Create Video Library

From Official Kodi Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Steps to create your Video Library
1. Video Guide Main Page
2. Naming & Folder Structure
2.1 Movies
2.2 TV Shows
3. Video File Tagging
4. Add Sources & Scrape
5. Scraping Problems

6. Update Video Library
7. Library Management
8. NFO Files
8.1 Movie
8.2 TV Show
9. Artwork
9.1 Movie
9.1 TV Show

10. Import Export Library
11. Rebuild your Video Library
Home icon grey.png   ▶ Video Library ▶ HOW-TO:Create Video Library

1 Aim

The aim of these modules is to provide the required information to enable you to correctly set up, modify, and reinstate your Video library as required. As this guide is created for the new user, most pages have been created with minimal jargon and short explanations in an effort to reduce information overload and confusion. Where extra information is provided, note is made to what can be safely ignored.

Each page is a step in that modules particular process, and those steps have been grouped into four modules...

  1. Prepare the files - Best practice guides to ensure your video files are correctly named and saved.
  2. Creating the Library - Guide for the initial creation of the library
  3. Modify your Library - Techniques to modify the information and artwork displayed by your library.
  4. Safeguarding and Rebuilding - Backup and Rebuild your library

This guide uses the default Estuary skin. If you are using another skin, it is recommended you revert back to Estuary to ensure you are able to follow this guide easily. Location of settings and options differ between skins.
The Nav Box, located at the top right of the page, appears on every page listed in this guide. Use it to quickly jump between steps or return to this main page. On this page, you can click each header to jump to that page.

2 Prepare the Files

This section provides information to ensure your video files are correctly named and saved in the required folder structure. This is the single, most important step, to ensure correct scraping.

icon Naming Video Files
Kodi has the ability to display information and artwork for your video collection. As this information and artwork comes from third-party sites, video files must be placed in a certain folder structure and named correctly so accurate matches can be made with those third-party sites. These pages describe the Best Practice methods to use for the most reliable scraping process.
icon Naming Movie Files
This page will describe the Kodi best practice to name Movie files and create the folder structure to save them in. Your movie folder and files will be placed within your Source folder.

The default scraper used by Kodi for Movies is the TheMovieDB (TMDB). Other scrapers are available and can be found by searching the Kodi site here

See: TheMovieDB
See: TheMovieDB Add-on
See: Universal Movie Scraper Add-on

3 Folder & Naming Conventions

Once the Source has been created on your drive, there are are two options on how to store your movies.

3.1 Movie Folder

This is the Kodi best practide method for naming and storing movie media. See the two images below.

  • Placing movies in their own folder allows saving of local artwork and nfo files alongside the movie file.
  • You have the choice of using the Short or Long name format for artwork
  • Using this method will provide the safest and most accurate scrape of your media collection.
  • If using VIDEO_TS or BDMV folder structure you must enable Recursive lookup when adding the source directory.


  • There is some limited flexibility to correct naming, but not all methods are 100% guaranteed to work.
  • Some skins use modified filenaming to display Media Flags. These apply to the filename, not the folder name. Check the forum of your skin for correct use.


  • The name used for the folder and video file is the movie name as displayed at TheMovieDB (we are using default TheMovieDB scraper).
  • The second image above is a screenshot of the Blade Runner 2049 movie entry at TheMovieDatabase site. The name of the movie folder and video file should match the name displayed at the scraper site, as shown in the two images above.


  • Inside the Source folder, create a folder named with the movie title
  • Movie Folder names must contain the Title and should contain the Year. Although not a strict requirement, the year should be in brackets.


  • Within the new movie folder, save the video file
  • The setting Movies are in separate folders that match the movie title which is located in the Set Content settings page of the Source has the following effect:
    • If Enabled Kodi will use the folder name to scrape the movie
    • If Disabled Kodi will use the filename to scrape the movie
  • In light of the above, and because many users are unaware or forget this setting, Kodi recommends naming the movie file the same as the folder name as shown in the example image above
  • The filename can be modified to include Media Flags

3.2 Filename Only

Video-Movie File Structure.png

An alternate method of storing your movies is to save all the movie files inside the Source folder and omit the Movie folder. Also known as a flat folder structure. See image to right.

This method requires that the movie file is named correctly as Kodi is forced to use the movie filename to match the entry at the scraper site.

The movie filename must contain the Title and should contain the Year. Although not a strict requirement, the year should be in brackets. It should match the entry at the scraper site as shown in the above images.

There are disadvantages using this method:

  • With larger libraries, this method can become untidy and cumbersome to maintain
  • If you use nfo files and save local artwork, the folder will become even more cluttered
  • Some Artwork add-ons will not work with this method as they require a Movie Folder
  • Saving locally stored Artwork will be problematic.
  • The option Movies are in separate folders that match the movie title in the Set Content settings page of the Source does not apply to this method.

3.3 Extra Video Files

It is not uncommon to have extra video files that are somehow related to the main movie. Clips such as bloopers, interviews with cast and crew, production methods, behind the scenes, etc.

Kodi will see all these additional video files saved inside the movie folder and attempt to scrape them, which will cause incorrect and unwanted multiple entries in the library. How Kodi actually treats these will depend upon which settings are enabled and which folder structure and naming convention is in use.

To safely store extra video files along with your movie, and have them accessible within Kodi, you will need to install the Extras add-on. Follow the instructions in the link below to create the correct folder structure. This add-on will only work with Movie Folders.

Requires the use of Movie Folders

See: Extras

The remainder of this page deals with Special Use cases and can be safely ignored. Most libraries will not require implementing the following additional name extensions.

Next step: Naming TV Shows

4 Stub and Stream Files

If you have a collection of DVD's and Bluray disks but do not want to rip them to a hard drive, then a Media Stub File allows you to add the collection of disks to the Kodi Video Library. It is a simple text based file that is added to your Source in exactly the same way as any other Movie or TV Show, which is then scanned or scraped into the library.

Various internet video and audio streams can be played back in Kodi as if they were locally stored on your media center by using STRM files. As long as the format and streaming-method (network-protocol) is supported by Kodi, stream can be added. These are basic text files that look like <name>.strm and contain a URL to the internet stream. STRM files can also be added to the video library and can have cover art, summaries, etc.

Some internet sites may have an add-on available that can also access these media streams, rather than having to manually create STRM files. See Add-ons for more information on how to find and install add-ons.

5 Media Tags / Flags

480.png 1080.png 720.png 1080 n.png 480-1.png Divx.png Xvid.png H264.png Bluray.png Dvd.png Avc1.png 1.33.png 1.66.png 2.20.png 2.35.png

Media flags are icons in Kodi that displays the meta-information from the media file of a movie, TV show or music title. They are skin specific, and what works in one skin, may not work in another skin. It is always best to check with the skin sub-forum which flags and tags are used.

It is important to note that the skin will display these flags even when these extensions are not used. The only difference being that without the extensions, the movie must be played first in order for Kodi to read the audio and video codec data.

The actual audio and video codec data will override any extension used. This means that if you set the extension of, say, .ATMOS but the video file only has a stereo track, then the .ATMOS flag will be removed.

Example- note that movie folders are used, and the folder is simply named while the filename has been modified with extensions.

...\Paul (2011)\Paul (2011).4K.HDR.Atmos.mkv

5.1 3D movies

Some 3D movies might need an additional file name extension to be identified by Kodi as a 3D movie. See 3D for details on that additional extension, and when it is needed.

6 Split Video Files

Also known as File Stacking, allows you to combine multiple movie files so they appear and play as the one movie. No longer a common requirement, but still available in Kodi should it be needed.

An example of this use is the Special Extended DVD Edition of The Lord of the Rings- The Fellowship of the Ring. Due to the length of the movie, the movie was split and released on two DVD's requiring a DVD change half way through the movie. This means that when storing this movie, the rip creates two separate movie files. When watching the movie, there will be an interruption when the first part ends and the second part needs to be selected to play.

Two options to overcome this issue:

  1. Combine both movie files into a single movie file.
  2. Leave them as Split Video Files, but allow Kodi to combine them into the one library entry (kodi does not combine the actual movie files)

To use this function the following steps are required:

  1. The setting Combine split video items must be enabled in the Settings menu. See: Settings>Media>Files
  2. Modify the movie file names, as described below, so that Kodi recognises them as Split Video Files
  3. Can only be used with the Movie Folder & Filename method described above

The default expressions will NOT stack files which use only a number without the extensions stated below (eg movie1.avi, movie2.avi). This is intentional due to false positives which can occur with sequels, eg Die Hard 1, Die Hard 2, Die Hard 3, etc.

6.1 Movie Files

These are for multi-part video files in the same Movie folder. eg *.mkv, *.mp4, *.avi etc

The following are default stacking extensions that can be added to file names.

Video-Movie FolderStacking.png

# = 1 thru 9 OR A thru D. No space.
Default Stacking Extensions part# cd# dvd# pt# disk# disc#
# = A thru D. No space.
Default Stacking Extensions moviename#.ext

e:\Movies 1\Lucy (2014)A.mkv
e:\Movies 1\Lucy (2014)B.mkv

6.2 DVD & BluRay Folders

If you have preserved the DVD or Bluray folder structure, then use this method for folder stacking.

# = 1 thru 9. No space.
Default Stacking Extensions cd# dvd# disk# disc#

6.3 Advanced Stacking Options

File stacking can be fine-tuned by the user to match obscure cases using the <moviestacking> and <folderstacking> advancedsettings.xml settings.

Return to top

Next step: Naming TV Shows
icon Naming TV Show & Episode Files
Setting up TV Shows correctly is a little bit more involved than the Movies section. The first part of this page will describe the Kodi best practice to name TV Shows and Episode files and to create the folder structure to save them in. These methods are proven to be the simplest and most robust method which provides the most accurate scrape.
icon Video File Tagging
Kodi v18- Leia introduces support for embedded video tags using *.mkv and *.mp4 video files. They are similar in principle to the tags saved in audio files. Only limited movie support is available at this time.

7 Creating the Library

The following two pages will allow you to build your fully functioning library.

icon Add Sources & Scrape
The Source is the main folder on your hard drive which contains your collection of Movies or TV Shows or Music Videos or Music. These four classes of media cannot be mixed in the one Source. Once the Sources are set up, Kodi can perform the appropriate actions to display your media. There is no limit to the number of Sources that can be added to Kodi for each media class.
icon Troubleshoot Scraping Problems
No scraper is 100% accurate. Errors arise from either mistakes by the user, inherent limitations of the scraper, and/or errors at the site of the information provider. If you have followed the guide, the errors you encounter will be minimal. For those errors that do occur, this page will help correct them. Sorry, but we cannot fix stubborness or laziness for those that refuse to fix their file naming problems.

8 Modify your Library

Should you want more control over what information has been scraped, and what artwork has been downloaded, then continue with the following pages. These can be considered advanced modules and are listed in no particular order.

icon Update Library Methods
This page details the available methods to add, modify and remove videos from your existing video library. These instructions also apply to Music Videos
icon Library Management
Links to pages that describe other features to further enhance your video library
icon Artwork
The use of artwork takes pride of place in Kodi. The artwork will transform your mundane media player into a showpiece to be proud of, especially when teamed up with your favourite skin. Kodi will allow you to display Movie Posters, Fanart, Album Covers, Actor and Artist images to name a few. Install the Kodi slideshow add-on, and you will have a constant display of video or music fanart to brighten your entertainment room.
icon NFO Files
NFO files can be used to provide metadata to the library for video and a music files. They are helpful if the metadata fetched from a web site does not match the video or music you have, or if data for that particular file does not exist, such as for home movies. It can also be used to control the search behaviour of scrapers.

9 Safeguarding and Rebuilding

The following pages offer best practice to backup and restore your library. Note that these methods are like backups. If you have not run this prior to disaster, they will not work after disaster has struck.

icon Import & Export Library
Kodi has the option to Export and Import the library databases. These options may be used for a number of reasons including the following more popular ones:
  • Perform database backup and recovery (This is not the only method for backup and recovery)
  • Reorganization of data or eliminate database fragmentation (export, clean/remove database, re-import)
  • Move data between Kodi databases on different platforms (eg Widows to Linux)
icon Rebuilding Your Library
Page is a work in progress. Come back soon

Return to top

Next step: Naming Video Files