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Conversion Workflow Needs Work


Netfool
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Netfool

I have about 400 movies and 1800 series episodes in my library, as well as a couple of dozen programs in my DVR library recorded with HDHR, and a library of 50 or so streamed theatrical performances.  Content of the DVR library is mostly current events titles such as news and analysis, and Emby's "keep only n episodes" feature keeps these enormous  transport stream formatted files somewhat in check.  I would like to be able to convert these using the "Automatically download (sic) new content" option, but the conversion workflow makes that impractical (see below).

I want to convert this library to HEVC to conserve storage space (currently 10+ TB).  Because most of the computers on my LAN are  Macintosh I have a strong preference for MP4 containers over MKV.  Apple stubbornly refuses add the ability to play MKV files from the finder, but MP4's can be played with a click.  This makes checking MP4 quick and easy without having to bring up the Emby WebUI.

Problems with the current workflow:

  1. The parameters of a conversion are not "sticky".  I want to select "replace original files", MP4, HEVC, and "Original Quality" for most conversions, but these must be entered manually for each conversion.  Being able to define a custom conversion parameter set that is sticky would greatly speed the process.
  2. The "Item Limit" parameter specifies not the number of conversions to be done, but the number of files looked at by the conversion job. This means that if the first 25 movies in the library have been processed by a previous job, in order to convert the next 10 it's necessary to specify that 35 files be converted.  This requires a bunch of note taking to keep track of what's been converted and what hasn't.  (Specifying conversion of all of the files in a library can tie up the dashboard UI for a very, very long time before conversion even begins.  ...and actually converting 1800 TV episodes is likely to take longer than the update cycle for the server software itself.)
  3. There is no way to specify the relative priority of various conversion jobs.  If this were possible I could use the "Automatically download (sic) new content" feature to keep the size of the DVR library down by setting up a conversion job to process a large batch of movies with a lower priority.
  4. It would also be useful to have an option to automatically convert only new content in a library, leaving existing content for a different conversion job. 

</rant>

 

 

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To be honest I think the item limit option should just go away for the conversion feature. It's mostly there by accident because this is sharing the same user interface as the download feature.

With the download feature, the use case is you want to download a whole series to your phone, but your phone can only store X number of episodes as a time. So the limit allows you to do them incrementally. I really don't see the use case for the conversion feature though.

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Netfool

@Luke I respectfully disagree!  It's the only mechanism that allows for conversion of more than one file in the Movies library without converting a block of files so large that the job will run for weeks.

Hmmmm.... Maybe not.  I suppose I could have a collection named "For Conversion", and then use the Automatically download (sic) new content" option to feed the collection new items until all of the movies have been processed.   I'll give that a try and report back.

...and changing the term "download" to "process" would make the conversion dialogs a lot less confusing to noobs and to literalists like myself.

Edited by Netfool
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Netfool
44 minutes ago, Netfool said:

I suppose I could have a collection named "For Conversion", and then use the Automatically download (sic) new content" option to feed the collection new items until all of the movies have been processed.   I'll give that a try and report back.

@Luke Sadly, that work-around won't work.  The "Automatically download (sic) new content" checkbox is ignored in the case of collections.  Only files in the collection at the time the conversion job is created are included.  Any files added subsequently are ignored.... even after a full library scan.

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1 hour ago, Netfool said:

@Luke I respectfully disagree!  It's the only mechanism that allows for conversion of more than one file in the Movies library without converting a block of files so large that the job will run for weeks.

Hmmmm.... Maybe not.  I suppose I could have a collection named "For Conversion", and then use the Automatically download (sic) new content" option to feed the collection new items until all of the movies have been processed.   I'll give that a try and report back.

...and changing the term "download" to "process" would make the conversion dialogs a lot less confusing to noobs and to literalists like myself.

It would be better to just add the convert function into the multi-select tool, that way you can at least pick the ones that are going to be converted.

If you have a folder of 500 movies and you create a job on it with limit 10, how useful is that really. You can't control which ten get converted, you might as well just pick the ones you want.

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Netfool

@Luke I was wrong!   The "For Conversion" collection hack will work.  It turns out the trigger for picking up files newly added to the collection is not the library scan, but the next scheduled "conversion" task.

It's not a great solution, but it does solve the problem of needing a "sticky" set of conversion parameters.

Edited by Netfool
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It's still a manual process to add them to the collection so you could just as easily create jobs instead.

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Netfool
1 hour ago, Luke said:

...you could just as easily create jobs instead.

@LukeCan you point me at some documentation on how to do that?  Thanks!

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3 hours ago, Netfool said:

@LukeCan you point me at some documentation on how to do that?  Thanks!

You already know how to create a conversion job, so if we added it to the multi-select tool then you'd be able to do multiple at once.

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Netfool

@Luke Yes, I know how to create a conversion job.  What I don't know how to do is to invoke the (windows-only?) multi-select tool.  Using that as a Forum search term it shows in 2017 you said

Quote

..you can use themulti-select tool via left-click hold and this will create checkboxes.

A Knowlege Base search comes up empty...

432362663_ScreenShot2021-09-17at12_29_05PM.png.108f1d62a0212aab1b8c7865a3800ada.png

There are two posts by @Happy2Playthat mention it.  One from 2018 says:

Quote

Using the multi-select tool you can select and add anything on that page to a collection or playlist.  long hold left click

and another from 2017 that says:

Quote

...if you hold down right click it will open themulti-select tool thing use 3 dot menu in top right.

But neither a left-click hold nor a right click hold appear to do anything different from a left-click or a right-click in the WebUI on a Macintosh!!

So 2 questions:

  1. Can anyone out there confirm that there is a multi-select tool in the WebUI that works on a Mac?
  2. You said "if we added it to the multi-select tool".   Does that mean it's not there now?  

If it's not the multi-select tool now that wouldn't be show-stopper since I've got the "For Conversion" collection defined as a conversion job.  Just using a multi-select tool to add files to the collection would be a win.

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Multi-select is now the round checkboxes in the upper left corner of posters.

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Netfool
1 hour ago, Luke said:

Multi-select is now the round checkboxes in the upper left corner of posters.

@Luke Thanks, found it!   This plus the collection hack is a not awful work-around.   But having the ability to define one or mor "sticky" sets of conversion parameters would still be an improvement.

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