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    Current version: 1.3 *

    This Lightroom plugin is designed to:

    1. Save standard IPTC metadata from the catalogue back into the original video files
    2. Update video files which are in the catalogue with metadata which has been changed by other applications.

    The problem

    It’s great that Lightroom lets you import and manage many types of video file – after all, most cameras and phones let you record video by flipping a switch.

    But it still doesn’t handle video files’ metadata as well as it might. In particular, the menu commands Metadata > Save Metadata to File and Metadata > Read Metadata from File are both disabled.

    This means that while you can use Lightroom to manage your videos together with your photos, the video files’ keywords and other metadata are stuck inside the catalogue and aren’t available in other programs like Premiere Pro. Equally, when you’ve used other apps like Bridge to change metadata in the video files, Lightroom won’t bring that updated information into the catalogue. The only way to do so is by removing videos from the catalogue and importing them all over again, which is crazy.

    What is jb Video Metadata?

    jb Video Metadata is designed to overcome these problems – saving and reading video metadata:

    • It’s a Lightroom plugin that contains an Exiftool component, a highly-respected open-source program for reading, writing, and manipulating metadata in photos and videos
    • The plugin can save most standard IPTC fields and keywords, including the keyword hierarchy, into video files, so that metadata is available in other programs
    • It can read most standard IPTC fields and keywords, including the keyword hierarchy, from video files which have been updated by other programs

    Installation

    Install the plugin through LR’s standard File > Plug-in Manager:

    1. Unzip jb_videometadata.lrplugin.zip
    2. Move jb_videometadata.lrplugin to a folder of your own choosing
    3. Open Lightroom’s plugin manager from the File > Plug-in Manager menu
    4. Click the “Add” button
    5. Browse to the plugin and click “OK” on a Mac or “Add plugin” on a PC.

    You don’t have to install Exiftool, though on Mac you may prefer to do so – see below.

    Save Metadata

    When you run this command from File >Plug-in Extras, a dialog box allows you to stop certain fields being written back to the video.

    It also lets you choose whether to display the dialog box each time the plugin runs, and whether to store the temporary files that the plugin uses to save data from the video files. These are Exiftool commands which you can run as Windows batch files or in Mac’s Terminal and may help you debug any problems.

    Read Metadata

    When you run this command, a dialog box allows you to protect certain fields from being updated.

    Here you can choose to save the data that the plugin extracts from video files – one text file for each video. Apart from the standard metadata such as titles or keywords, these files contain all the data which the plugin found in the videos. There is no attempt to figure out what the information means, but some of it may be interesting or important to you.

    This extract also generates a text file which might help you analyse video files. This is a single file, tab-separated so you can easily open it in Excel, and is a tabulation of all the files and all their metadata.

    In each case, these files are stored in Documents.

    Backup

    Whenever you write to an undocumented file format, there is some risk. So ensure that all videos are backed up before saving metadata to them.

    The plugin’s Exiftool commands tell it to validate the video file before it finalizes the process. If the validation fails, it doesn’t update the file.

    Sometimes Lightroom displays an unreadable icon during the processing. This little black circle usually disappears without you having to do anything about it.

    Option to use your own Exiftool

    When it doesn’t look like the plugin has worked, especially on Mac it’s because Mac blocked the plugin’s Exiftool component. Essentially it’s a permissions problem and rather than spend time figuring them out it’s often faster to download and install Exiftool separately and then tell the plugin to use this program. Some Mac users of my other Exiftool-based plugins prefer this method of running Exiftool, so there is an option in Plugin Manager.