Where to keep movies? Everywhere, of course.

I don’t know who asked, “If you had everything, where would you put it?” However, my answer has always been, “Everywhere, of course.”

So, almost under the radar, I find that iPhoto version 5 imports movies. I assume version 6 does also. Also, iTunes holds movies. And, there’s a movies folder which is where neither iTunes nor iPhoto stores the movies that it holds. iMovies uses the movies folder. Also, iTunes may import music when downloaded via a browser, but movie downloads are placed in the folder for downloads in preferences, which defaults, I think, to the desktop. (I’ve set mine to my documents folder.)

This is some very confusing design which suggests that the strategy for movies is either not very well thought out or the various teams at Apple are in competition over how to handle movies. It also means that users are given confused messages about organization.

One of the things that I don’t like about iPhoto is that there’s no clear distinction between pictures that one has taken and pictures that one has collected. There’s context menu option to put images from the browser into iPhoto, but that confuses what purpose people should use iPhoto for. Is iPhoto for storing all picture assets? Maybe, but it’s not well defined.

One might hope that spotlight is a snapshot of a future where the filesystem and metadata fully unified, and there’s a universal interface to all the kinds of files. When all these applications are developing different file management systems, in addition to the filesystem management in the Finder, things are bound to be implemented in different ways by different teams.

In the future, using metadata tags, each application might merely show the spotlight results for files that the application can handle. Where ever a file shows up on the filesystem, or when, an application would have files it can manipulate show up. Perhaps there would be an unsorted folder for files that had no application specific metadata added. When a file is moved to some collection, this would be reflected in metadata, which could then be used by other applications to re-create the same collections.

In this vision, creating a collection of movies in iPhoto of, say, my trip to Ireland would add metadata to the movies that could be used by iMovie, iTunes, Quicktime, etc … to show those files in a folder.

Smart folder are then just saved searches, which can be used by any application to show smart collections that include files that application understands. Smart folders / saved searches should also be available across application.

Another thing I’ve noticed which is annoying is that normally burn folders contain aliases to the originals, but if one drags a file from iPhoto or iTunes to a burn folder the entire file is copied. There’s no good reason for that since the files are still located in the filesystem in locations to which an alias could point.

And, all of these applications would have immediate access to files across additional drives, including external or archived sources. One could put collections on a removable device and have items reflected in their applications when those devices where available. This has been an annoyance for me with both iTunes and iPhoto. Why can’t I have multiple locations so that I can have my portable collection on my laptop but store the bulk of my files externally?