IMDB Film Summary as a MPEG-2 video

UPDATE! I no longer use or maintain the script below. I suggest the vastly superior Sheet Maker for Linux.

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I run Mediatomb DLNA server with my PS3 as the client, You’ll also know I am working towards importing my entire DVD collection into my Mediatomb server. However, my wife wants to know something about each film in the library without having to dig out the DVD case from storage. My solution is to include a MPEG-2 video displaying the film summary in the Mediatomb library for each DVD I have imported so it can be easily viewed from the PS3.

My script is called IMDB-to-MPEG and I’ve finally got round to uploading it.

The scripts takes one parameter as input, a film title. The plotline, year of release, genres, cast list and running time for that film are gathered from IMDB and formatted as text. Here is an example.

The Usual Suspects (1995)

A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and
the key to this mystery lies with the only
survivor and his twisted, convoluted story
beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly
random police lineup. (106 mins)

Starring Stephen Baldwin as Michael McManus,
Gabriel Byrne as Dean Keaton, Benicio Del Toro as
Fred Fenster, Kevin Pollak as Todd Hockney, and
Kevin Spacey as Roger 'Verbal' Kint.

Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller.

Rated 8.7 out of 10 from 227,964 votes.

The text is converted into an image and then encoded into a MPEG-2 video using the lowest possible bitrate/resolution that is acceptable to read when viewing on a 42” plasma from my sofa.

Directories for each matching genre are created and also one for the IMDB rating (rounded down). The MPEG-2 is stored in the ‘All’ folder and then symlinked to the genres and rating for that film. I then copy my video into the appropriate directory in ‘All’. For example.

|-- All
|   `-- The_Usual_Suspects
|       `-- About_The_Usual_Suspects.mpg
|-- Genres
|   |-- Crime
|   |   `-- The_Usual_Suspects -> ../../All/The_Usual_Suspects
|   |-- Mystery
|   |   `-- The_Usual_Suspects -> ../../All/The_Usual_Suspects
|   `-- Thriller
|       `-- The_Usual_Suspects -> ../../All/The_Usual_Suspects
|-- Ratings
`-- 8
`-- The_Usual_Suspects -> ../../All/The_Usual_Suspects

This code was lashed up in a few hours, it ain’t pretty but it works for me on my Ubuntu Linux systems, maybe it’ll work for you too.


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