OK, so I can honestly say I've been trying to wrangle this issue for a LONG time (far too long), and it's make or break for me. I need a good way to organize all my video (and other media), which is where I need some input.
So I've tried every media center front-end and on the market today, and all have their advantages/disadvantages. My biggest issue is that much of my media setup in the past as been dependent on one specific program or feature. Therefore, if that program goes away, my system is kinda' fubared. With my video collection being as big as it is, I can't reasonably keep coming back to this project and trying to re-organize it over and over. I need a permanent solution and I need it now!
So I ask, what are your thoughts on the safest method? I'd love cover art for each video (including meta-data via XML), but there's no guarantee I'll get the correct info I need each time nor will programs ten years from now even pull info from this specific format. From what I understand, there's no way to embed this info (like covers or movie info) like you would an MP3 tag, which seems like it could be more permanent.
The only constant I can see across all these formats is just a simple folder structure in my OS and letting that just be the end of it (utilizing a front-end that has a nice file browser, similar to my cable box's on-demand). But before I strip things down and go the minimalist route, I wanna know there's nothing I'm overlooking.
I'd love to have things looking nice, but I just can't keep wrestling with this same issue over and over. I want an iron-clad plan that is future-proof. Any thoughts?
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Yes, there is no standard governing how media organizers catalog your files. I think you are correct that you must use a simple file and folder structure and roll your own if you want a solution that is not dependent on anybody else's software. However, even the OS can change what it does. Libraries were introduced in Windows 7, but Windows 8 and 10 make it hard to use them effectively. File Explorer doesn't automatically display them and they are hard to find using Search.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 7th Feb 2016 at 10:21.
That keeps the number of files per folder down for quicker browsing. When a folder starts getting too many files I split the contents into two folders. Ie, Movies\A-B\ becomes Movies\A\ and MoviesB\. This makes it easy to find stuff alphabetically. Of course, you can't search for "all movies with Clint Eastwood" using a simple structure like this.
Have you tried JRver Media Center
I use Kodi as a front end and use a file server as back end.
This way i can use any front end i like because everything comes from my sever through network connections.
you can use any folder system you like.
Or you can use a NAS as back end.
It is also possible to use a front and back end on the same pc / server/ media center etc.
I am for simplicity, user made approach, folder/directory based. It is foolproof, simple. Movies can be organized by suggested jagabo approach. Home videos would use directories with year in it, then within it could be 01 to 12 (month directories), then clips starting 01, 02 etc., if one cares for chronology within a month.
Using a scraper to organize media in virtual library is great but it is not forever as was mentioned a platform could be abandoned. But why not to create a library for whatever platform is used now, it can look great. Using platforms like Kodi, you can choose how to navigate to your database anyway, choosing files (folder/directory) structure or library (virtual structure) , based on genre, titles, year, actors .. That library has to be created first, choosing a type of scraper etc. New platform would have a sort of new library system and pulling data from web as well. I do not see a reason to kind of store that data as a metadata of some sort.
There should be a physical order storing data. For home made clips, scrapers do not work anyway, (data, thumbnails gathered from web) for example I use Kodi and scraping a part of database , particularly directory named "Home videos" with home videos in it I got "Naughty Amateur Home videos" library label, so we are having a blast and just left it like that ....
Last edited by _Al_; 7th Feb 2016 at 11:00.
check out the trial version
It can be server, client at some time along with some good organizing options
Wow, what a great community! So many great replies, reminds me why I've been a member here for so long. Let me follow up on a few good points above.
1) I had never thought about using Windows library system for sorting, but I can see how it would be useful. However, again that's depending on a very specific feature to make things work, and if support dissolves then so does your setup (case in point with Windows 8 and 10). However, a simple folder tree is the root of any OS that can't really be un-done. So by breaking down my movies by say file type, then genre, then alphabetical (with the move files being house in a custom folder with the official title pulled from IMDB), that seems pretty fool proof. However, I'm up for a better suggestion if anyone can think of one.
2) Don't get me wrong, I have to come to the conclusion of using a simple file browser with text only under extreme protest. I for one ABSOLUTELY LOVE graphic front-ends with nice, flowing cover art. But the problems I see with all the front-ends I've tried thus far (like the Windows Media Centers, Kodi's or iTunes) is that managing accurate and updated cover art for 1,000+ movies seems impossible. Here's a couple glaring problems:
- I've never found a truly great scrapper. While most will get 60-70% of what you need automatically, I've always had to go in and update the mislabeled titles or completely inaccurate movie info/details.
- Also, the cover art is spotty at best. Many it doesn't find, and the some of the ones it does are of a downright horrible quality (or the wrong version). This is due to the database not being managed by a governing body, but rather a catch-all of whatever the community dumps in (which means no quality control).
- Finally, how do folks plan to contend with the ever changing resolutions? We're already seeing 1080p starting to be threatened by the 4k format (or the next best thing after that), while 720 was the hot new kid on the block not so long ago. It seems that even if you do finally get a nicely sorted collection with tons of covers all set, it's just a matter of time before things will be outdated and need updating to match the future technology (otherwise your cover art will get stretched). Is this inevitable?
3) Finally, I'd like to be clear on something. While curating my entire collection would be a huge project, I'd be wiling to do it on a move-by-movie basis (pulling the covers, setting the metal data, etc) if that's what it takes. Just so as long as I know there was a way to do it ONCE and then lock it off for future front-ends, no matter what the case. Tagging MP3s seem like the are way ahead in this regard, as everything is embedded and can't be undone. However, I know of no such setup for videos. Am I missing something on that front? Is there a way to package all the movies up in a way where they'll be front-end ready for the future, no matter the tech of the next decade and beyond?
Again, I come back to my argument/assumption that a simple folder structure is the only real solution that can't be undone. But I hope I'm very wrong here, and I love others insights so I can get a feel for how to tackle mine (so I don't feel like such an island unto myself).
Kodi that requires the same cover art setup as every other (which as we've established above, is prone to headaches and problems in maintaining them over the long term). Unless of course, I'm missing something?
I wanted cover art als well, but I gave it up long time ago. Resolutions are changing and nothing is forever. Keep that in mind. Instead of that take care of the right way of playing back the movies. Refresh rates, colors, correct bitstreaming, ...
I'm curious, does anyone know if there is a way to somehow embed art or even meta data into a video file? I read that you can change the videos thumbnail to the cover but some programs either don't recognize it always or it gets dropped when refreshed. If there was a way to "tag" the video files with what you want, that seems like a pretty permanent solution. Then the front end would just read whatever info it pulls from the video file itself.
Seems like there is no such thing as a way to curate your collection with a nice visual component and then just be done with it. Seems to me if you want to be hands off with it after the first pass, it MUST be done via simple text and folder structure. And if you do what graphics or meta data of any kind attached, you have to look at it as a longer term project you WILL have to keep coming back to and updating periodically over time that'll require time and effort to maintain over the long term. Am I wrong? Cause I gotta say, that sounds like a freakin nightmare.
But as we've established, there is no central body that oversees these. I've seen some cover art for video games (like old NES or Genesis) games that were Photoshoped with complete inaccurate covers and these have ended up in many so-called "databases" that scrappers often pull from. I've even some of them end up on Amazon.
When it comes to music and movies, it's always easy to find high resolution copies of what your looking for, providing it's a super mainstream film or artist. But I find when you get into some of the more obscure parts of your collection, the cover qualities available tank. So even trying to curate things by hand seems damn near impossible at times.
And the sad fact is, even if I were to find covers that work well enough for my collection in 2016, there's absolute no way to maintain that level of quality moving forward without having to refresh everything by pulling new covers and starting all over again once the technology evolves over the next 5-10 years. Man, I really wish I could have found a good solution, but doesn't look like I ever will
Use Long FileNames for everything.
Load the Name with geographic location, Start point for video play and lots of curation details...
FN info is viewable without special software.