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Monday, 15 April 2013

XBMC Frodo - Aeon MQ4 Skin– Part2 Movie Library

In part one I looked at the music library, today we will be taking a look at the Movie library in XBMC / Aeon MQ4 Skin.

The screen shot below shows the default movie background image with the Darkness theme. You can see the movie titled “Drive”, this was the last movie I was watching and the playback progress was only 20% watched. You can use the up directional button on the remote control and select Continue Watching, to quickly continue playback of  that movie.

Movies Main Menu


I have now turned on rotating movie fanart images for the movies main menu.




To do this use the Artwork Organizer add-on to copy your artwork from the individual movie folders on your server to a local folder on the HTPC.


You then select the Customisations option from the bottom menu.


Select the Movie menu heading and then select Change Backdrop Multiple Images


Browse to the local folder on the HTPC that the Artwork Organizer add-on created for Movie Fanart


On my Linux Ubuntu system this path was: /home/xbmc/.xbmc/userdata/addon_data/script.artworkorganizer/MovieFanart

Note: You may also need to select the option in the XBMC settings to see hidden files and folders, before you can browse to this hidden location.

The top menu with the View Modes works like it did with the music library, so you can change the View Modes to: In Progress, Random, Recently Added


I didn’t mention this in part one and probably should have done, but each main menu heading has a submenu, to access this submenu you simply press the down directional button on the remote control.
You can then select things like Genres, Recently Added, Titles, Search, Update Library and more as I have hidden a bunch of submenu items in the customisations.

That’s the other great thing about this skin you can customise all the menus and the look and feel of the whole menu system, no more messing about with the now buggy Media Center Studio and battling with Microsoft to edit system .dll files that get reset.


Movie Library Views

Wall view - with Media Case turned on.


Wall view – with Media Case turned off.


As I have migrated from a Windows MCE / My system I already had a folder.jpg (Movie cover) and a fanart.jpg (Background image) for each of my movies. The covers you can see being displayed in these screen shots, are my folder.jpg images from the My system as are the fanart images.

Now I imagine if you were starting from scratch with no existing artwork for your movies then it would be the “The Movie Database” aka inbuilt scraper in XBMC, that would get you the basic artwork such as covers and a single fanart image for each movie.

There is also an add-on available for XBMC called Artwork Downloader and this is used to get extra fanart for movies and TV Shows, but can also be used to obtain posters, now poster.jpg files are movie covers same as folder.jpg, however posters take priority over folder.jpg. So if like me you wanted to have your existing movie covers be displayed in the XBMC movie library, then I had to ensure that in the Artwork Downloader add-on I did not select posters to be downloaded.

Just for the record I am currently using the My scraper add-on in XBMC and also have the My Movies software on the WHS server, set to create metadata .nfo .tbn files for movies / XBMC. This may change and I may end up ditching My on the back-end altogether! Unless they update the XBMC integration sooner rather than later.

Movie Title Information

Like with the Album and Artist Information screens I showed in part one, we also have Movie Information, this information is usually handled I believe by the inbuilt “The Movie Database” scraper.

You can see in the screen shot below I have some extra artwork being displayed on the right hand side, a logo and a clearart image. I haven’t worked out yet exactly where the actor pictures come from?
The synopsis text is currently coming from the .nfo files that the My system creates.


Movie Views continued

Movies View - 3D Wall

Cant wait to see this on a home cinema screen!


Movies View - Poster

In this screen shot you will notice I have changed the original Blu-ray cover image from to a poster cover image. Also there is a Trailer Available option, most movies scanned in to the XBMC system using the Universal Movie Scraper, then have an option to play a trailer for that movie title.

Movies View - Large List


Movies View – Panel


Movies View – Banner

Displays the banner.jpg files, looks good but missing banner artwork lets it down


Movies View – Panel Logo

Displays the logo.png files, again looks good but missing logos let it down


Movie View – ShowArt

Displays the clearart.png files


Movie Information Panel appears in from the top down


Movie View – Landscape

Displays the landscape.jpg files if available if not it displays the movie covers


Movie View – ShowCase with Extra Thumbnail Style


Movie Genres

Custom genre icons and backgrounds added to the skin setup

New Movie Trailers

For new movie trailers for movie titles that are not currently in your collection, there are two Trailers add-ons which I looked at, one called "The Trailers" and the other called "Apple iTunes Trailers" both add-ons are very similar and I believe they both play trailers from Apple.
Both streamed the trailers from the Internet well, however both have some issues with the Aeon MQ4 skin, if extra fanart is enabled in the skin for movies, then when the trailers add-ons are launched I get a Script Failed message. Turning off extra fanart makes this error go away but then you lose extra fanart background images for your movies in the library.
Also with both Trailer add-ons I was unable to setup the download options to download the trailers to a network share, they would download to a local path on the HTPC however.

I am currently using "The Trailers" add-on as that one shows a synopsis for each movie trailer the other add-on did not do this. I set it up so trailers are accessed from the Movies submenu as you can see in the screen shot below.

Movie Trailers in Poster view

Artwork Downloader add-on

As I already said, I used the Artwork Downloader add-on to try and get the extra artwork for my Movies and TV Shows, you simply tell it what types of artwork you would like it to download and then from the movie library push up on to the top menu, go to the Add-ons pull down menu and select Auto Mode. It took about 4 hours on my system to complete the artwork download, so you may want to run it over night. If you would like to see the thread I started asking questions about the Artwork Downloader add-on its here.


One important setting is in the Advanced area, you need to enable USE LOCAL FILES so that the artwork image files will be stored in each movies / TV shows folder on your server. Set this before you start Auto Mode.



The Movie Library in the Aeon MQ4 skin looks stunning, there are plenty of views to choose from and you will probably never use all of them, the extra artwork looks amazing but missing artwork really spoils the look of it all. There seems to be allot of missing artwork for the movies in my collection, so for now I think I will stick with the more basic views like Wall, hopefully in the future more artwork on the website will become available.

Overall I am very impressed with this skin and the artwork add-ons that support it. The developers in the XBMC community certainly do a great job and as you can see in these screen shots the results really show!

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