Today we talk a bit more about the layout preferences page. Once you start to use layouts you can make better use of your screen estate and the program will be easier to use.
Today we uploaded Fast video cataloger 6.21 and it is available for download.
There are lots of improvements since my latest blog update. The largest major improvements have been around the integrated video player. The end result should be increased video quality as well as better support for multiple screens.
Recent improvements to video player
- The “direct video player” video player option, that should be the safest option for playback, now uses evr instead of vmr9. That change should result in higher quality output and faster playback.
- Improvements to the threading should have fixed a few possible causes for freezes. For example, we should be able to handle a few known driver/codec issues a bit better with blank output instead of a frozen program.
- Multiscreen support for the video player. It should now be possible to drag the video player window from the main window to the secondary window with a different resolution.
- Respect “pause” state. If you pause a video and then click on a thumb the video will jump to the selected time but won’t start playing (this behavior can be controlled from the videoplayer preference ).
Recent improvements to video playlists
- Now you can add to playlist from the scene search results.
- Playlist has a more compact view in addition to the previous one, right click in the window to select view.
- New video index option to rotate thumbnails 90 degrees if it has a rotate metadata. This is useful for videos taken with iphones. For this to work you need the settings to extract meta data from the video and the option to autorotate thumbnails. To play the videos correct you also need to use a video renderer that reads the rotation metadata and does realtime rotation. MadVR is one renderer that does that.
- If you capture a frame through the capture camera icon in the player that thumb will be selected after capture.
- Add folder should now be quicker, especially with folders that contain encrypted videos.
- Add videofile now accepts multiselection.
ScriptInterface.csto reflect latest version of the api.
Images and video files
Fast video cataloger lets you manage any type of photos together with your video files.
In Fast video cataloger, everything starts with a video. Fast video catalog is far from a traditional photo viewer program.
For photos, this means that you link photos to videos and that photos are filtered for the video.
We call photos stored in Fast video cataloger for companion images.
Companion images can be any type of digital image in jpeg or png file format.
What companion images you want in your catalog depend on the application. If you have a catalog of normal play films, like a movie you would find at imdb. Then, typical companion images are probably cover images, posters, pictures from the release party.
If you use Fast video cataloger for your company. Then, the companion images could be images shot at meetings and presentations, photos of a whiteboard, people in the meeting and so on. For these applications remember that you can also add extended video properties. In that way, it is possible to link other file types to your videos.
Type of images that fast video cataloger can handle
A companion image is any type of image set to a video. A companion image can be set as cover a front or back cover for a video. We also have the concept of Actor portrait image and Actor companion image.
How to add photos to your catalog
The easiest way to add images to a catalog is to add them automatically when you add a video to your catalog. You can control if and how companion images are added from the preferences. The program can automatically add companion images that are stored in the same folder or subfolder relative to the video file.
The companion image browser has a button to rescan a folder structure. Use this if to add companion images to a video that was scanned without images.
You can also go into the repair function and do a scan to find companion images in a subfolder to videos that are not in the catalog.
Add companion images by dragging the image files to the companion image window.
Browsing photos for a videos
The “companion image browser” window displays thumbnails of the companion images for the selected video. The “preview image” window shows the selected image (and you can zoom with the mouse wheel).
The “Cover” window only shows the front and back cover image for the video.
The “Companion & Cover image” is a more compact window that combines the above three windows into one. It shows a scrollable list of thumbnails. When you move the cursor to the bottom of the window it lists all companion images. The currently selected image is displayed in the same window.
In the “Attract cover images” window you can see a slideshow of random cover images for all videos in your collection. There is also a setting in the preferences, “Include Companion images”. When this is checked you will get all companion images for all videos, not just covers.
Nice things with companion images
If you have companion images setup for a video you can move it in the file organizer and the companion images will move with the video files.
Right-click in the “companion …” window you can select to use a cover image as the image to represent a video in the video catalog (for example a cover).
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.
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.
I am more than happy to announce that Fast video cataloger 6.1 is now available for download.
Download the latest version from the download page
Virtual video editing
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.
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.