Francis D'saAug 05, 2013 12:10:29 IST
As usual, almost everyone who owns a PC or laptop today holds a precious collection of media files. The movies could be a collection downloaded from the internet, ripped off a DVD/Blu-ray or acquired from a friend. Usually, most movie files are never named properly and lack proper information and details about the movie itself. Videos downloaded from torrent websites usually carry their own file names, which include the codec name, year, ripper's name and more unwanted details. Unlike an MP3 file, a movie data base needs additional files for its identity. What most movie collections lack is a proper database of meta tags such as genre, rating, year etc., that can help you decide on watching your favourite movie. To top that, more movies keep piling up over a period of time and eventually you find out that your media folder is in a complete mess. Sitting and sorting each movie file becomes a painful task and you tend to keep the data as it is for lack of time and the amount of effort needed to do it. One should organise their movies in such a way that they are easy to pick. The task may seem big, but there is a simple utility that can come in quite handy to do the dirty work for you.
Media Center Master, a brain child of Peter Silva, aka Pete, is a simple utility which helps organise your movies in a neat fashion. What this utility does basically is pick up the name from the video file, create a folder with the same name and move the movie file into it. It also looks up the movie’s information from the IMDB database online, downloads the synopsis, ratings and category or genre, pulls in the necessary information such as meta tags, cover arts, posters and fan arts etc. and leaves it in the same folder before moving on to analyse the next video file in the list. The process is completely automated.
Make the necessary changes in the settings as explained
However, there are times where user intervention is required. If the utility detects a movie with a wrong or unrecognisable name, a movie that shares the same title with two or more, or if the movie does not exist in the online database, it will throw up a window for the user to decide on the video file. This is where the user is asked to either enter the correct details for the movie or choose the right movie from the list it pulls down from the database servers. The information is then picked up and the rest is taken over by the utility as usual. The error/confirmation window is also automated and will continue automatically in 30 seconds with the best or closest guess it chooses, if the user does not act in time.
Locate and feed the folder where you have stored your movies
The utility is powerful and simple to use, though it has a lot of options and settings to tweak. Novice users can also use the utility with ease. Unlike professional users, the number of settings needed to be set for regular users is bare minimum. Once the utility has finished the work, your movies will be listed very neatly and the entire information and category of the movies can be picked up by various media players. Windows Media Center, XBMC, WDTV and DLNA streamers can take complete advantage of the information. Here is how you can go about using this utility. Download the MCM utility from the website by clicking here. Install it and run the utility. Let any updates run if needed.
MCM will start tagging your movies automatically. Check the logs on the right for details
Step 1: Let’s begin with a few basic settings before MCM can start doing the actual work. Click on "Application -> Settings and preferences". Here you shall find a load of settings and tweaks that are needed to tag your movies. Click on the "General" tab. Let most remain as default. The option "Use multi-threaded fetching" can be kept as "4" by default or you can increase it if you have a faster PC. The value in this field denotes the number of files or movies that will be handled simultaneously.
If the movie name is wrong, MCM will notify you and ask you to confirm what it thinks is right
Step 2: Now click on the "Metadata" tab. Here you can choose the media player you will be using. You can choose multiple video players so that the meta tagging can be done for multiple players at the same time. You can choose from Windows Media Center, XBMC, Boxee, WDTV, JRiver, Netgear, DLNA and a few others. Let the rest stay as default.
Step 3: Click on the "Artwork" tab. Here you can choose settings such as poster/cover size as per your requirement. Defaults should suffice. The option "Download all backdrops when available" is clicked by default. We recommend setting this to value "1" or "2". Too many backdrops being downloaded will only slow down the entire process and save on Internet bandwidth too. Usually, one or two backdrops are sufficient.
The ones that are not tagged can be manually done with a right-click
Step 4: This part is a bit crucial. Click on the "Organization" tab. Here you need to set the way the utility will tag the movie’s name and the folder. From the drop-down list of the "Movie title renaming convention", choose the way your movie should be renamed so that it is easier to locate too. We recommend "T T (Y)" as the best option, which means the movie will be renamed to its original title name along with the release year in brackets. The rest of the settings can be left as they are.
Each meta tag can be checked for details by clicking on each movie title
Step 5: The "Movies" tab. Here we suggest un-checking the boxes against "Download cast and crew thumbnails" unless you need these. This will only slow down the process and build up unnecessary information for the tags. Next, you can change/reduce the amount of time the utility will wait for user inputs when it finds a movie with a wrong name or unknown title under "Confirm search results". By default it is 30 seconds, but to speed up processes, we suggest keeping it to 10 seconds or less.
Step 6: Skip ahead to the other tabs. Since other features such as downloading and torrents are only available in the paid version, there are only a few other options you can tweak. You can choose to download the trailers in the "Trailers" tab. You can finally investigate around and find more settings to tweak as per your preference. Close the setting window once you are done.
Before meta tagging, your media center software does not recognise your movies
This is what your tagged movies will look like when completed
Step 7: The last and final step is the movie folder. In the utility window, click on "Application –> Set Scan Folders". Here, locate and enter the path for the folder on your hard drive or network share where all your movies are stored. You can add multiple locations and even folders that have television series in it. If your network share requires authentication, then give in the username and password details at the bottom. Click on "Done" after you have set all the required locations.
Now that you have provided the utility with the movie folder, you can sit back and relax. MCM will automatically scan and start doing the work within a few minutes. When there is any information it needs about a particular unknown video, the utility will pop up a window for the details. You may choose to ignore or enter the details as per your choice. Once all the movies are finished tagging, you will see the left pane highlighting in pink the videos that it cannot find information about. These are the movies where MCM needs your information. The movie names are either wrong or non existing. You can click each entry from the list and select "Fetch Metadata". MCM will then ask you for more details on the movie to rectify the tagging.
Before tagging, there are absolutely no details about the movie
Notice the details after tagging—synopsis, date, rating and a lot more information is added
Once all your movies are neatly categorised and tagged, you can see the change in your media center or player. You can then choose to watch movies according to your mood by clicking on the year, genre, rating, PG rating and more.
Note: MCM requires an active Internet connection. We suggest you first try out the way the utility works best for you by using around 5 to 10 movie files in the beginning. Once you are satisfied with the results, you can start with tagging the rest of your collection. We did notice MCM tending to freeze after long usage. The reason could be a huge movie database to be created. We suggest you copy your files to the movie folder in smaller batches rather than overloading the utility. If the utility hangs, you will need to use the task manager to kill the utility from the memory and start the process again. All settings are saved and the tags that are generated are catalogued within the utility. Older files that are already tagged are scanned and left alone while newer files are automatically taken up.
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