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  #1  
Old 05-12-2006, 06:40 PM
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Requirements capture for Video Library

There comes a time when you've just got to take a step back and look at what you're doing. Well I've been doing that WRT IVL, and it's apparent that I've really got no plan and thus no way to succeed.

That's really pretty bad considering I'm a Systems Engineer and planning/defining requirements is part of my job

So, here I am to attempt to rectify the situation. I'm starting this thread as a place to put down some high level requirements for the Sage video library, so that I can have a more clear picture of what the video library should be, and keep track of what's going in. It's looking like it's a pretty ambitious list.

I'm going to put down my requirements, comments are welcome, "good" comments may be added as requirements as well. One potential positive side effect of this, is that such organization will make it more possible for others to "take a stab" at some functionality as well.

I just want to preface this all with it being in my spare time, and I don't know how much time I'll be willing or able to spend on it. Further, at this point, I do not know if all of this is possible/practical. So onto the requirements.
  • The Video Library shall provide enhanced metadata from source(s) external to SageTV (eg DVD Profiler). The following data will be provided:
    • Original title (including special characters)
    • Description
    • Runtime
    • Rating
    • Aspect Ratio
    • Cast with respective roles
    • Audio formats
    • Genre/category
    • Front Cover
    • Back Cover
  • The Video Library shall provide for grouping of videos by the following methods:
    • Title
    • Genre/category
    • Filesystem
    This may include the capability for handling box sets and series.
  • The Video Library shall provide filtering of videos by the following methods:
    • Genre/category
    • Rating
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability to Search by actor (the intention is to allow browsing the cast and by selecting an actor, provide a list of other films/roles that actor has played).
  • The Video Library shall provide a list of recently imported media.
  • The Video Library shall provide a list of recently viewed media.
  • The Video Library shall offer to "remember" the viewed position in each media file.
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability for managing trailers, including playing trailers before a viewing.
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability for associating trailers with "special" media (eg, associating THX trailers with THX movies)
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability for creating "playlists" (for example to batch multi-part videos).
  • The Video Library shall provide display of media in the following ways:
    • List
    • Thumbnail
  • The Video Library shall provide for automatic Aspect Ratio selection/calculation.
  • The Video Library may provide an "intelligent" browsing view.

Last edited by stanger89; 05-17-2007 at 06:49 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2007, 04:22 PM
Halstead Halstead is offline
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Stanger-
Seeing your other post on the MM thread, (and having a very strong desire for this myself) I though I'd throw in my two cents as well. I have been a software product manager so maybe that'll help as well (of course, it could hurt too).

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
[*]The Video Library shall provide enhanced metadata from source(s) external to SageTV (eg DVD Profiler). The following data will be provided:
  • Original title (including special characters)
  • Description
  • Runtime
  • Rating
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Cast with respective roles
  • Audio formats
  • Genre/category
All good.

Quote:
[*]The Video Library shall provide for grouping of videos by the following methods:
  • Title
  • Genre/category
  • Filesystem
This may include the capability for handling box sets and series.[*]The Video Library shall provide filtering of videos by the following methods:
  • Genre/category
  • Rating
[*]The Video Library shall provide the capability to Search by actor (the intention is to allow browsing the cast and by selecting an actor, provide a list of other films/roles that actor has played).[*]The Video Library shall provide a list of recently imported media.[*]The Video Library shall provide a list of recently viewed media.[*]The Video Library shall offer to "remember" the viewed position in each media file.[*]The Video Library shall provide the capability for managing trailers, including playing trailers before a viewing.[*]The Video Library shall provide the capability for associating trailers with "special" media (eg, associating THX trailers with THX movies)[*]The Video Library shall provide the capability for creating "playlists" (for example to batch multi-part videos).[*]The Video Library shall provide display of media in the following ways:
  • List
  • Thumbnail
[*]The Video Library shall provide for automatic Aspect Ratio selection/calculation.[*]The Video Library may provide an "intelligent" browsing view.[/LIST]
Seems like some of this is in the new Sage metadata standard. I'd like to add the following:
  • Location field
    (The DB should store the location of the media file, afor both on-line and off-line media (see below))
  • Off-Line description field
    (This could offer two things' a) a physical description of the location such as 'DVD Library Shelf' or allow for the launching of an external application)
  • Human readable/editable format
    (This makes it much easier for 3rd part parsers to read/write metatata without having to access the wiz.bin, which should allow for far more folks working on cool extensions)
  • .my file compatibility
    (there's just soooo much work that's been done with .my files for MyHTPC, Meedio, SageMC and others, it seems a shame to back off now)
  • Easy Searchability
    (This to me is the biggest weakness to the .my format, and is largely due to the decentralized nature of .my files. I was thinking of calling the requirement 'centralized location' but that would be a spec, I just want to be able to easily write a program that can search the metadata DB).

There's one other thing that I'd like to see, that isn't necessarily a requirement of the DB itself, but has more to do with UI:
  • Integration with Sage recordings DB
    (Most of my weekly TV viewing comes from recordings, but it's supplemented with downloads- I'd like to have the ability to filter/search recordings and other media (TV, etc) at the same time, and display the results together. This could open up the door for a lot of cool new screens and views).

So, I wonder how much of this can be covered with My Movies?
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  #3  
Old 05-07-2007, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halstead View Post
Stanger-
Seeing your other post on the MM thread, (and having a very strong desire for this myself) I though I'd throw in my two cents as well. I have been a software product manager so maybe that'll help as well (of course, it could hurt too).


All good.


Seems like some of this is in the new Sage metadata standard. I'd like to add the following:
The intention was to outline what (I thought) the desired functionality would be, without regard to where it would come from or how it would be implemented.

Step 1 is to figure out what you want it to do, Step 2 is to figure out if it's feasable and prioritize. The more stuff that can be done natively with the Sage core, the better
Quote:
  • Location field
    (The DB should store the location of the media file, afor both on-line and off-line media (see below))
  • Off-Line description field
    (This could offer two things' a) a physical description of the location such as 'DVD Library Shelf' or allow for the launching of an external application)
  • Human readable/editable format
    (This makes it much easier for 3rd part parsers to read/write metatata without having to access the wiz.bin, which should allow for far more folks working on cool extensions)
  • .my file compatibility
    (there's just soooo much work that's been done with .my files for MyHTPC, Meedio, SageMC and others, it seems a shame to back off now)
  • Easy Searchability
    (This to me is the biggest weakness to the .my format, and is largely due to the decentralized nature of .my files. I was thinking of calling the requirement 'centralized location' but that would be a spec, I just want to be able to easily write a program that can search the metadata DB).
First, it seems you're focusing mostly on the data container, which while important, is I think lower level than we need to be immediately concerned with. It's definitely a consideration, but I think we need to figure out some baseline functionality before we will know what data we need.

Second, some comments on the thoughts, I see offline DVDs come up a lot, I think that should be a goal, I'm not sure what priority it should be due to the difficulty of integrating it with Sage.

.my files - No offense to .my file fans, but .my files are dead IMO. The app that chartered them is gone, and with Sage's native properties file support, I don't see a whole lot of point in supporting a format that does little more than convey data. I see a database of some sort as the future, and metadata.properties files as possibly a primary tool in getting data into Sage.

Quote:
There's one other thing that I'd like to see, that isn't necessarily a requirement of the DB itself, but has more to do with UI:
Just to reitterate if it wasn't clear, the requirements I'm hoping to capture are for the entire package, not just the database.
Quote:
  • Integration with Sage recordings DB
    (Most of my weekly TV viewing comes from recordings, but it's supplemented with downloads- I'd like to have the ability to filter/search recordings and other media (TV, etc) at the same time, and display the results together. This could open up the door for a lot of cool new screens and views).
I really think leveraging the Sage database is the ideal way to go, however in my limited investigations, it seems there are some limitations that are hard to overcome. Those that immediately come to mind are lack of a link between character and actor.

Quote:
So, I wonder how much of this can be covered with My Movies?
That's really my biggest question. I installed MM on my XP desktop and can play with the Collection Management app, and truthfully I'm somewhat disappointed. I'm not sure what smarts are in MM, but they don't appear (on the surface) to be in the database. It's a lot like DVD Profiler, but it's more limited. I think it just reinforces the point that it would really be a shame if DVD Profiler dies.

But beyond that, it just clarifies that it's the UI, not the database that's the important point. Like I said in the other thread, getting the data isn't the hard part, there are many sources, but presenting that info is where the real value is.
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  #4  
Old 05-15-2007, 07:47 PM
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PGPfan PGPfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
There comes a time when you've just got to take a step back and look at what you're doing. Well I've been doing that WRT IVL, and it's apparent that I've really got no plan and thus no way to succeed.

That's really pretty bad considering I'm a Systems Engineer and planning/defining requirements is part of my job

So, here I am to attempt to rectify the situation. I'm starting this thread as a place to put down some high level requirements for the Sage video library, so that I can have a more clear picture of what the video library should be, and keep track of what's going in. It's looking like it's a pretty ambitious list.

I'm going to put down my requirements, comments are welcome, "good" comments may be added as requirements as well. One potential positive side effect of this, is that such organization will make it more possible for others to "take a stab" at some functionality as well.

I just want to preface this all with it being in my spare time, and I don't know how much time I'll be willing or able to spend on it. Further, at this point, I do not know if all of this is possible/practical. So onto the requirements.
  • The Video Library shall provide enhanced metadata from source(s) external to SageTV (eg DVD Profiler). The following data will be provided:
    • Original title (including special characters)
    • Description
    • Runtime
    • Rating
    • Aspect Ratio
    • Cast with respective roles
    • Audio formats
    • Genre/category
  • The Video Library shall provide for grouping of videos by the following methods:
    • Title
    • Genre/category
    • Filesystem
    This may include the capability for handling box sets and series.
  • To me, the last line regarding box sets is the big one to include (perhaps the holy grail?), is DVDPro3.x any better at this? How about and auxilliary DB from TV.com, or somewhere else specifically for box sets?
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stanger89
  • The Video Library shall provide filtering of videos by the following methods:
    • Genre/category
    • Rating
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability to Search by actor (the intention is to allow browsing the cast and by selecting an actor, provide a list of other films/roles that actor has played).
  • The Video Library shall provide a list of recently imported media.
  • The Video Library shall provide a list of recently viewed media.
  • The Video Library shall offer to "remember" the viewed position in each media file.
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability for managing trailers, including playing trailers before a viewing.
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability for associating trailers with "special" media (eg, associating THX trailers with THX movies)
  • The Video Library shall provide the capability for creating "playlists" (for example to batch multi-part videos).
  • The Video Library shall provide display of media in the following ways:
    • List
    • Thumbnail
  • The Video Library shall provide for automatic Aspect Ratio selection/calculation.
  • The Video Library may provide an "intelligent" browsing view.
Can you elaborate on what "intelligent" browsing view means from a users perspective?

One other thought regarding 'Off-line' storage - I wonder if somehow one could modify the 'pop-up' notification plug-in that neilm did for this purpose? It would only be used if you had a need for offline playback (not me, with everything on the HDD), but using the existing plug-in might make the creation of this feature a little easier.

-PGPfan
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  #5  
Old 05-15-2007, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGPfan View Post
To me, the last line regarding box sets is the big one to include (perhaps the holy grail?), is DVDPro3.x any better at this?
Actually it is I think (well depends on what you mean), in 3.0, one of the problems with using 2.4 data was only the parent held box-set info. In 3.0, the children hold what the parent is. Considering Sage only knows about the children, this makes detecting box sets much easier.

Quote:
How about and auxilliary DB from TV.com, or somewhere else specifically for box sets?
I'm not really sure how to integrate that. Ideally I'd like to see the actual UI portion completely self-contained in Sage (so as to be independent of data source), and that's mostly possible with the current state of Sage. But there are a few things (namely real "Role" info) that Sage doesn't support natively.

This is also something that will need to be thought about. Sage has a built-in way to make dealing with Box sets simpler, unfortunately, with the way the stock STV deals with media, doing so would totally break the stock filesystem browsing capability for media files. That may just have to be a "feature".

Quote:
Can you elaborate on what "intelligent" browsing view means from a users perspective?
In a nutshell, it's a concept I have, don't know for sure if I came up with it, or if I picked it up from something else, but basically it would work like this. You have a two dimentional view, with the selection centered in the middle. The middle row would contain the neighboring titles in alphabetical order. Then each vertical collumn would be the neighboring titles, also in alpha order, but filtered by the Genre/Category of title in the center row.

Basically left/right scrolling would be normal alphabetic order, up/down would be alphabetic in the same Genre. It's kind of more of an "I don't know what I want to watch" sort of view.

Quote:
One other thought regarding 'Off-line' storage - I wonder if somehow one could modify the 'pop-up' notification plug-in that neilm did for this purpose? It would only be used if you had a need for offline playback (not me, with everything on the HDD), but using the existing plug-in might make the creation of this feature a little easier.
I'm not familiar with that plugin, but making a popup isn't very hard (couple minutes in Studio). The difficulty in handling offline media in Sage, is that the Sage database is definitely the easiest way to deal with media (in general). It offers a pretty rich set of filtering/searching/grouping capabilities. However it only knows about "online" media, to deal with offline media, you either need to handle that externally from Sage, or to trick it into thinking files exist that don't (and then having the UI be smart enough to know not to try and play them).

I know SageMC handled it somehow, but I don't know how....
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  #6  
Old 05-16-2007, 02:52 PM
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Couple more suggestions:

Video library shall provide list of rips from past 5 days
Video library shall provide list of rips from past 10 days


This makes it very easy to get to the ones you have just added. Depending on how many you rip the 5 and 10 view gives you plenty of time to find them conveniently.


Gerry
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:57 PM
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That would be these :
# The Video Library shall provide a list of recently imported media.
# The Video Library shall provide a list of recently viewed media.

Of course that does bring up a question. How do you organize stuff like that? Do you go with sort of a "homepage" (like SageMC's Recordings summary page) from where you can access full lists, eg:

From Sage Menu -> SageMovies
SageMovies displays 5 most recently viewed.
SageMovies displays 5 most recently added.
SageMovies displays "random" not viewed in long time.

Provides access to full browser, search, etc?

Or should the recently viewed, recently added, etc just be views accessed from the main recording list (ala current Sage Video library)?

Last edited by stanger89; 05-16-2007 at 03:02 PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2007, 09:25 PM
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What about making the back cover Images Available?? DVD Profiler has all the data & Images already in place. Possibly as an option when you select the full cover view??
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  #9  
Old 05-16-2007, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95TBird View Post
What about making the back cover Images Available?? DVD Profiler has all the data & Images already in place. Possibly as an option when you select the full cover view??
Hmmm, now something like a '3-d' revolving DVD case might look kind of cool! The possibilities are endless...., Stanger I think you could be a busy guy spec'ing out the new features.

-PGPfan
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  #10  
Old 05-17-2007, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95TBird View Post
What about making the back cover Images Available?? DVD Profiler has all the data & Images already in place. Possibly as an option when you select the full cover view??
The current importer already copies them (if you run it, you'll notice a "back.jpg" copied. I'd like that as well.

Not a big fan of spinning stuff though. Hey, I like specing stuff out though
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  #11  
Old 05-22-2007, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
Of course that does bring up a question. How do you organize stuff like that? Do you go with sort of a "homepage" (like SageMC's Recordings summary page) from where you can access full lists, eg:

From Sage Menu -> SageMovies
SageMovies displays 5 most recently viewed.
SageMovies displays 5 most recently added.
SageMovies displays "random" not viewed in long time.

Provides access to full browser, search, etc?

Or should the recently viewed, recently added, etc just be views accessed from the main recording list (ala current Sage Video library)?
Just to bump the question.....
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Old 05-22-2007, 06:09 PM
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gplasky gplasky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89
Of course that does bring up a question. How do you organize stuff like that? Do you go with sort of a "homepage" (like SageMC's Recordings summary page) from where you can access full lists, eg:

From Sage Menu -> SageMovies
SageMovies displays 5 most recently viewed.
SageMovies displays 5 most recently added.
SageMovies displays "random" not viewed in long time.

Provides access to full browser, search, etc?

Or should the recently viewed, recently added, etc just be views accessed from the main recording list (ala current Sage Video library)?

Just to bump the question.....
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Just to bump the question.....
I'm partial to the home page like SageMC. Maybe have a "View" button and on each click it rotates through "5 Newest" "Last 5 Watched" "Most Watched" "Been a While"
(Not sure how you could come up with most watched unless you kept count somewhere.)

Gerry
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  #13  
Old 05-23-2007, 07:14 AM
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I would really like better searching capabilities.
I have over 1500 movies and over 4000 imported videos. Most of wich have been imported into the database using JREKiwi's stvi.
I would like to be able to search multiple strings in the dascription or actors fields.
IE: Input 2 actors. As it is right now, even with the search stvi all searches are treated like one long string.
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  #14  
Old 05-26-2007, 02:01 PM
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Alright, I've confirmed I totally suck at GUI design

Functionality I'm pretty good with, making that functionality pretty and user-friendly, well, I think I could use some help with that. Anybody interested in throwing together some thoughts for layouts? I can't quite figure out how to make it integrate with the current UI....
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  #15  
Old 05-26-2007, 02:47 PM
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Not trying to bring up a dead horse, but maybe try to imitate/duplicate MyMovies rather than try to integrate with the design of the current Sage UI. You could use the current UI backgrounds and color schemes and button styles, but try the MM layout.

Just a thought.

-PGPfan
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  #16  
Old 05-26-2007, 02:51 PM
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Except that I have no idea how MM actually works, how it flows, how the menus interact, and when I tried it (installed Vista temporarilly) I couldn't get it to work. Screenshots only tell you so much.
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Old 05-26-2007, 03:06 PM
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You might want to look at YouTube demo here, it's not great (actually demonstrates an error) but may help.

-PGPfan
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  #18  
Old 06-08-2007, 09:50 AM
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Hi guys. I have found the whole '.my' file format to be a kind of patch for whats really needed: tagging the avi with searchable and editable data. Metadata is crucial.

That said I thought I read somewhere that the AVI file container is limited in its Metadata support. Whereas in a plain old text file like an '.my' file the sky is the limit. The .my file collection can becomes a searchable database. So we'll see where Metadata takes us.

So now we have a new section in wiz.biz for Metadata properties which I understand is not the same as metadata tags that attaches directly to a video file.

In that vein I have been very busy learning programming Python and have developed a very alpha version of a video browser that shows the my file data associated with a given video. Its now a matter of tweaking it with bells and whistles such as search and different view formats, etc. Some day someone smarter than me will find a way to make a Sage plugin to access it through Sage.

Stranger89 I think your 100% correct in this venture- all the needs defined here by you and other users are very important. More and more the video library is taking center stage whereas the mpg recordings section is less and less of an issue.

The normal Sage paradigm is that Sage recordings of mpg's repressent casual viewing needs. In other words videos that I watch and may discard on a daily basis. The video library is the storage of items that the user plans to keep. whenever you have a library, you need an indexing system. Metadata standards is the first step towards that goal.

Id like to add one item to your list:
  • The video library should be directory indifferent. That is sorting of files should be based on the Title or Genre etc. It should matter it the video is stored in a folder called 'abc'. The video as contents are what matters not the location on the hard drive.
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Last edited by roxy99; 06-08-2007 at 01:30 PM.
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  #19  
Old 06-08-2007, 09:28 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxy99 View Post
Hi guys. I have found the whole '.my' file format to be a kind of patch for whats really needed: tagging the avi with searchable and editable data. Metadata is crucial.

That said I thought I read somewhere that the AVI file container is limited in its Metadata support.
I don't think avi's support anything natively. Plus, even if they did, where does that leave us with DVDs (IFO/VOB), MPG, TS, TP, MKV, MP4....

Quote:
Whereas in a plain old text file like an '.my' file the sky is the limit. The .my file collection can becomes a searchable database.
".my" files themselves aren't searchable at all, at least not remotely efficiently, to do anything with them you have to read them all into some sort of database.

Quote:
So we'll see where Metadata takes us.

So now we have a new section in wiz.biz for Metadata properties which I understand is not the same as metadata tags that attaches directly to a video file.
Not sure what you mean, nothing's really changed in the internal Sage database. If you're referring to support for .properties files, that's a feature Sage added that it will now load metadata (same data it had before) from a .properties file, automatically.

Quote:
In that vein I have been very busy learning programming Python and have developed a very alpha version of a video browser that shows the my file data associated with a given video. Its now a matter of tweaking it with bells and whistles such as search and different view formats, etc. Some day someone smarter than me will find a way to make a Sage plugin to access it through Sage.
Before you spend a lot of time, what exactly are you doing?

Quote:
Stranger89 I think your 100% correct in this venture- all the needs defined here by you and other users are very important. More and more the video library is taking center stage whereas the mpg recordings section is less and less of an issue.
I still think the PVR is the real core of SageTV.

Quote:
The normal Sage paradigm is that Sage recordings of mpg's repressent casual viewing needs. In other words videos that I watch and may discard on a daily basis. The video library is the storage of items that the user plans to keep. whenever you have a library, you need an indexing system. Metadata standards is the first step towards that goal.

Id like to add one item to your list:
  • The video library should be directory indifferent. That is sorting of files should be based on the Title or Genre etc. It should matter it the video is stored in a folder called 'abc'. The video as contents are what matters not the location on the hard drive.
I think that's implied by the ability to filter/sort/group on various fields.
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  #20  
Old 06-09-2007, 01:15 PM
roxy99 roxy99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
I don't think avi's support anything natively. Plus, even if they did, where does that leave us with DVDs (IFO/VOB), MPG, TS, TP, MKV, MP4....
So tagging within the file format avi, mp4 or whatever is not an option

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
".my" files themselves aren't searchable at all, at least not remotely efficiently, to do anything with them you have to read them all into some sort of database.

Once read anything is searchable. You can even have a bridging application to bring into whatever database format you want. Say an Jet database, SQL or Zope. An .my file is a simple text file that can be parsed by having software search the keywords. I was very impressed at how fast my Python application grabs the data from all my .my file (BTW- who called them .my files? Its a very confusing extension.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
Not sure what you mean, nothing's really changed in the internal Sage database. If you're referring to support for .properties files, that's a feature Sage added that it will now load metadata (same data it had before) from a .properties file, automatically.
Thats sort of what I meant but the Sage database structure and its inards are completely foreign to me. And I know nothing about Java.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
Before you spend a lot of time, what exactly are you doing?
Its a standalone Multimedia organizer and player. I guess I'm reinventing the wheel. Its an educational project mainly for fun for me. A great way to learn Python and experiment with GUI tools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
I still think the PVR is the real core of SageTV.
More and more people are talking about the video library. However, you're probably right that there is a silient majority who view the PVR as the core. The hardcore video collectors are more vocal and present on the forums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
I think that's implied by the ability to filter/sort/group on various fields.
Was that on your want list or is that ability already implemented?
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Last edited by roxy99; 06-09-2007 at 01:18 PM.
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