Video file tagging

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Revision as of 09:34, 30 August 2018 by Ned Scott (talk | contribs) (→‎How does it change/differ to the old model?: maybe worded like this?)
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Create Video Libraries
1. The Basics
2. Source Folder
3. Movie Setup
4a. TV Show Setup
4b. Seasons Setup
4c. Episodes Setup
5. Music Videos Setup
6. Add Source & Scrape
7. Scraping Problems

30% Completed

This page describes an alternative way of adding video files to the library that is not dependent on file names or online scrapers. If you have already named and organized your files using Kodi's naming guidelines, then you can safely ignore this page and go to the next step.

1 Introduction

Kodi v18- Leia introduces support for Video File Tags using *.mkv and *.mp4 video files. They are similar in principle to the tags saved in Audio files that we are so familiar with, but only limited support is available at this time. This is a very sought after feature for many members.

Note, this is a specialised feature that has been requested by some users. This step is not required to add movies and TV Shows to the library. If you arrived at this page following the guide, you can safely move onto the next section.

mp4 tags are standardized, but only for a rather small subset of the the information kodi can use, see above.. (spiff)

TV Shows are not yet supported.

1.1 Why do I want this?

There are multiple reasons why one would want to use this feature: Media may already contain useful metadata (the reverse however is also true - many files contain "junk" metadata, hence why the feature defaults to off). It gives one more control over the metadata than scrapers do (as scrapers may misclassify media and pull the wrong data). It does away with the need to have .nfo files. Since metadata travels with the media file, there is no longer a need for potentially thousands of these smaller files and can make directory management even easier. Using ultra-high resolution Artwork/cover images that looks nicer on newer HD displays.(Pretty pictures!)

1.2 How does it change/differ to the old model?

Kodi has two options for metadata import: using an online scraper or using local information, traditionally in the form of .nfo files. local tag reading is bundled into the "Local Information" arm, as logically, metadata is still local (i.e not network-drawn) information. Thus, one can still use a combination of .nfo files and embedded information if they choose "Local Information" rather than to use a scraper.

It is important to note however that .nfo files will override embedded information. Not all of Kodi's NFO features are supported by embedded metadata yet, so many users may with to still use the NFO method. (

1.3 Settings

The Kodi settings has the option to enable or disable the reading of video file tags. The default setting is disabled.
link to settings page here- Settings>Media Settings>Videos>Use video tags

This page assumes this setting has been enabled.

2 Folder & File Structure

The use of Video File Tags does not absolve you from using the correct Folder and File structure for Movies, TV Shows and Music Videos as detailed in the previous pages. Use the navbox above to locate and read those requirements.

3 Tagging

There's currently no proper video tagging software that's user-friendly. (martijn)


3.1 Windows

mp3tag is a Windows based metadata editor for many different files types, including MP4 (despite what it's name may suggest). While somewhat complex, it provides very fine-grained control over tagging, and is a worthwhile asset in any media management library.

MetaX is a user friendly tagging solution, However it is proprietary and paid ($10). It features much the same core features as MP3tag, but adds an online search functionality to grab metadata from providers such as iTunes, Amazon and others, as well as an autotag feature. This can be useful to people with enormous media collections where the time saved manually tagging justifies the price.

3.2 Mac

MetaX was once available for free on macOS, It however seems to be abandoned and replaced by another project... MetaZ.

3.3 Linux

4 A note on iTunes

Apple, in their wisdom, have created a subset of tags that are strictly speaking only meant for use with iTunes. However, most tagging software can read and write these iTunes tags. These tags are also quite useful But will not work with Kodi. Tags include the ability to store Cast (actors), Screenwriter and Director information, as well as age restriction data such as MPAA ratings.

The important point to note here is that just because your tagging software allows you to add these does not mean they will be used. After all, they are unstandardized and were created by Apple solely for use with iTunes and iOS/macOS devices.

5 Core Tags

While there are an absolute myriad of tags that one can use, many, if not most of these are unnecessary for video files. Remember that MP4 tags have to have fields for everything - TV shows, movies, music videos and Music! We do not want to populate tags related to music (Such as Artist) in a movie file! As such here are some of the most critical tags for video (TV show and Movie) files.

5.1 Title

It seems that Kodi will not import a media file without a valid title in the metadata tag. This makes it the most critical tag of all.

Title also differs from Filename - I may have a file called Blade_Runner_2049_(2017)Withalotofexcessinformation.mp4, But the title value can simply be "Blade Runner 2049". Kodi will then display "Blade Runner 2049).

5.2 Description

This describes the movie/TV Show. A snippet from iTunes' description of Blade Runner 2049 is as follows: "Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos."

Descriptions thus actually describe the character or basic plot of a movie or TV Show. These will be displayed in Kodi when the file is selected.

Best practice at this point seems to be to mirror the Long Description and Short Description, as there does not seem to be any practical distinction between the two.

When using this tag with TV Shows, every episode can be individually described according to the plot of that particular episode.

5.3 Content Type

In MP4 there should be four choices: Music, Music Video, Movie and TV Show. The choice does not seem to matter at this point as Kodi can not distinguish files based on this tag, but rather relies on the manual setting when the directory was added. It might be useful to set this properly when tagging however, as a future change to allow Kodi to distinguish these tags may prove invaluable.

5.4 Cover/Picture

Probably the singular greatest benefit to tags is being able to set your own cover image. Don't like the standard cover? Use the collectors Edition or Digital Download cover.

5.5 TV Show Specific Tags

There are three more tags that should be filled in for TV Shows: Show, Season and Episode Number. At the moment these tags do not seem to be of any practical use in Kodi, but should nevertheless be filled out as this may change.

6 Supported Tags

are the tags in this table for both mkv and mp4?

Both MP4 and MKV tags are supported, although they use fundamentally different methods of encoding metadata.

Is it ok to remove the music related tags? Are they separated accurately?

I cannot find these video related tags in mp3tag

To get to all the juicy video file related tags in mp3tag, right click on your video file and select "Extended Tags". From here one can see all the tags currently in a file. Add new ones by clicking on the Add button, selecting a Field (what tag to edit" and entering a value. The most critical one in all cases is TITLE, as it seems Kodi will not add a media file if this core tag is missing (and there is no .nfo file).

This will also allow you to add the cover artwork.

What format is this- id3, APE, Generic, MP4, other?

MP4 files use "moov" atoms embedded within the file. These are the same ones used in AAC audio files (such as m4a).

IMDBURL/TMDBURL is this one tag or two separate tags?

Video File Tags
? Tag Type Description
-B -podcast NUM Set the podcast flag
-c -comment STR Set a general comment
-C -copyright STR Set the copyright information
-e -encodedby STR Set the name of the person or company who encoded the file
-E -tool STR Set the software used for encoding
-g -genre STR Set the genre name
-G -grouping STR Set the grouping name
-H -hdvideo NUM Set the HD flag (1\0)
-i -type STR Set the Media Type(tvshow, movie, music, ...)
-I -contentid NUM Set the content ID
-j -genreid NUM Set the genre ID
-l -longdesc STR Set the long description
-m -description STR Set the short description
-M -episode NUM Set the episode number
-n -season NUM Set the season number
-N -network STR Set the TV network
-o -episodeid STR Set the TV episode ID
-O -category STR Set the category
-p -playlistid NUM Set the playlist ID
-P -picture PTH Set the picture as a .png
-r -remove STR Remove tags by code (e.g. "-r cs" removes the comment and song tags)
-S -show STR Set the TV show
-X -rating STR Set the Rating(none, clean, explicit)
-y -year NUM Set the release date
-help Display this help text and exit
-version Display version information and exit
Music File Tags- TO BE REMOVED FROM LIST? or is it used for Music Videos?
? Tag Type Description
-A -album STR Set the album title
-a -artist STR Set the artist information
-b -tempo NUM Set the tempo (beats per minute)
-d -disk NUM Set the disk number
-D -disks NUM Set the number of disks
-L -lyrics NUM Set the lyrics
-R -albumartist STR Set the album artist
-s -song STR Set the song title
-t -track NUM Set the track number
-T -tracks NUM Set the number of tracks
-w -writer STR Set the composer information
-z -artistid NUM Set the artist ID
-Z -composerid NUM Set the composer ID
  • for mkv you can add an attachment named kodi-metadata. this is an an embedded .nfo file
  • for mkv you can add an attachment named kodi-override-metadata. if combined with specifying IMDB/TMDB url, you get a url nfo. if alone, you get an override nfo

7 Artwork

for mkv you can have embedded thumbs. currently limited to:
   - 'small_cover.png' or 'small_jover.jpg' for thumbnails (as specified on
   - 'cover.png' or 'cover.jpg' for posters (as specified on
   - 'fanart.png' or 'fanart.jpg' for fanart

MP4 artwork is supported.

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