Help me organize my video files!
February 26, 2010 12:12 AM   Subscribe

Stand-alone Video Organizer - Is this possible? Please help me organize (with tags) my video files!


1. a 500GB external Hard Drive
2. approx 250 Video files (all .avi and .mp4)

What I want to do is have a stand-alone executable program that resides on the hard drive (bonus if it's a free download, but I am willing to purchase a solution). When the program is executed, it scans the files on the external Hard Drive for any changes, updates its database accordingly, and gives me a one-interface solution to finding a specific media file quickly and efficiently. It MUST reside on the external hard drive, as I have multiple computers at different locations, and carry around my small external hard drive with me. The program MUST support tagging.

Any suggestions? Remember.. it MUST reside on the external hard drive, NOT on the laptop/desktop hard drive!
posted by Master Gunner to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The first question, really, is: what operating system are you using? Windows XP, Vista, 7, or OS X, or Linux? Kinda depends on that.
posted by koeselitz at 12:36 AM on February 26, 2010

Also, not to jump the gun, but the only program I've seen anywhere that supports tagging of .mp4 and .avi files was this slightly dodgy Russian program that sometimes destroyed the files. And though it sometimes works, in my experience there's not much point, since there aren't really any programs that can read those tags. I don't think there's much of a standard for .avi and .mp4 tags. I may be totally wrong, I don't know.

posted by koeselitz at 12:41 AM on February 26, 2010

(Oh, and that program is for Windows XP/Vista/7.)
posted by koeselitz at 12:42 AM on February 26, 2010

To be honest, I get the feeling the only way you're going to be able to tag your video files is by converting them to the Matroska (.mkv) format, which unlike .avi has pretty broad support for tagging.
posted by koeselitz at 12:56 AM on February 26, 2010

Sorry I keep answering; this is something I'd been looking for for a while, too, so I have some interest and have done some footwork.

I'm taking the bold step of assuming that you have a Windows machine, since you say you take it with you and carry it around. Apparently you can use MediaMonkey to sort videos, although I can't seem to get it to run through Wine under Linux to test this possibility. I know that MediaMonkey's a pretty good media-sorting program, so that's a good option, I'll bet.

Here's how to make a portable installation, so you can put it on your flash drive.
posted by koeselitz at 1:56 AM on February 26, 2010

Ember Media Manager should be what you need. It has a refresh library function, and is actually able to download information/media from imdb and other movie sites.
posted by pyro979 at 4:06 AM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, most of my machines are Windows machines. (XP/Vista/7). I tried MediaMonkey... it KIND of works, but the plug-in is buggy, and I can't get it to consistently open files and play them. Also, There isn't even a way to just take you to the file location (like iTunes) so you can just play it with a regular media player (like VLC)
posted by Master Gunner at 4:14 AM on February 26, 2010

Ember does look pretty good as it goes - downloads movie / show info and allows searching based on that.

If you're really attached to the idea of being able to tag, you'd probably have to convert your files to Matroska (.mkv) format, sadly. There are a lot of good .mkv management programs out there, I've heard.
posted by koeselitz at 4:33 AM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: Ember Media Manager is about a 90% solution... I am trying SongBird portable right now to see how it works
posted by Master Gunner at 4:33 AM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: Hmmm... portable Songbird keeps locking up... Any other suggestions?
posted by Master Gunner at 4:45 AM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: Ok... at this point I would settle for a portable Media Manager...
posted by Master Gunner at 4:48 AM on February 26, 2010

Open a command line terminal and use "dir" to get a list, then put that list in a spreadsheet. That's what I did for 1,500+ files over many data discs and it works well.

Have been collecting videos since mid 80s (welcome to NightFlight), in the 90s digitized them, now the Internet provides.
posted by eccnineten at 6:37 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's a pretty good suggestion... but I want to be able to find and open them quickly, ideally from within the program.

Ember came the closest so far. Songbird would work, in theory, if the darn thing didn't keep crashing on me!
posted by Master Gunner at 6:48 AM on February 26, 2010

Movienizer Portable?
posted by Otis at 9:20 AM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: Movienizer is a pretty decent solution, but is more geared towards DVD collections. It DOES have some of the features I like (opening movies from within the interface), but the gui leaves alot to be desired. At 32 Euro for a license, I'm tempted to buy, but it's too expensive for a "kind-of" solution.

Ideally, it would feel and act like iTunes, only for movie files... and it would reside on the external hard drive (can connect to any computer and run it with no issues). That's the easiest/best I can explain it.

SharePod (old alternative iPod manager that would actually reside on the iPod) would work well... if it was geared for movie files.
posted by Master Gunner at 10:51 AM on February 26, 2010

Songbird Portable works fine for me, and I'd help you sort it out, but - I really don't think it does movies. I have never found a way to make it manage movies, anyhow. If you know a way, let me know, and we can see what we can do.
posted by koeselitz at 1:30 PM on February 26, 2010

Oh wait - I guess I was wrong. That's nice.

What do you mean when you say 'it keeps crashing'? What's happening?
posted by koeselitz at 1:35 PM on February 26, 2010

In Windows 7 you can add tags to your video files (right-click the file, select "Properties", then go to the "Details" tab. You'll see a "Tags" field there and can add whatever you want). Then, when you want to find a video, you go to the "Videos" library (which can contain whatever arbitrary directories you want) and then search for the tag in the search box (upper right corner). No external program needed and you don't have to worry about sync'ing new videos.
posted by JasonSch at 3:17 PM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: @ koeselitz: It will get about 4 videos in, and then just lock up and not respond anymore.
posted by Master Gunner at 10:31 PM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: @JasonSch: This is a good solution, if I was going to have all my videos in one place, on one computer. I really need a portable solution that resides on the external hard drive, next to the videos themselves. I have 3 different versions of Windows on 4 different computers. So I need something that is inherently portable.
posted by Master Gunner at 10:33 PM on February 26, 2010

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