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Topics - Nod5 [ switch to compact view ]

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I have a large amount of TV recordings made with a DVB tv-card. The files are .mpg and in most cases 2+ GB in size. The collection is large enough for me to need a good catalog system. I have a text index but recently got the idea of also making a contact sheet image for each video. By contact sheet I mean one image which contains a mosaic of many small thumbnail images from different parts of the video file. That provides a quick visual overview of the video.

I've recently made a few such contact sheets through a many-steps-process: I manually make screenshots in the application I use to also trim the video (commercial breaks and so on) before archiving it. After that, I use ACDSee to create a contact sheet out of the images.

Now I'm searching for a way to automate contact sheet creation from videos into a simple batch process.

So I want an application with these features:

1. read a video file and make screencaps
 - formats to handle: .mpg and ideally other formats like xvid .avi, .wmv ...
 - interval screencaps: I want a coherent contact sheet format and so want a sure way to get at least X number of screencaps (let's say 30) from any video regardless of it's length. So a "screencap every N seconds" setting might need to be complemented by a "screencap at every 1/N time segment of video".
 - timestamped screencaps: add a (customizable) timestamp to each screencap
(I understand that many automatic screenshots will be less useful than those taken manually but if I make many screencaps some of them will probably still give a good overview of the video.)

2. make contact sheet from screencaps
 - add a user customizable title/header for the contact sheet. Allow variables in header. Example: "$filename -- $year-$month-$day"
 - customizability for the amount of thumbnails, number os rows/lines, size of thumbnails, borders, background ...

3. saving
 - automatically save the generated contact sheet to some preset folder. Allow variables in filename just like for header/title above.
4. batch capabilities
 - run 1-3 over a set files/folders.
 - Or at the very least, allow complete command line control so that users can make external scripts to get such batch capabilities.
4 is important for me since I don't have the time to manually or even semi-manually make contact sheets for all older videos.

Can anyone recommend a tool that does all that? Or something that comes close? All suggestions are welcome!

I googled some before writing this post, but didn't find much. One problem is that I'm unsure what the definite keyword for such software is. I write "contact sheet" only because ACDSee call it that. So suggestions for what terms to search for might be useful for me too.

Great, detailed review! Will read it more carefully later. For now, I want to comment one thing that I don't think is mentioned in the review: an additional plus with is that it can be made portable. keeps a portable version updated. Just download, unpack and you're ready to go. I always carry around the portable version on my USB memory stick. Portable -

In Win XP it is possible to add menus to the taskbar that displays any folder and all its subfolders and -files.
I use that feature a lot for very quick access to C:.

The only downside with the built in feature is that it wastes taskbar space for no good reason:
- the "arrow" that opens the menu is 1cm to the right of the label (could be above it)
- for root drives, XP forces the text "(C:)" to the right of the drive's name.


I have three harddrives and would ideally like to have a menu for each drive's root folder plus one more folder but refrain because it wastes too much taskbar space.

So my idea is this:

A tool that retains all the built in features for taskbar menus but that decreases the taskbar space for each menu.

Here's how I imagine it:


Clarification 1: there are several small apps that allow customizable menus from a tray icon. LaunchBarCommander , https://www.donation...Commander/index.html is one example. But I very much prefer a menu on the taskbar area to the left of the tray, since the tray icons tend to rearrange themselves as new applications start and close.

Clarification 2: my idea was to only find a way to decrease the taskbar space usage. The idea does not involve any added functionality on top of the built in folder menu feature. Again, there are several apps (again, like LaunchBarCommander) with a very rich set of features. I emphasize this because more features tend to come with larger file size and slower operation. Since I use the menu feature a lot even a small delay between a click and folder display would be annoying in the long run.

Any ideas how this idea could be implemented? I know that some applications add a search field, drop spot and so on to the taskbar so it is clearly possible, but I have no idea how complicated it is.

I've recently tried to follow the many great GOE-threads in the forum. In the process of doing that I've made many bookmarks, but bookmarking is slowed down by the fact that the page title for forum threads does not include the string "" like all non-forum page titles does. Manually adding such a string to the title of each bookmark is time-consuming (in the long run at least).

So I request such a string for forum page titles. It's a good thing to consistently include some such string in all page titles since it makes searching and managing all and only bookmarks to the site much easier.

Also, a better system, IMO, would be to reverse the current page title phrases for regular pages, like this:

" - Software - Mouser - PopUp Wisdom"

With that order, all bookmarks from the site can be grouped simply by sorting a bookmarks folder alphabetically.

These are minor problems, I grant that.  But also perhaps minor tasks to fix?

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