The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Media metadata management, transcoding and editing

Usefulness: 🔧 🔧 🔧
Novelty: 💡 💡
Uncertainty: 🤪
Incompleteness: 🚧 🚧

Cat and Girl: XML is Quetzlcoatl

I make music and DJ, and I would like to bulk edit and search my media using my own criteria, especially when it comes to dealing with the crappy media metadata that other artists give me with their tracks. In general I am interested in managing the affiliated artwork and various media artefacts in bulk, en masse and without paying Adobe to waste my hard disk space with their nonsense software.

See also machine listening, playing music.



Technical details of converting AV formats from whatever you have, to whatever you need to use.

Check with your local jurisdiction’s intellectual property laws before doing any of these. I honestly have no idea any more what is legal and what is not. Ask a lawyer before getting out of bed or brushing your teeth idk.

See also remix, innovation.


Ant provides open-source WebRTC streaming.

Rip web videos

Remember kids, for fair use only!

youtube-dl (source) is a script that (despite the name) downloads not just youtube videos but whole playlists of videos from many many websites, setting up transcoding etc for offline use.

$ brew install youtube-dl
$ youtube-dl ''
[youtube] esV6ypDDoVA: Downloading webpage
[youtube] esV6ypDDoVA: Downloading video info webpage
WARNING: Requested formats are incompatible for merge and will be merged into mkv.
[download] Destination: BIGGEST WAVES EVER SURFED IN HISTORY …-esV6ypDDoVA.f136.mp4
[download]  53.3% of 56.97MiB at  1.61MiB/s ETA 00:16

Jwz’s minimalist youtubedown is a script that seems optimised for a no-fuss server-side download bookmarklet

Given a YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr, Vine or Instagram video URL, downloads the underlying video file, with a sensible file name. It downloads the highest resolution version of the video available: first it tries HD MP4, then regular MP4, then WebM, and finally FLV. It also works on playlists, and works as a bookmarklet to download the video you’re watching.

rip VCDS

Rip VCDs because copying the files doesn’t work. (See also ripping VCD to various formats) Two choices. Firstly, using Mencoder which is ubiquitous but ugly.

$ mplayer vcd://  # tells you how many tracks. rip desired ones:
$ for i in 2 3 4 5 6; do
>   mencoder vcd://$i -oac lavc -ovc lavc -o track_$i.avi ;
> done

Depending on where you want to play it, the following non-re-encoding step might be more hi-fi:

mplayer vcd://2 -dumpstream -dumpfile filename.mpg  # No re-encoding

On the other hand, you might want to play this on a mac, which won’t work with either of the above steps without specialist software, so you’ll need to re-encode. See FFMPEG for that, since I couldn’t make it work with Mencoder.

Alternatively, use a specialist VCD ripper, such as vxdxrip in the vcdimager system.


Falling back to MP3 for some tedious vendor lock-in reason? My default fairly hi-fi mode is

lame --preset fast extreme


The ubiquitous multitool of audio/video decoding. Essential. See FFMPEG.


Handbrake is a GUI for movie conversion.


See image editing.



See PDFs.


Organising and searching photos

It would be nice to have some kind of smart annotation and viewing system which used AI to tag the photos without depending upon Google’s creepy data mining infrastructure. ownphotos aims for this.

Digikam is a whole photo library and metadata management system.

Tropy is an open source photo manager targeting researchers.

Tropy is free, open-source software that allows you to organize and describe photographs of research material. Once you have imported your photos into Tropy, you can combine photos into items (e.g., photos of the three pages of a letter into a single item), and group photos into lists. You can also describe the content of a photograph. Tropy uses customizable metadata templates with multiple fields for different properties of the content of your photo, for example, title, date, author, box, folder, collection, archive.


exiftool and exiv2 seem to be popular media manipulation libraries. pyexiv2 is a python binding. Mediainfo is “a convenient unified display of the most relevant technical and tag data for video and audio files.”

Erase all (or most) of the explicit metadata from an image:

exiftool -all= filename.jpg


ExifTool is not guaranteed to remove metadata completely from a file when attempting to delete all metadata. For JPEG images, all APP segments (except Adobe APP14, which is not removed by default) and trailers are removed which effectively removes all metadata, but for other formats the results are less complete:

mat attempts to erase all metadata from everything it can handle.

Editing video

Free/libre video editors

Searching/indexing/analysing audio