excludes filter works on the set of filtered videos. For example, when you search for all videos matching an actor you can exclude videos that have specific keywords. If you search for a keyword and exclude that keyword, the exclusion will take priority.

Search – Actors

The actor search now supports search on Actor Bio and Actor Link.

The Actor window now only load visible portraits to save memory for catalogs with lots of actors. And, we extended the script API with a new SearchActor() function. Make sure to check out our previous blog post on how to write a script to import actors from an external movie database.

Scripting

Talking about scripting. we updated Console writing so it can be done from any thread in a script, for example from a browser callback. I also added some more documentation on the exposed browser. We will write a more detailed post on how you can use it later but it is all working in the current build if you want to try it. Running scripts from an action button always gave an error message, this is fixed.

Meta data in files is faster

Writing metadata to video files (enable from the metadata preference page) is now done in a background thread and is faster.

Video player

We fixed an issue when you clicking on the seek bar while a video was playing and that click was ignored. There were scaling issues when using the vmr9 video player could happen if there was a big difference between the video aspect ratio and the window aspect ratio. Changed order of vmr7 and vmr9 in the preferences ( The recommendation is still to prefer the direct option )

Fast Video Cataloger 6.31 – Play videos from a web server

I am happy to let you know we have just made Fast video cataloger 6.31 available

Play videos from a web server

We have added new support to let you set up videos to be served from a web server. Access this from the catalog/info screen and the “Use Hosted Videos” button. This enables you to put your videos on a web server and then share a catalog with other people so they can easily access your video files. You can then share the relatively small catalog file where they have quick instant access to search and browse without having to distribute all the large video files with them. And you can use this for a selected number of videos in a catalog, i.e. a catalog can have a combination of videos hosted on a server and loaded from your local filesystem.

play video through web server.

Please note that not all videos can be served from a web server, we recommend modern containers like mp4 for videos hosted this way. It is also always slower to load over a server so if you do not need this functionality you should not use it. Also, note that indexing currently needs to happen through the Windows file system.

Save to other than the selected layouts

You can now save a windows layout to another layout than the currently selected one. This new functionality is available from the view menu. Select the layout you want to save to from the dropdown list and then click Save. By default, the dropdown will be the current layout.

Chrome browser

The browser for the start page has been switched to a Chromium-based browser from internet explorer. We have also extended the scripting interface with a new function to give you direct access to the browser window. This will allow an easy way to either write out results to a web page integrated into the software or to gather data from a web page into your solution.

Scripting improvements

The execution of scripts can now be asynchronous. This will allow you to have scripts running as you interact with the rest of the user interface.

The load script dialog will now default to open in the sample script folder, and then the last opened folder.

A new sample script get_actors.xaml.cs will show you how to integrate Fast video cataloger with an external web service. This script is explained in detail here

Progressbar

The program icon in the taskbar now shows progress when a video is being indexed. The progress is per videos not for all videos in the current batch.

And other minor fixes…

It is now possible to multiselect images in the companion image gallery and remove them from the catalog. The Update dialog has gotten an improved layout.

Using TMDB Web API ( The Movie DataBase )

TMDB (The Movie DataBase ) is a large open internet database you can use to search for movies, tv shows, and people in movies. It also has a web API.

Fast video cataloger is a software to organize video clips so you can quickly search, browse, and find what you are looking for.

This example will show how to use the scripting support in Fast video cataloger to integrate with the web API in TMDB. My goal is to show you have to integrate a search for actors using the TMDB web API and then add the metadata to Fast video cataloger. With this start, I hope you can expend it to what you need and perhaps use other functions in the TMDB API.

Script demo

Getting started

If you do not already have Fast video cataloger installed you can download a free trial from here

Before we can start you also need to create a free account at TMDB that you can get from here, When you have your account to go your profile, click settings and find the API tab and request a developer API key.

The script we show here can be downloaded from our sample git hub repository

Place the downloaded scripts get_actor.xaml and get_actor.xaml.cs in the script folder of your fast video cataloger installation.

Open the get_actor.xaml.cs and fine the line near the top that reads

static string api_key = "";

and replace the empty api_key string with your TMDB API key.

Running the script

To run the script in Fast video cataloger open the Script console window. In the window click on the Load button and load the get_actor.xaml.cs script. Click run and you should see a window like this:

tmdb actor search

Integrating with tmdb people search

Search for an actor and you should see something like this

tmdb search results

results of a search in the movie database

You can then click “Add to catalog” to add the actor to your Fast video cataloger database

Script overview

The C# script that is running uses WPF for the user interface. The user interface is defined in the XAML file. We use the rest API for TMDB. You can find full documentation for it here

Note that this sample just uses a minimal subset of the TMDB API. But, the principles are the same for the whole API, and it should be pretty easy to extend this with more functionality. For example, getting poster images or searching for movies.

Another difference to most other Fast video cataloger samples is that this one uses async programming which is needed for the web APIs.

Script walkthrough

You can find the full xaml file here and the full source file here

References

At the very top of the script we need to add our external references. This is what normally would go into “references” in a visual studio c# project. In a Fast video cataloger script you use a comment in the format of :”//css_ref [dependency]”.

//css_ref WindowsBase;
//css_ref PresentationCore;
//css_ref PresentationFramework;
//css_ref System.Runtime;
//css_ref System.ObjectModel;

WindowsBase, PresentationCore, and PresentationFramework are needed for the WPF user interface. System.Runtime and System.ObjectModel has the c# code we need to access and parse the web API.

Static variables

At the top of the script, we have a few static variables. The important one here is again the api_key variable, here you need to fill in your key as mentioned earlier.

Entry point

Run is the entry point of all scripts running from Fast Video cataloger:

static public async Task Run(IScripting scripting, string argument)

The only thing we do in the entry function is to save the passed in scripting interface and then create the GetActors WPF window and show it. We intentionally call Show() and not ShowDialog() since we want to be able to bring up the actor window in Fast video cataloger when we have this window open.

Constructor

In this example, we have put all code in the HelloWindow class. This has the same structure as the basic HelloWpf.cs sample.
The constructor loads the XAML interface definition and sets up the window. It also establishes the connection between the buttons and their click functions (unfortunately we do not support binding directly in the XAML as the XAML file is loaded through the script engine ).

Searching

When the search button is clicked we will get a callback to Search_Click(…). This is the main function that performs the search. We first fetch the text the user entered in the search box.

Then we call SearchActors asynchronously and expect to get a CPersonSearchResult back, more on that later.

private async Task SearchActors( string query )
{
  string encoded_query = System.Net.WebUtility.UrlEncode( query );
  string search_line = api_base_url + "search/person?api_key=" + api_key + /
         "&language=en-US&query=" + encoded_query + "&include_adult=true&page=1";
  CPersonSearchResult header_result = await GetFromJSON(search_line);
  return header_result;
}

After that, we have to check if we got a search hit. In this example, we only care about the first result but you can of course list all the results and let the user pick one of them.

We have our first actor and pick the name. We then call MakeProfileImageUrl(…) to generate a URL for the profile image. We call GetImageData(…) to get the image from that URL.

At this point, we have most of the data we need.

We create a new Actor class in the Fast video cataloger format and store that in m_CurrentActor. We fill in the data members with data from the search and the downloaded portrait data.

Next, we call GetPerson() with the TMDB id for the first actor. Once we have done that we have all the data we need from TMDB.
We create a WPF image from the downloaded image data and call SetActorToUI() to update the user interface.

SetActorToUI()

This function simply updates the user interface from the variable we have designed. The portrait is set to the image, the name and the description is set. The XAML file defines the whole layout of the user interface including size and positions of elements and fonts.

Adding to Fast Video cataloger catalog

If you click add to catalog after you have searched and found an actor you will get a callback to AddToCatalog_Click(…). Here we simply get the interface to the video catalog and call AddActorToDB() with the m_CurrentActor we filled in earlier when we got the search result.

GetConfiguration()

GetConfiguration() is a wrapper to load the TMDB configuration. You only need to call this once in your application and it is needed to among other things figure out the path to any image resource. The configuration is stored globally in m_Configuration. This is a very short function and it is a good example of how to use the TMDB rest API.

First, we create the URL that we will use to access TMDB. It always starts with the base URL and then the API we want to use and some arguments. Among the arguments, you always pass in your API key. We then use this URL and call one a utility function, GetFromJSON(), we have in the sample code. This function takes a class argument, which is of type of the JSON file we want to get from the URL. And, it returns an object of that class or null if it fails.
Let us take a closer look at that utility function.

GetFromJSON()

GetFromJSON() is an asynchronous function that you pass the class of what you want to read from the query string. There is some initial setup and then we call GetAsync( query ) that will asynchronously call the URL and get the result. Once we have the result we read the data from the response message as a string. We then create a memory stream to the string data and create a DataContractJsonSerializer object to parse our data from the JSON data and create the C# object.

public async Task GetFromJSON(string query)
{
  T parsed_stuct = default(T);
  var handler = new HttpClientHandler();
  handler.AllowAutoRedirect = false;
  var client = new HttpClient(handler);
  try
  {
    var videoGetIndexRequestResult = await client.GetAsync(query);
    var result = videoGetIndexRequestResult.Content.ReadAsStringAsync().Result;
    var ms = new MemoryStream(System.Text.Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(result));
    var serializer = new DataContractJsonSerializer(typeof(T));
    parsed_stuct = (T)serializer.ReadObject(ms);
    ms.Close();
  }
  catch (Exception ex)
  {
    Console.WriteLine(ex.Message);
  }
  return parsed_stuct;
}

If you want to use other parts of the TMDB API you need to create classes for the data that are returned by the functions.

SearchActors( string query )

The SearchActors() function is very similar to the GetConfiguration() function but it uses the search/person API. We pass the api_key but also some extra arguments.

One of the arguments is a query string, this needs to be URL encoded to handle special characters like spaces.

Then again, once we have our URL, we simply use the GetFromJSON() utility to read the result into the CPersonSearchResult class. This class includes info about how many results you have from your query and some basic information about each result returned in an array of class CActorResult. Here you have the name of the actor, an id that we can use in other API calls and a profile_path. Profile_path is needed when you want to create an URL to fetch the profile picture.

MakeProfileImageUrl()

MakeProfileImageUrl() is a utility function that is used to generate an URL to a profile image. For this, we need the configuration data where you have the base_url for all profile images. We need to decide on the size of the image, the different types of sizes are also listed in the profile image, and then finally we need the part of the URL that is unique for every actor. Once we have this URL we can just get the data.

GetImageData()

GetImageData() takes the URL from MakeProfileImageUrl() or really any image URL in the TMDB image URL format. We again use the WebClient API and call DownloadDataTaskAsync(). This function will asynchronously download the image data to an array. This is the right format we need to pass to Fast video cataloger. But we need one more step to display it in the WPF user interface.

private async Task GetImageData(string url)
{
  byte[] image_data = null;
  try
  {
    Uri image_url = new Uri(url);
    var webClient = new System.Net.WebClient();
    image_data = await webClient.DownloadDataTaskAsync(image_url);
  }
  catch (Exception ex)
  {
    Console.WriteLine(ex.Message);
  }
  return image_data;
}

LoadImageFromStream()

LoadImageFromStream() takes a memory stream to the bytes we loaded with GetImageData() and create a BitmapImage object from it. This object can then later be assigned as a source to any Image element we have in our XAML user interface.

Conclusion

I have shown how you can expand on the functionality of Fast video cataloger with web API. In this example we used TMDB but there are tons of other web APIs that might be useful and my hope is that this sample will make it easier for you to get started.

Fast Video Cataloger 6.30 supports video metadata

Fast video cataloger 6.30 is now available with new support for video metadata. Download from our download page

metadata written to video files

We now support writing New option to save out metadata inside the video file. This option will save basic metadata like keywords, descriptions, and ratings into the metadata section of the file. This will make it available in Windows properties of the file. This also means that it will be available for Windows search. Please note that this type of metadata is not supported by some of the older video containers but it should be supported by modern formats like mp4. This option is disabled by default but can be enabled from preferences on the metadata tab.

.nfo metadata next to video files

We have added a new requested feature to write out .nfo file next to the video file. The nfo file will contain basic metadata like keywords, description and ratings in the Kodi format. This option is only recommended if you want to share the metadata in the catalog with another media manager. It is disabled by default and can be enabled from preferences. If the video file already has a .nfo file it will be updated with the data from Fast video cataloger.

video metadata preferences

video metadata settings

More shortcuts

It is now possible to assign shortcuts to show and hide Windows. No default shortcuts are set for these, but you can assign them if you have a need. We still recommend using layouts in most cases.

Bug fixes

And we have continued to fix reported bugs. Import videos can now handle special folders correctly and can detect if a video has been imported already. I.e. if you import videos already in the target catalog they will be skipped. If you had the playlist window undocked and floating and then tried to change the order of playlist items the program crashed, this is now fixed.

Fast Video Cataloger 6.29

Today we release Fast video cataloger 6.29.

A quick update this time around, so a bit fewer changes than usual but I think they are pretty important.

Companion images

It is now possible to delete multiple selected images in the companion image browser window.

If adding or removing images to the companion image browser the window was not refreshed until another video was selected.

Usability

Improved tooltips for the views.