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Managing your movie collection with Griffith

By Rui Lopes on December 12, 2008 (7:00:00 PM)

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For a long time, I recorded a basic list of all the backups I made of my movie collection in a scruffy notebook. In due time, I found that relying on a simple piece of paper was wishful thinking. I then endured the laborious process of migrating my list to a spreadsheet on my computer -- but that still wasn't enough. Eventually I found Griffith, a movie collection manager, and was pleasantly surprised to discover what it was capable of.

The first thing I looked for when I installed Griffith was the ability to categorize the items on my list according to the number of the DVD they were in. I also wanted the ability to export the list to a readable format. Both options were present.

The main window of Griffith is divided into two panes. The movie list on the left contains the movies' titles and thumbnails of their covers, amongst other data. You can select the data to be displayed on the left pane in the Preferences dialog. The toolbar on the top provides the ability to sort or filter items, and also contains most of the options you'll need when using Griffith. The right pane shows information about the selected movie, divided into tabs, including a larger version of the movie cover. The display crams a lot of useful information into a small area in a readable mannner.

When you add something to your collection, click the "Add new movie" button to open a new window. Type the name of the movie on the search box, and then click "Get from web." Griffith will search the Internet Movie Database and display a list of possible results. Select one, and Griffith will fill in all the blanks, even downloading the movie cover for you. If you don't want to use IMDB, you can pick your choice from a huge list of other sites, using the drop-down menu in the same window. Griffith is so easy to use, and so convenient, that this is all you really need to know to get started.

Inevitable comparisons

While there are other open source movie collection managers, such as Moviefly and CeeMedia, Griffith's only serious competitor is GCstar, which Linux.com looked at recently. Both applications have simplicity down to a science, but I have to give the upper hand in that camp to GCstar, which performs most of the operations on the main window without the need to open a new one. It also made my life easier when I was organizing movies by the DVD number I assigned: all I had to do was insert the number of the media in the Details tab, whereas in Griffith I have to manually create Volumes or Collections (which are containers, or categories of information, within Griffith) for each DVD. When you're creating a long list, every effort spared makes a difference.

On the other hand, Griffith seems to display information in a more efficient way. Its left pane, with movies displayed in ascending numerical order with a mini-cover image for each, beats GCstar, which has either a basic text view or an image view available for the left pane -- nothing in between. GCstar's image view (or "shelf view") is quite nice, however, and more practical for those of us who are visually oriented; but it displays the movies in a seemingly chaotic order, which could be annoying if your list has hundreds or thousands of movies in it. Griffith has the option to download bigger covers from Amazon.com (in case you want to print them), an option which GCstar lacks. But I would also like the ability to make the mini-covers on the left pane of Griffith bigger.

The plot synopsis Griffith fetches from IMDB is more informative than the two-line synopsis that GCstar presents (along with a direct link to the movie's IMDB page). In terms of filtering, GCstar is much more powerful than Griffith, although Griffith's search function is faster and more intuitive to use, especially when it comes to showing multiple search results.

A major point in favor of GCstar is that it supports more import and export formats than Griffith. I especially liked the templates and options it offers when exporting the list to HTML. Adding to that, if you keep your movies on your hard drive, you can associate a movie on the list with the corresponding file, and launch it directly from GCstar, which is a superb time-saver. GCstar will even grab video information from the file, and include it on the list.

GCstar is an all-around collection manager, while Griffith deals only with movies. If you have other collections that need management, it's probably best to use GCstar for everything. Both applications are cross-platform, and run on Windows and Linux. Each of the two has features that I would like to see in the other. Overall, GCstar has a slight advantage over Griffith today, but that could easily change after a future release.

Rui Lopes is a Portuguese Web designer and filmmaker who has a wide range of interests in the technology field.

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on Managing your movie collection with Griffith

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Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.24.21.102] on December 12, 2008 07:35 PM
where have you been mate ?. on a holiday ?. cause am surprised that you have just discovered griffith. I have been using it for many years now and its really a life(movie)saver for me especially when I've got a large(200+) collection of movies and I want to know what and where they are.

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GCstar correction

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.248.160.34] on December 12, 2008 08:19 PM
Just loaded GCstar, it's fantastic, and please correct your comments above, the following is incorrect:

"On the other hand, Griffith seems to display information in a more efficient way. Its left pane, with movies displayed in ascending numerical order with a mini-cover image for each, beats GCstar, which has either a basic text view or an image view available for the left pane -- nothing in between."

in GCstar goto settings>preferences (check expert mode at bottom of the screen>display set "item list" to "detailed", and click "settings" (button to the right of "item list").

You'll see a whole slew of image/information that can be displayed in the main screens left pane, you can even choose the image size.

Use IMDB to fill in images/info as you stated, and what an easy, pretty program to use.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

BruceD

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Who needs software?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.251.108.100] on December 12, 2008 11:45 PM
I manage my movie collection with a large CD wallet. Never needs to be backed up, completely platform agnostic, great user interface, and if it ever runs out of capacity I can add another volume even easier than I could in ZFS :)

Seriously, Griffith may be a very good application, but this is an entire class of applications that looks like a solution in search of a problem.

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Griffith doesn't get info from IMDB

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 116.72.65.127] on December 13, 2008 11:55 AM
I tried Griffit yesterday but Griffith doesn't get info from IMDB.
I tried entering things like spiderman but still it showed no info!
Any help?
other sources worked

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Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 207.170.238.216] on December 14, 2008 05:33 PM
None of you have heard of Tellico?

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Re: Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Samuel Fogh on December 14, 2008 09:34 PM

Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.4.73.112] on December 14, 2008 10:00 PM
Why NOT have access to your movie collection anywhere in the world with web based VIDEODB for your personal webserver....gets info from IMDB etc....keeps track of who you lend items to, etc...don't have to be stuck on one computer in your house.........

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Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.118.253.18] on December 15, 2008 12:44 AM
Tellico

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Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.105.33.224] on December 15, 2008 11:07 PM
LOL@physical media

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Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.171.198.10] on December 19, 2008 09:50 AM
one of the advantages Griffith has over GCStar is possibility to store its data in PostgreSQL / MySQL / Sqlite / MSSQL; also, in 0.10-beta there's a completely new (and more advanced) search function

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Managing your movie collection with Griffith

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.133.153.237] on December 26, 2008 12:40 AM
hi
i only just got a acer aspire one and it has Linux on it but i really don't get how to use it and i like making / watching movies etc. and i found
out that i cant really open files that i have downloaded so could i add Griffith to my laptop ?

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