SimpleMovieX and Metadata

Since version 3.7, SimpleMovieX has been able to detect and display the metadata inside a movie file.
Metadata, also called tags, is information about the movie. Typically, it contains the name of the movie or the TV show, episode, season, director, actors, and a picture to represent the movie in a collection (like a movie poster, the DVD cover, or any picture that looks good in your iTunes library)

Most importantly, SimpleMovieX is one of the rare applications that keeps the metadata intact after editing, saving or exporting the file. Imagine you have an MP4 file already “tagged”. Fire SimpleMovieX, add chapters, remove the credits at the end of the movie, and save. The edited movie is written in MP4 format, with metadata, chapters.

Now, the problem: SimpleMovieX is not able to modify metadata. Other free applications, like MetaX or iTunes, are pretty good at it. But you need to switch between apps, write the file 2 times, and so on.

So what about adding metadata editing to SimpleMovieX?

SimpleMovieX and Metadata

I’m quite adverse to bloat. SimpleMovieX shall remain a simple application. I don’t want it to become a jack-of-all-trades. But adding metadata editing seems a logical move anyway.

Let’s review the features of MetaX and see what a metadata-capable SimpleMovieX would look like:

  • An interface to enter dozens of informations about the movie (title, director, season, rating…)
  • Autofill through look-up in Internet database
  • An interface to add a picture (either found looking for movie posters in Internet, in Amazon, or selecting a frame of the movie)
  • Barcode scan
  • An archive with all movies ever tagged and their information.
  • A Template system to define presets that can be applied in one click
  • Saving tagged movie is fast. Lightning-fast the second time, as we write the file in place.
  • Support of big files, with a size greater than 4 GB
  • QuickLook, Spotlight plug-ins.
  • Queue (tag all files, then write them in one shot)
  • iTunes plug-in
  • Sends to iTunes after tagging.
  • Filename tagging
  • Chapter renaming

Now, the advantages of a future SimpleMovieX with metadata editing capabilities:

You can add, modify, remove chapter markers. Not just rename them.
You can edit the movie (add, remove clips)
You can convert, then add metadata. For example, save an AVI file to MOV format, and add tags.
You can add, remove, select audio/language tracks
And finally, an already existing advantage: A file with metadata will keep them after editing, saving, converting.

What are the limitations of such SimpleMovieX ?
I assume that SimpleMovieX implements tagging on top of current architecture. This brings limitations:

  • Saving is fast, like after editing, but not lightning-fast (because write-in-place is not supported)
  • No queue, allowing saving all modified movies in one shot.
  • SimpleMovieX interface is centered on movie image and timeline. Metadata editing would not be centric, interface-wise.

Therefore, I foresee that it would be a useful addition to SimpleMovieX for users that need to modify a movie, then tag it. For pure tagging, for big volume of files, MetaX is better: more features, optimized performance, dedicated interface.

Who would be those users?

People creating their own movie, like a screencast, that needs editing, chapterizing, and tagging.
People capturing video broadcasts, that need some editing, typically to remove not wanted clips, and use tagging to organize their collection.
and maybe also people that need to convert and add tags.

To address those use cases, only a few MetaX features needs to be implemented:

  • An interface to enter dozens of informations about the movie (title, director, season, rating…)
  • An interface to add a picture (selecting a frame of the movie, or from a file)
  • Support of big files, with a size greater than 4 GB (already built-in SimpleMovieX)

That sounds a lot more reasonable now. It keeps SimpleMovieX small, fills the functionality gap, while requiring a small development effort.

So, will metadata editing be the flagship feature of SimpleMovieX 3.9 ?