Tagging multiple video tracks

Q: I’ve searched through the iLounge discussion forums, but thus far can’t find any way to change the ‘video’ tags on multiple items. Individually, when you get an item’s info in iTunes, it’s possible to change a video file from a ‘Movie’ to a ‘TV show’ and to enter all the details associated with this: e.g. Show, Season no., etc. However, once multiple items are selected, no video tags are available for mass change.

For example, I have a load of Simpsons episodes, divided according to season, etc.

The only way I’ve been able to get them properly organized thus far is by editing each item individually—a lengthy and time-consuming process. Surely there’s got to be an easier way???

– Jason

A: Rather oddly, the ability to edit the video-related tags for multiple items is a feature that iTunes itself does not presently offer. In fact, if you go back to iTunes 6, you’ll find that you can’t edit the video tag information at all, so at least some progress has been made in this regard in iTunes 7, and we can only hope that a future version of iTunes will include this missing capability.

In the meantime, however, there are a few third-party tools that can handle batch tagging for you. Most of these are based on the AtomicParsley project, and if you’re comfortable working with command-line tools, you can actually just go out and get AtomicParsley (free, Mac/Windows, http://atomicparsley.sourceforge.net) and use that directly.

If you prefer to work with a more graphical interface, Lostify (free, Mac, http://lowellstewart.com/lostify) or TV Tagger (free, Windows, http://tvtagger.wordpress.com) are very good options in this regard.

These are discussed in more detail in our Complete Guide to Managing iTunes Videos, which also goes into a fair bit of additional detail on the best options for tagging TV Show and other video content to ensure that it is organized and synchronized properly.

One important thing to keep in mind when using third-party tools is that these are designed to modify the tags within the files themselves, rather than the iTunes database. Therefore, your changes may not be immediately reflected in iTunes until you actually select the tracks in question to force iTunes to re-read the information. Depending on the tags being modified, this may simply involve manually clicking on each track, or you may have to go into the properties of each track (using File, Get Info) to force iTunes to re-read the metadata from within the files.