MetaX — Video Tagging

After going through the music tagging showdown, my iTunes library looks fantastic. Cover flow seems so much better when the real art work is presented and smart lists are certainly much more effective with proper tags. Then, one day, I looked at the movies section of my iTunes library and realized that I hated seeing random shots from the movie as the display.

This reminded me that I had gotten a product called Multiplex in a Mac software bundle.

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It’s a nice app. The interface is very clean and it integrates well with Amazon to get covers and supporting movie info. The problem for me is that there is no integration with iTunes, so updates made in Multiplex do not find their way to iTunes. Multiplex wants to be your front end for tracking and viewing your movie collection. This is great if your Mac is your primary means of watching your movies. For me, I want to stream the movies to a TV or put them on my Touch for travel. Although streaming is on the road map for version 1.2 of Multiplex, it isn’t there yet. Version 1.1 came out in September 2009, so I don’t know how active development continues to be on the 1.2 version. So, nice as it is, Multiplex does not meet my needs.

This lead me on a search for something else. That search led to MetaX. A huge selling point for MetaX is that there is no selling price! Free is good if the product works and, after some time spent in SERIOUS frustration, I can confirm that it does indeed work–and it works well once you get the hang of it.

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When you drag or add a file to MetaX, it begins to do a search of TagChimp. The contents of the search box will be the “Name” tag. If your name includes extra data, like the track number, season information, etc., you may need to clean it out to get results. The first entry under the search box will contain the existing tag data for the file you’ve added to MetaX. Below that, you’ll find the search results. Look at each one. When you find one with the artwork and tag information you like, double-click it or hit the “Toggle” button in the menu. Click the “Write” button and MetaX will write the updated tag and artwork to your iTunes library.

If the search doesn’t find artwork you like, you can click the “Movie Posters” button. A drawer will slide out with any movie posters related to your movie.

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Pick the poster you like by clicking it and it will update the artwork in the MetaX main window. If you still don’t find anything, you have several more options. You can use “Frame Grabber” to snag a shot from the video to serve as your artwork. You can use “Scan” to scan the barcode on the DVD case and then MetaX will use the barcode to find the tag details. Personally, I was not able to get a scan, even if I pulled the cover sheet out of the glossy plastic case. Finally, you can activate the IMDB browser to find information. This gives you the most thorough collection (TagChimp seems to cover new movies and classics well but is less effective with older movies). Unfortunately, with this option, you have to copy/paste or select/drag on a field by field basis.

Note that it also allows you to process multiple files, to add the movie to iTunes when it is done tagging, and permits the use of preset data (useful if you’re tagging multiple episodes of a TV series). If your video library needs cleanup, MetaX is a useful tool.

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