bluray-collection

Review: Movie Collector Cataloging Software

It was time to get organized. My movie collection had gotten far too large for me to remember everything I owned, and I’d already lost at least one title [so long, '(500) Days of Summer'] when I let someone borrow it and couldn’t remember whom I lent it to. I needed a cataloging program. After weighing the options, I decided to go with Movie Collector from Collectorz.com.

I’ve tried all sorts of cataloging software for my movie collection in the past, but I’d never found one that fit my needs. Many of the free programs seemed sorely outdated, or had way too many bugs for me to deal with. For a one-time fee, you can unlock the Standard or Pro versions of Movie Collector with a key code that will be emailed to you. Disclaimer: This software was not provided free for this review. I actually paid for it out of my own pocket.

I thought I’d provide a quick review of what Movie Collector does well, and the places it sorely needs improvement.

User Interface

What drew me to Movie Collector was its streamlined interface. I’m a sucker for cool animations that display one’s collection easily. I think my favorite interface is the one on Delicious Library, but I’m not a Mac user, so I couldn’t get that one.

collector pic1 1024x576 Review: Movie Collector Cataloging Software

(Click any picture to enlarge.)

The interface is easy enough. The viewer at the top allows you to see your whole collection in a side-scrolling fashion. Movie Collector is also good at finding cover art for you. If the database doesn’t have an image already, you can easily look it up online, save it, and then upload it into your collection using the “Browse” function in the “Covers” tab, when you’re in “Edit Movie” mode.

Below the side-scrolling view of your collection is a window that allows you to see all relevant information about the disc or set you’ve selected. I have it set on the minimalist mode, as you can see in the picture above. However, the picture below this shows a different mode that uses a backdrop image from the movie (also editable) and provides much more information including trailers and such.

collector pic2 1024x576 Review: Movie Collector Cataloging Software

I think that this view is a little too cluttered for my tastes, but some may like the individual backdrops. I choose to go the minimalist route and simply have the main information displayed (run time, director, actors, etc.) with no backdrops.

Another nice thing about the software, which other cataloging software packages may also do, is that it can organize your collection by genre. Not only that, but it will sort by just about any criteria, including theatrical release date, Blu-ray release date, distributor, studio, personal star ratings and so on.

collector pic3 1024x576 Review: Movie Collector Cataloging Software

Cataloging

This is where I ran into some bugs that incessantly nagged at me. I entered my movies by their UPC codes. In the Standard set-up that I have, you can only do one title at a time. You need the Pro version to do batches of movies. Collectorz.com sells its own barcode scanners too, but they’re pricy. Annoyingly, if you want to use a mobile app barcode scanner, you have to purchase the Collectorsz special barcode app. You can’t just use any old free app, at least as far as I know.

Entering in movies by UPC is tedious, but not too bad. What I found annoying is that even though all the discs I entered were Blu-ray copies, numerous UPCs were listed as DVD in the database by default. I had to physically go into “Edit Movie” mode and change the format from DVD to Blu-ray. This didn’t happen on every disc, but it happened frequently enough to irritate me.

The software also has a bug involving cover art. Sometimes, images that I found online would disappear once I reopened the program. The database is usually good about finding cover art, but a few covers that I added by myself simply no longer existed the moment that I went back into the program.

collector pic4 1024x576 Review: Movie Collector Cataloging Software

I think this has to do with the subfolder in Windows where you save the photos, but even the manual on the Collectorz.com website is confusing at times. Honestly, once you upload an image, the system should automatically copy that picture to its own files so it always has it on hand, rather than trying to pull the image from wherever it’s stored on your computer.

Other annoyances involve consistency. The database doesn’t provide all information for every movie you enter. For example, the “Edition” column is only haphazardly populated with descriptions like “Blu-ray” (or sometimes “Blue Ray”!), “Special Edition” or “BD-Live” on some discs, and nothing at all in others. Why it does this, I have no idea, but it’s pretty frustrating. To be fair, many of the other cataloging programs I’ve tried have these same kinds of bugs.

collector pic5 1024x576 Review: Movie Collector Cataloging Software

Lists

I liked this feature. Movie Collector lets you make all sorts of lists, by any type of sorting criteria you can think of. However, the “Box Set List” setting is incredibly confusing. Even the online manual fails to explain how to use it. Listing your box sets is supposed to allow you to enter each film individually and then group them together. This allows the software to create entries for each specific movie in the box set. However, the software should be smart enough to create six separate movie entries for something like ‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’, or at least give the user the option to create those entries if desired.

The software also has a “Loan List” to keep track of movies you’ve lent to friends and family. As you can see in the below screenshot, Luke is on notice to get ‘Haywire’ back to me by August 13th or there will be hell to pay. I really wish I had this feature when I loaned out ‘(500) Days of Summer’ and never got it back.

collector pic6 1024x576 Review: Movie Collector Cataloging Software

Exporting

You need the Pro edition of the software to do any kind of meaningful exporting of your lists. Also, the software doesn’t export to Excel at all. This is a disappointment for me. I really wanted something that would port my list into an Excel spreadsheet, but this doesn’t do that.

Final Word

Movie Collector does a decent job of sorting my Blu-ray collection, but (as with most database programs like this) it has some bugs and design annoyances. I still need to figure out a few things about the software. It has many, many more options than I covered here, but hopefully I’ve given you a good idea of what the software is like.

Yes, there are things that I wish Movie Collector did, or did better. There are bugs in the software that can be very frustrating. If I were to rate it, I think I’d give it a B-.

Have any of you used Movie Collector or a similar cataloging software? Let us know in the Comments below.

28 comments

  1. HuskerGuy

    I use Movie Collection on Android. It isn’t the prettiest thing, but it keeps a good list and I love that it has icons to denote blu-ray standalones and blu-ray/dvd combos. This comes in handy when loaning movies out to the 3-year old niece.

    It too has a “loaned to” input and it will in fact export to Excel (with the paid version).

    The UI is pretty basic, but it has solid features and is pretty useable. I enjoy being able to back-up my list (paid) as well.

  2. I use DVDProfiler (paid version). While it has some annoyances (no mobile version for Android, for one), I’ve been pretty happy with it overall. From the description, this sounds fairly comparable. I’m sure that each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

    • William Henley

      I converted from Movie Collector to DVDProfiler about a year ago. Movie Collector had some things that I liked that originally lead me to them years ago, things such as CueCat support (anyone remember that?), and a pretty and simplistic interface. However, there were three things that really sold me on DVDProfiler – lifetime free updates, customizable interfaces and plugins, and the user community.

      In tech terms, you could pretty much compare Collectorz software to a Mac – sleek, simplistic, and it just works, versus DVDProfiler which you could compare to Linux – you can program for it, so its completely customizable, you can turn it into more than what the original program was, and a great user community.

      I believe both software has trial versions, so I suggest anyone to download and try both and see what works for them.

      BTW, the no Android thing on DVDProfiler is a turnoff, but the ability to easily access your movie collection from any webbrowser is a plus.

      Collectorz also has some other programs that are pretty cool, including Book Collector, Music Collector and Game Collector. They all have similar interfaces, so if you want a database program for those, and want everything to look uniform, Movie Collector is a great option.

      • Jason

        I too use DVDProfiler and have been for several years now. The lack of an official Android app is a downside but there is an app that was developed by one of the users that can be found in the DVDProfiler forums. It works very well for keeping your list handy on the go but doesn’t have the ability to add to your collection. I do use it on my Kindle Fire so my friends can peruse my collection when we’re having a movie night.

          • Jason

            It doesn’t sync yet. You have to run an export program within the desktop version and then manually add it to your phone/tablet. The developer is building it in his free time and is adding updates here and there as they are suggested. Here is the thread: http://www.invelos.com/Forums.aspx?task=viewtopic&topicID=575354
            It’s fairly self explanatory and if you have any questions you’ll probably be able to find the answer in the thread.

  3. I use My Movies Collection Management on PC and My Movies Pro on Android. They sync to a server so you only have to manage one or the other. Works perfectly for what I need and does far more than I plan to ever use.

    • Thanks for that info, just ran into it browsing for other alternatives as I’ve messed around with DVD Profiler and Collectorz before, kept putting this off but I really need to get it going and this one looks to be the best alternative, online sync between the PC and the Android app is nice as it has barcode scanning built in so I dont even have to go to my PC till I make the collection on my phone, look forward to building my collection with this one!

  4. paulb

    I use My Movies and DVD Profiler (though haven’t really been keeping the latter up to date recently and only contribute to MM).
    As to your ‘bugs’ around things like ‘special edition’ and it saying DVD vs. Blu-ray for a UPC code, those aren’t bugs, it is poor controls and moderation as the content is user created. It can be a problem with all these programs but I don’t see anything that extreme in MM of Profiler.

  5. paulb

    Oh, and complaining about not having all the features in a free version is very silly when you are talking about one app’s cost to catalog what is likely thousands of dollars of movies. Just try them all out and then give the developers some money for the one you want to use.

    • Aaron Peck
      Author

      I thought my disclaimer was clear that this isn’t a “free version.” This is a paid version, “Disclaimer: This software was not provided free for this review. I actually paid for it out of my own pocket.”

      There is a standard version and a pro version for Movie Collector, and the pro version has separate features, one of them being adding movies in batches.

      The free version of this software only allows you to add 50 movies before you have to buy the whole version.

  6. Dam Jones

    I use My Movies for my IPad and iPhone. Very clean lines and very easy to navigate. And using the scan feature to upload title is a big time saver.

  7. Martin

    Thanks for the Review Aaron. I just gave Movie Collector a try and am sold on it. You should ask the guys at Collectorz for a commission.

    It does (almost) all I ever wanted in a Cataloging Software but never found in any, at least not with that easiness.

    There`s just one open question: Is there any possibility to connect your imdb Profile to the programm so that it automaticaly updates your personal imdb Ratings?

    • Hi Martin,
      Good to hear you like our Movie Collector software!

      I am afraid it is not possible to automatically retrieve your own ratings from IMDb, sorry!

      Alwin

      • Martin

        No problem, I just thought it would be nice to have. But I don`t mind, it´s just one click and I see it anyway.
        I think it will take me long enough to import all my 1200+ movies, so I`ll be too lazy to rate them all again.
        Maybe you can work on that in the future ;)

  8. I use iCollect Movies pro on my iPhone. You can use the app itself to scan movies, and you can add and remove them and sync the whole thing to the website. It keeps track of borrowed movies, can be organized by almost any detail, and it’s easy to use. It also directly connects to imdb and rottentomatoes. Very handy little app.

    For me, the only downsides are that if you don’t have it running in the background, it takes forever to load, it does crash a bit, and whenever I sync from the website, the info becomes wrong. People are constantly changing the format. For this reason, I never sync from the web. As long as you do it that way, your info stays the way you want it (in my case: correct.)

  9. Jason

    The only problem I have with DVDProfilere is that my wife figured out how to view how much I’ve spent on Blu-rays over the past 3 years. :/

    • Superman

      Collectorz USED to automatically fill in the current Amazon price when you added something to the database but I think they got in trouble for using Amazon’s info so they had to stop, but I actually liked when they did this. It would be a cool feature to value your collection. I guess this would be pretty handy for insurance purposes.

      But yes, I could understand not wanting my wife to know how much I’ve been spending. She already sighs every time she sees an Amazon box at the door!

      • Jason

        yeah DVD Profiler has an SRP field and a Price Paid field. The amount of different types of reports you can run with DVD Profiler is impressive.

  10. Superman

    I have used Movie Collectorz since 2007 and I love it. I DO have the pro version so there are a few things that I’ll point out that you might not be able to do (since I don’t know what the difference is offhand besides the adding batch movies that you’ve already stated). The people I’ve dealt with at their company are always very quick to respond to queries or problems that I might have and you can reach them through email, facebook, or twitter and they’ll get back to you within 24 hours. They’re in New Zealand so a little lag time is acceptable lol.
    I agree with you that the backdrop is not my cup of tea, especially since if you have a large monitor it will tile the backdrop and look horrendous! Luckily, that is easy to turn off. In fact, most of the UI in collectorz is customizable. I actually don’t use the view you show, I have all of the movies images shown on the side bar in a grid and the main information on the left side. I’m a two pane kind of guy I guess.
    They have apps for iOS and for Android that are just read-only apps that you can sync your collection to. However, they are working on a 2.0 release that will allow adding and editing, essentially making a version of their software that is tablet/phone only if you wish. It will include the bar code scanner tech that Aaron mentions in his article. Another thing they have is called Collectorz Connect where you can upload your database to their site and you have an online version of your collection. I believe that you can also get an online ONLY version of their stuff if you don’t want the local copy software installed on your machines but I don’t know much about that since I have the other version.
    You mention the movies by genre bar graph but one thing that I like is that you can get a bar graph of your most collected Actors or Directors, etc. It’s a neat feature that gives you an interesting perspective on what you own. I knew I liked Tom Cruise movies, but I did NOT realize I had so many things with David Duchovny or Seth Green!
    Some of the issues that I’ve had with it are the same as yours. The box set feature is one that I have never used because I just can NOT get the hang of it. The documentation is no help and it’s such a small feature that I haven’t reached out to them for assistance either. I haven’t had the same problems with my cover images, but I have definitely had them label Blu Rays as DVDs before (however, never BluE ray, that’s just odd). I’ve also had a LOT of issues with them not properly labeling how many discs are in a set. Both these problems are so prevalent that I’ve begun exporting my lists about twice a year to look at it in excel with just the title, the number of discs, and the format the title is in so I can see what might need correcting. Then you can upload your changes that you’ve made to them (including better cover images if you found one). What they do with it from there I don’t know. Hopefully they correct their information or pass it along to whomever they get THEIR information from.
    This actually leads me to another point in that you CAN export to a text file format with the information separated by commas. Once it’s exported, change the extension to a Comma Separated Value file format (.CSV) and if you have Excel on your computer it should be the default reader for that type of file and it’ll open up like a regular spreadsheet. A bit of a work around but it takes about two seconds (not an exaggeration) to export my collection of around 1000 titles and changing the file extension takes no work at all when using Windows. I guess they don’t want to pay whatever royalties they might have to pay Microsoft to do Excel natively, but I feel CSV should be a selectable option.
    Sorry for the long post, just thought I could add some more to the discussion since I’ve had it for so long!

  11. Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for the cool review, much appreciated!

    Please allow me to respond to a couple of issues you ran into:

    * about the backdrops in the Details Panel: most users *love* this. The introduction of the automatic downloading of backdrop art in version 8 was a huge hit.
    But I can understand it looks a little cluttered for some users. If so, just switch to one of the other V8 template styles without a backdrop. They are a little easier on the eye :-)

    * about the barcode scanners: if you find our recommend scanners too pricey, just get any other barcode scanner that is a HID device (most are). All of them work with our software out-of-the-box, because they just emulate keyboard input.
    You can also use any other barcode scanner app that can send barcodes from your mobile app to your desktop computer (not all do, but some can). Still, CLZ Barry (our own scanner app) is best integrated with our desktop software and our own online media databases (comes in handy for getting a preview of the scanned movie right after scanning)

    * about the DVD/Blu-Ray bugs: I can understand that can be annoying. It is not a bug in the software however, it is just “missing data” in our central online database. That database sometimes *does* recognize a barcode, but just doesn’t have the right Format information (yet).
    (just FYI: our online database recognizes 900 thousand barcodes. Most with full information, but some with just partial information)
    My take on this: just having to manually “fix” the format from DVD to Blu-Ray is a small price to pay, considering you get all the movie information automatically (cast, crew, plot, images, backdrops, trailer videos, etc. etc…)
    Of course, we are continuously working (together with our users!) to improve the quality and completeness of our online database.

    * about disappearing cover art: never heard about that problem before. Maybe you linked to cover images in a temp folder that got cleaned by Windows? I recommend always letting the program copy the image to its own Image Folder. That will make sure the images stay linked.

    * about the Edition column: that field should hold information about special editions only, but some users submit other data there (such as the format, even misspelled format names). We clean it up if we see it, but with thousand of submissions from users every week, we sometimes miss some :-)
    But again, these are “just” data errors in the online database, something every cataloging tool will run into (like you said). My recommendation: use the Edit Multiple feature to clean out the wrong data in one go.

    * about Box Sets: this is a very basic feature. The Box Set field just allows you to (manually) link movie entries that are in the same box set. That’s all there is to it really :-)
    Here’s a how to: http://www.collectorz.com/movie/manual/box-set.html
    I am afraid the software is not smart enough to do this automatically. Or to be more precise, our online database just doesn’t have that information, that is, which movies are in a particular box set.

    * about Exporting to Excel: this *is* possible (PRO only though):
    http://www.collectorz.com/movie/faq.php?qid=276#faq276

    Concluding: it looks like most of your annoyances are with the data from our central online movie database. Thank you very much for your feedback on that. I will discuss these issues with our content managers, see if we can work on them ASAP.

    Again, thanks for the great review,

    Alwin Hoogerdijk
    Collectorz.com

    • Aaron Peck
      Author

      Thanks for responding. Always nice to hear from the makers.

      Glad you liked the review, and hope it helps you streamline the software in future updates.

      I do quite like it overall and plan on continuing to use it.

    • William Henley

      Great software guys. I was using it until about a year ago. I still have Book Collector, but haven’t fired it up in a few months – I got into the ebook craze, and Calibre is great for organizing those. Still great software, and I do highly recommend it to people.

  12. Been using My Movies Pro and its a lot easier and cheaper than Collectorz IMO. the Pro app for my android phone scans multiple barcodes at a time and easily looks everything up for me and adds it to my collection, everything is attached to your user account. the PC version of the movie management software is free and it only costs $5 for the android app.

    I’ve started moving directly through my collection without issue so far and everything syncs back to my tablet and PC without issues, no need to buy another barcode app or us another app at all.

    So far I’m very impressed, especially only having to spend $5 :)

  13. Ian

    I’ve been using Movie Collector for a couple of years now and find it very useful apart from the database glitches (the biggest annoyance for me is that some blu-rays are listed “blu-ray” and others “blu-ray disc” which is only a minor pain but did cause me to buy a title twice cause I ony searched for “blu-ray” on my iPhone) and the fact that one or two titles I’ve purchased recently haven’t been found in the database at all (tv season box sets with no episodes listed) so it’s a nightmare entering all that info from scratch.

    I have had issues with Barry (the app scanner) so have given up using it and the iPad HD app has problems loading every now and then but it looks great when it does load.

  14. Anthony S.

    I have been using DVD Profiler (paid) for years to organize my large collection. Though it had some glitches early on, it’s come a long way. There simply is no more efficient and better looking option out there.

  15. flskydiver

    I also have to recommend Hooked In Motion, LLC’s (http://hookedinmotion.com/) “iCollect Movies Pro”.

    I started using their iPhone app almost two full years ago when the company released some free promo codes for version 3.4 of their catalog app to HighDefDigest forum users. Today I still use the app (now on version 5.3) for all my cataloging needs.

    The improvements made to the app over the last couple years have been significant, and I’m pleasantly surprised that as a promo’d user I’ve still been receiving all the updates. The company could have gone the way of introducing a brand new app to the app store (instead of updating the original app) as a way of getting upgrade fees from their earlier adopters, but they haven’t yet ever done that.

    The universal iOS app works on my new iPad too (in an iPhone sized window), but I find myself entering and viewing data mostly from my iPhone still. But they do offer an HD version of the app optimized for iPad that looks really great. Either way, it’s great being able to have the information at hand, no matter which device I am currently using.

    I also like that my collection is viewable on the web via their companion site (www.icollectmedia.com) and shareable to anyone who’d like to browse it. Having it a bookmark away really helps keep me from making the same purchase twice!

    As for features, it has all I need and more; such as: Easy batch barcode scanning (via camera) from inside the app; a great user-assisted, well populated database; the ability to easily customize all the artwork and extensive metadata of your own collection; the option to disregard leading “A”s and “The”s when sorting by title; and the ability to search and index you collection by almost any of the numerous and specific metadata fields. Also the direct links to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are helpful.

    I guess the only downside is they don’t seem to have any apps for Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone yet, should you not be part of the Apple crowd.

    If you find you like the app, they also have similar services for video games (which I use), books, music, comic books, and legos(!) too.

    You can see the web version of my iCollectMovies collection here:

    http://www.icollectmedia.com/collection/movie/flskydiver/?display=grid

    I do maintain one other version of my collection online, and a few understandable omissions aside, I really like the ease of use it offers. And the price can’t be beat, as it is 100% free.

    This is the collections feature over at blu-ray.com. It definitely deserves a look. Understandably, they don’t have Hd-DVD titles (which I have many of) in their database (but they do include DVD and PS3), so I’ve had to add their blu-ray equivalent to my collection over there; but otherwise, I really like the way they are headed with the feature. Have to admit that feature was what finally caused me to stop maintaining my “Post your Collection” forum entry here on HighDefDigest.

    You can view my collection there, here:

    http://www.blu-ray.com/community/collection.php?u=100925

    My favorite feature there is how they offer the option to count each individual title in a boxed set as a unique title if you so choose.