My Films 5 released - a whole new trend for MediaPortal 1.2.0 extensions!
My Films is one of the oldest plugins for MediaPortal. Almost two years ago, many devoted users posted in our forums asking about "The Future of My Films?" Unfortunately, the original developer, Zebons, was unable to complete the new version due to time constraints. Luckily Guzzi took up the torch and carried My Films to the Olympic stadium! Guzzi not only completed the development Zebons had started, but added a host of new features that set new trends for the future of MediaPortal extensions. Now isn't that what open source is all about?
What is My Films?
My Films combines the powerful database management features of movie catalog software with the great media centre features of MediaPortal, offering you the best of both!
The plugin is designed primarily for film buffs who have spent considerable time developing an extensive movie catalog, not only of files stored locally on your PC (server, NAS or client, etc.), but DVDs/Blu-ray Discs as well. Thus, the concept and architecture is entirely different than other video plugins.
Seven different popular movie catalog applications are supported:
- Ant Movie Catalog (AMC)
- eXtreme Movie Manager (XMM)
- DVD Profiler
- Eax Movie Catalog
- Personal Video Database (PVD)
- Movie Collector
Ant Movie Catalog (AMC) "is a free (really free, i.e. the source code is available) program made to manage your collection of movies on DVD, CD (VideoCD, DivX, ...) and tapes." It is the primary catalog supported in My Films because it uses an XML database. Thus, updates in either AMC or My Films are made to the same XML database and automatically display in both applications instantly.
You can continue to use your existing movie catalog in any way you wish, but now you can also use it in MediaPortal with My Films. My Films incorporates many advanced movie catalog features into MediaPortal. Best of all, you don't need to rescan your movie catalog data, or ever rescan it again!
If you would like to try out My Films but have never used MediaPortal, please see the MediaPortal Setup guide in the My Films Wiki. It provides instructions to setup MediaPortal quickly and easily to use My Films, as well as any special setup considerations for the movie catalog you use.
What if I don't have a movie catalog?
You can still use My Films to import all your films and create a movie catalog which you can use either in My Films, or in Ant Movie Catalog as well. Of course, previous experience with movie catalogs or databases is helpful - the better your data - the better your results will be. Do you tag your music? The concept is similar, if you want the best results, you usually need to standardize and customize your data.
See the My Films listing in the MediaPortal Downloads Repository. Find out all the features in the extensive My Films Wiki, or continue reading to learn about the many trend setting features in My Films 5. Press the icon in any section below to access more information from the Wiki about that feature.
The Trend Setting Features
My Films 5 offers many new features rarely seen in MediaPortal or any media center app.
By answering just three simple questions you can start using your movie catalog in My Films to display all your movie data, artwork, and play your films. It takes only a few minutes.
Most options are preset based on your movie catalog type, including artwork locations, media info and genre logos and styles. The country setting presets alternate titles and certifications (ratings) grabbed from websites that support them by language or country. Of course all options can be customized to suit your needs or unique system setup. Like many of the latest releases of MP plugins, you can even configure many settings from the My Films Options menu within MediaPortal. including which data you wish to display.
You do not need to copy your database or artwork to each client PC. You can store your films, artwork and even trailers wherever you wish: on your server, NAS, clients, etc. All clients access the same database and artwork wherever you choose to store it. Updates are instantly available to all PCs on your network. Enable WakeOnLan options to wake your NAS when a movie stored on it is played.
Display data from as many databases as you wish, not only films, but your personal videos, documentaries etc. Just use the Setup Wizard to create a new profile or configuration for each database and either display a menu to select them in My Films, or easily switch databases whenever you wish.
Performance on large catalogs
If you have a large collection of films, performance is a key concern. My Films has been tested using catalogs of over 10,000 films. First time load is very fast, but My Films caches your data, thus subsequent loads are almost instant. So, if you have a preconception that XML databases are slow, think again!
My Films supports not only multiple databases, but multiple users as well. Use the Setup Wizard to easily create different configurations, or profiles, for each user, with different settings, such as your preferred layout, view, sort method etc.
Have you ever been annoyed when someone else has watched a film but you haven't? In My Films, you can keep track of watch status separately for each user.
Most of all, you can easily filter your films for different users, by using either separate databases or separate configurations for the same database, and password protect them to restrict access.
Select a film, select the Trailers option and find the trailers related to your film via the OnlineVideos plugin. My Films can look up not only IMDb trailers, but Apple or YouTube trailers as well.
There's more! Download the trailers you find using OnlineVideos in MediaPortal, or using any other Windows app, and My Films can automatically link your locally stored trailers to your films and play them back for you.
Have you ever wanted to find out all the films you have by the same director/producer/writer, or starring the same actor?
My Films offers an entirely new, advanced way of searching your films. With context related searches you can find all films with the same director/producer/actor etc without typing a single character! Or, search by any property/field in your database, even using predefined custom searches you often wish to use.
The key to any good database is the consistency and quality of data. This is not always easy to achieve using web data, but with My Films you can!
Of course you can scan your hard drives and import new films whenever you wish, even within My Films. My Films uses advanced 'fuzzi' logic to achieve the best match results of your films. However there are many ways you can choose to manage films that are hard to match, such as import only titles then update the data by matching them individually, only import exact matches then manually match the rest, etc.
You can also customize how, and what, data is grabbed, for both imports and updates, such as:
- Grab data from different sites for different fields.
- Update only specific fields, and use your own custom predefined values if you wish.
- Find films with incomplete movie data (empty fields) and update only those fields.
If you are still not happy with the results, you can update your data within My Films by field, by film, or globally change field data for all or selected films using AMC Updater.
If that's not enough for you, My Films also offers the newly integrated Ant Movie Catalog Updater (AMCU) for more controlled imports of those hard to match films, or for batch updates by field.
AMC Updater, originally developed by OrionHall, offers all the database management power you could ever want.
AMC Updater can display matches for you ranked by relevance, with links to the IMDb page. Or, you can enter search hints such as the year or IMDb tt number to improve your search results.
Although My Films presets grabber options for you, you may choose your own options, which apply to all grabbers, to select:
- Number of actors/persons to grab
- Actor roles or not
- Country/language and number of certifications (such as MPAA ratings) and alternate titles (e.g. AKAs)
You may also customize each grabber you use separately. My Films provides a new Grabber Engine with it's own Graphic User Interface (GUI) for more detailed customization, such as which fields to grab, setting different grabber options for each grabber, or mapping and merging data by field. Or, you can use it to create your own grabber for your favorite website.
My Films currently provides 21 grabber scripts but users have already begun using the new Grabber Interface to create even more.
How much is too much? It's up to you! In Artwork Setup you can choose if you wish to display covers and fanart images, person (actor) images, group view images or default images, whatever you prefer.
You can download as many covers as you wish, and change them as often as you like. Grab different covers from different websites, data from another website, or download all covers from themoviedatabase.org (TMDb) website. A full cover manager is already planned for a future version.
You can also download all the fanart from TMDb if you wish. By default My Films adds it when you scan/add new films, but it's your choice. My Films will display all your fanart images - randomly in the main window, or cycling as many images as you have in the Details window. My Films even offers a special Fanart View which allows you to browse your films viewing full fanart and the main movie data.
If you don't have fanart for a film, or for documentaries, personal videos, etc, you can instantly create fanart while using My Films to add snapshots from the video as fanart. Choose from a single mosaic image, multiple fanart images, or a snapshot of your choosing from the film. Just press the record button/key while watching a film and presto, you have a fanart image for your film which will display immediately in My Films.
My Films supports three different styles, or sets, of media info and genre logos out of the box, However you can use the Logos Editor in Setup to customize them, define your own rules for which logos display when, or add your own custom logos for any data you wish to display visually, such as country flags for the country or language of the film (requires skin support).
My Films comes with several default views to group your films by: Categories (Genres), Years, Country or Actors. Category thumb images created by 'digitalhigh' and Carlos 'Fiinix' Nabb are provided in the installer, courtesy of Fiinix Design.
Of course you may load and use your own images, or provide images for other views. My Films provides default images for all the built-in views, and you can easily change or add your own view images. A set of flag images which can be used for the Country view (or a custom Language view) is available in the My Films Custom Artwork forum thread.
Custom Fields, Sorts, Views
Customization is the trump card of MediaPortal, and My Films follows suit. You can define your own:
- Custom Views such as Directors/Producers/Writers/Studio views with filters for each view
- Custom Fieldsto choose which fields display on the Details Overview. You can even change them within My Films.
- Custom Sort ordersto sort your films by any field you wish.
- Custom Filters for each configuration/profile you create
In case you have not noticed, the watchword for MediaPortal 1.2.0 extensions is integration! My Films supports integration with several MediaPortal plugins: Trakt for recommended movies, OnlineVideos for trailers, SubCentral for subtitles, and Browse the Web (unofficial v3.2.0 for MP 1.2.0) for access to related IMDb pages and My Films Wiki help pages from within My Films.
The user interface is currently availabe in six languages, but you can easily add more. You need only translate the simple XML language files in a text editor to display My Films in your language. Of course your data will display in the language of the source website you choose.
Titles in your own language
My Films has always supported translated titles in your own language. You may choose to display either the translated title or the original title (even formatted titles) as the 'master title' for your film, while the other title will still display as a 'secondary title' if you choose. However, My Films 5 has significantly improved matching regardless of what title you select.
That's just a few highlights of the some of the great new features My Films 5 offers. If you want to give it a try, just install the Sample Movies database option when you install My Films and see how it works.
Many thanks to Guzzi for the awesome innovations he has introduced to MediaPortal with My Films 5. It's a whole new trend for MediaPortal 1.2.0 Extensions!
My Films 5 is also available for download via the MediaPortal Extensions Installer (MPEI), provided with MediaPortal, or the companion Extensions plugin (separate download requried) to install, update and manage Extensions from within MediaPortal.