Adding Files From HD? Merging DVDpedia entries?

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Adding Files From HD? Merging DVDpedia entries?

Postby PauHana658 » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:08 pm

I have a few hundred movies in iPod-ready format on a hard drive and listed in iTunes. I exported them from iTunes as a playlist, then imported that into DVDpedia. Then, I selected "All" and got advanced info from Amazon. Now I've got all the info I want for quick, convenient browsing. Simple, and effective.

Now the ideal next step would be to play the associated file by simply clicking the link. Alas, there is no link. Not yet, at least. As near as I can tell, I have to manually drag-and-drop the movie file onto the info pane of each movie in turn. That's gonna take significant time, even for my relatively small collection.

I thought that I might be able to drag the entire folder of movie files into the playlist pane of DVDpedia to import them with the links already in place, then all I'd have to do is get advanced info from amazon/imdb to fill in the details. But nope, that doesn't seem to work.

So my first question is, is there a way to import the files into DVDpedia with the links already in place?

My second question is related to the first. The movies on the hard drive came from my collection of commercial DVDs, which I've already entered into DVDpedia. So importing the iTunes playlist duplicates the existing entries in DVDpedia. "Show Duplicates" finds them, but the next step, to select two items and merge them, is missing. Is there a simple way (other than copying and pasting between fields) to merge duplicate entries in DVDpeida that will preserve the info and the links?
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Re: Adding Files From HD? Merging DVDpedia entries?

Postby PauHana658 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:37 am

Well, after several hours of trying, I can answer my first question. Yes, it IS possible to bring in a list of files with their links attached. Here's how I finally did it. (If anyone else has a better method, I'm sure the community would be grateful if you posted it in the forums somewhere.)

1. The key in my case is to have all my movies were already in iTunes as iPod-ready m4v files. So my first step was to select "Movies" under "Library" in the left-side pane of iTune, then select "File/Library/Export playlist..." from the menubar. It can be saved as either plain text or unicode text, but not xml (DVDpedia didn't recognize xml, but did recognize the two text formats).

2. The "Location" that iTunes exports is not a complete path to the file, so I needed to edit the text file to fix the paths. I tried opening the text file in Word and Pages, but in both cases, the text wrapped and made the columns difficult to separate. I then opened it in Excel, which made the columns line up properly for easier editing. I then used "Find/Replace to edit the column for Location. In my case, the files are stored on a hard drive connected to the wife's iMac, so I edited the location to look like this: "file:///Volumes/Movies/nameofmovie.m4v". Your case will likely differ, but basically, you should be able to modify everything in front of the name of the movie in a single find/replace operation. Be aware that it is a triple slash after the colon following "file".

3. I saved the file in Excel, opened DVDpedia and selected "File/Import Collection..." from the menubar. After selecting the Excel-modified text file and clicking the "open" button, DVDpedia displayed a list of the fields it found in the file and a list of popup menus of the DVDpedia fields to which the user can match the fields in the file. Do as you wish with most of the fields, but the critical field, Location" is at the bottom and is matched to DVDpedia's Location field.

Now this is where I got stuck for well over an hour. Although it looks right, "Location" will not provide clickable links, but merely puts the path data into the unclickable Location field in DVDpedia. Choosing URL also will not work. It was only after looking through the long list of field choices that I discovered near the bottom of the list a choice for "A link". That's the one that provides a clickable link in the Information pane for each movie, as well as puts a paperclip icon next to each movie when they're displayed in list form.

Oddly enough, one of my movies displays a tiny blue QuickTime symbol instead of the paperclip. Clicking the link in the info pane opens the movie in iTunes, while movies with the paperclips play within DVDpedia. Or at least the first few times I tried, it did. But now, DVDpedia looks as though it is trying to clear the window to play the movie, then gives up and restores the list of movies and the info pane. Still haven't worked out that problem, but as I'd much rather have that capability within DVDpedia (for quick browsing purposes), is there any way to tell DVDpedia to view ALL links, including those QuickTime links, from within the DVDpedia program?

As I said, the key for me was to have iTunes generate the list of movie names and the partial path to the file. I don't know if it is possible to generate such a list from the finder. Probably.

In any case, considering that hard-drive based files are an increasingly important part of movie collections and that pockepedia is likely boosting awareness of DVDpedia among precisely the people who have digital movie collections for their phones/touches, I am hoping that Bruji will seriously consider incorporating into DVDpeida a simpler way to add a collection of media files with embedded links. DVDpedia already is a fantastic program for those with physical collections...adding this feature would make it a fantastic program for the rest of us with digital collections.
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Re: Adding Files From HD? Merging DVDpedia entries?

Postby Conor » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:00 am

Thank you for the post, I am sure other users with similar needs will appreciate it, especially since it's so detailed about each step. We've been meaning to add more integration with movies in the Finder as well as iTunes. There are so many possibilities for the types of movies that this kind of integration takes time, figuring out how to extract the most information from each file to put into DVDpedia.

The playback of the movie is not done by us but by WebKit, the Apple web page displaying engine (same one as Safari). Because it can handle QuickTime it can handle movies, but it tends to try and load the entire movie and as you have experienced, sometimes it chokes. Because this part of the software is not in our control we have chosen to open official players like QuickTime, iTunes, VLC or DVD Player instead of letting WebKit try to load the movie. The interesting bit is that it's actually trying to load the movie internally, as it should recognize your .m4v files as movies and send it straight to your favorite player.

To answer the second question, which as you probably found out is an enhancement request, is that there is no merge option. You would have to copy paste the link from one entry to the next one. One trick you might not know is that dragging and dropping a file over the info view in DVDpedia creates a link to that entry. It's a quick way of adding links to already existing entries.

Thank you for the thoughtful post, we hope you will find future versions of DVDpedia even more fantastic, especially if we are able to incorporate some of your suggestions.
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Re: Adding Files From HD? Merging DVDpedia entries?

Postby PauHana658 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:10 pm

Thanks for the quick and detailed reply!

After further testing, I discovered that the Unicode.txt format that I was using to save the Excel file was the reason for the paperclip icons, which I now know to indicate generic links, i.e., DVDpedia doesn't recognize the link as a movie file. But saving the Excel file in plain ol' tab-delimited .txt format and importing that worked well, assigning a QT icon to 95% of the movies and allowing those movie links to be clicked and played back in QT Player. A few files were assigned the paperclip, but those files were easily fixed by removing the quote marks from the link in the Edit DVD... window. Don't know how the quote marks got there, but removing them changed the paperclip to a QT icon, and the movie was then recognized and played properly.

The playback of the movie is not done by us but by WebKit, the Apple web page displaying engine (same one as Safari). Because it can handle QuickTime it can handle movies, but it tends to try and load the entire movie and as you have experienced, sometimes it chokes. Because this part of the software is not in our control we have chosen to open official players like QuickTime, iTunes, VLC or DVD Player instead of letting WebKit try to load the movie. The interesting bit is that it's actually trying to load the movie internally, as it should recognize your .m4v files as movies and send it straight to your favorite player.


That's good to know. Makes sense. As part of my testing yesterday, I selected all of my movies in the finder and did a "Get Info" on the lot, then set the preferred app to "QuickTime" to convert all those iTunes files. Now the files that DVDpedia did recognize as QT files open in QT Player rather than iTunes. But is there a way to set DVDpedia to use a single player so that I won't have to set the preferred app in the finder each time I add a new movie to the hard drive?

To answer the second question, which as you probably found out is an enhancement request, is that there is no merge option. You would have to copy paste the link from one entry to the next one. One trick you might not know is that dragging and dropping a file over the info view in DVDpedia creates a link to that entry. It's a quick way of adding links to already existing entries.


I'm more interested in reducing the number of entries to the actual number of media files I have, so a merging option is still high on my feature wish list (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hint, hint), but the ability to add links between entries could be very useful in certain cases. I'll have to remember that trick. Thanks!
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Re: Adding Files From HD? Merging DVDpedia entries?

Postby Conor » Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:44 pm

All excellent news. Glad DVDpedia is working as advertised.

But is there a way to set DVDpedia to use a single player so that I won't have to set the preferred app in the finder each time I add a new movie to the hard drive?


There is no setting in DVDpedia but since it will abide by the Finder wishes, the best trick is to tell the Finder to open all files of that particular type with QuickTime. You can do that in the Get Info window for a single .m4v file, by setting the "open file with" option to QuickTime and click on the "Change All" button right under that setting to apply it to all m4v files. This will include files you add in the future. Of course this is impractical if you still wish to open some m4v files in iTunes when double clicked. But it's most likely that you will have these files cataloged with iTunes so that will not be an issue.
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