Help! iDenfity didn’t add any the artwork to my files!
There are a couple of possible reasons for this. The most common is that your image files were not named correctly.

In the case of movies, your image files MUST be named identically to the file you wish it to be applied to. For example, If you wanted to apply artwork to a file named “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone [2001].m4v” your image file MUST be named “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone [2001].jpg” (or .png). Otherwise iDentify has no way of knowing which of the many image files you might have provided is to be applied to which of the many video files you might have provided.

In the case of TV Shows, the process is similar. Only, people tend to apply the same bit of artwork to an entire season or series for a tv show. So, to provide artwork for a tv show, the image file MUST be named the same as the Series it will be applied to. For example, lets say I was tagging an entire season of Dexter. I might provide many video files named something like “Dexter – S01E01 – The PIlot.m4v”. Now, instead of making you duplicate and meticulously name an image 12-24 times for a single tv season; all you have to do is simply name your image file the name of the season as it appears in your video filenames, in this case, simply “Dexter.jpg” (or .png). Right now, if you want separate images for each season, you’ll have to run each season in a separate batch. This may change in the future, But I have no immediate plans to change this.

Help! iDentify filled in the wrong information into my file!
There are a couple possible reasons for this too. Here are some things you can do to prevent this. First, for movies, always include the year in the file name. Something like this works well: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone [2001].m4v” Providing the year in the file name helps iDentify do more accurate lookups on movies, especially when it comes to movies that may have been remade multiple times. However, there will be times where an incorrect lookup occurs.

When an incorrect IMDB lookup occurs. Visit the IMDB, and manually find the correct entry. look in your address bar and you will see a “tt” followed by a seven digit number. For Example, the movie Serenity has the url of “http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379786/”. Grab the record number, in this case, tt0379786. Add this number into your filename somehow. There are many ways you can do it, but I prefer simply adding them inside square brackets at the end of the file name; for example: “Serenity [2005] [tt0379786].mp4”. Including the imdb record number will force iDentify to use only that record when pulling information.

For TV shows, visit the TVDB and make sure your episode and season numbers match what they have in their database. The TVDB lists their episode in the order they were aired. Which may or may not be the order the appear on the dvd, and may or may not be the order they were intended by the creators to be viewed (I’m looking at you, FOX). An immediate example of this that comes to mind is Firefly. The dvd order is the preferred viewing order, but it was not the order the shows aired in. In cases like this, I recommend that you name your files in the order they were aired as per the TVDB, then, after the tagging is done, throw your files back into another program like metaX or Lostify to correct the episode order.

Also, some collections on DVD are not even limited to a single season of the show. This is especially common in those DVD box sets labels as “Volume x”. Take for example, the show, Futurama Volume 1 of this show contains episodes from seasons 1, 2, and 3! Hunting these down and naming them in the correct order can be a pain, I know. If you don’t like it, write to the studios and complain that you want your tv shows on dvd in the correct order, only… no more of the “Volume” crap. Or… Name your files based on DVD volume and episode instead of season by replacing the S with a D. For example: “Firefly – D01E01 – Serenity.mp4” instead of “Firefly – S01E01 – Serenity.mp4” In this case, if you do the lookup by season, the information will be incorrect, as the tvdb lists tv shows by air date. and your “Serenity” episode will be filled in with information from the episode: “The Train Job”. But if you use the DxxExx naming convention, iDentify knows you want to lookup based on the order the episodes appear on the dvd, and your “Serenity” episode will be filled in correctly. Note, that the number following the D is number of the volume, collection, set, or season, and not the individual disc number found inside that collection. So, say Futurama, Volume 1, has multiple discs, the episodes would be numbered consecutively, but they would all be listed as D01, regardless of which individual disc the episode appeared on. It should also be noted, that the episodes will retain the season and episode number provided in the file name. So the order they appear in iTunes and iTunes based devices will be the same order they appear on the dvd, which is generally the preferred viewing order anyways.

One final possibility is that the information on one of the source sites might be wrong. There isn’t much we can do about correcting info in the IMDB, but you can sign up for the TVDB and update incorrect information there.

Help! The TV shows I’m tagging contains a colon in the name, but I can’t use the colon in a file name, and the TVDB won’t find the series unless the colon is used!
Starting with version 20090110, I introduced a little work around for this that should be (hopefully) easy to remember. In place of a colon, use two asterisks (**). iDentify will treat this double asterisk as a : for the purposes of information lookups. Why did I choose to use two asterisks? Well, because two asterisks looks like a colon that has been turned sideways. See? Easy to remember now isn’t it?

How can I change my preferences?
Starting with version 20081217, you can change the preferences by renaming any file to “–changePrefs.mp4” and dropping it by itself on iDentify. Nothing will be done to this file, so don’t worry about damaging it. It doesn’t even have to actually be a video file. I personally just use an empty text file renamed with a .mp4 extension, like the one included in the zip distribution.

Alternatively, for all version of the program, you can open the iDentify package, and edit the Contents/Resources/options.xml file. Change the “initialized” value to 0, then save, exit, and run iDentify.

You Really Like Firefly Don’t You?
Obviously. 🙂 I feel it is a damn dirty shame what the idiots over at Fox did to the show. They air the thing out of order, in a different time slot on a different day every week, then cancel it because it isn’t getting good ratings. I mean. Seriously. WTF?

  1. Thomas
    December 19, 2008 at 8:48 am

    It’d be very cool if iDentify could use files named after IMDB numbers. So, if I give it a file called either 349205.m4v or tt0349205.mp4 it could do an unambiguous lookup in the IMDB.

    Here are three reasons that this feature would be useful:

    1. It would make it easier to detect duplicates. I.e., make it easier to see which “Robin Hood” movie the user is submitting info for or asking _tagchimp_ about.

    2. It would eliminate ambiguity when opening up the IDMB window.

    Rather than using the search URL like this:

    The program could jump right to:

    3. It would make it easier on us that have very large movie collections and have used the IMDB number as a index for our physical disc numbering and indexing system.

    • identifyapp
      December 19, 2008 at 9:13 am

      Believe it or not, I am one step ahead of you 🙂

      I’m working with the author of Video::Filename, the perl module I use to get information from the file name to add detection of an imdb code from the file name. So you’d be able to do something like:
      Robin Hood [tt1234567].mp4
      Robin Hood [1996] [ tt1234567].mp4
      Robin Hood [imdb-tt1234567].mp4
      Robin Hood [1234567].mp4
      and maybe even just

      I didn’t think someone would actually want a filename as unidentifiable as just 349205.m4v but I guess we can make it possible. I always felt it better to be able to know what file is what at a glance, without having to first look up a reference number.

  2. identifyapp
    December 20, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Version 20081220 now has imdb record support to force lookups of a specific record number.

  3. hashbrown
    January 24, 2009 at 9:37 am

    App works great on my Intel mac, but when I try using my old Powerbook (G4) I get the following;

    “sh: /Applications/iDentify/iDentify.app/Contents/Resources/AtomicParsley: Bad CPU type in executable”

    Is this just me trying to get the app to do something it shouldn’t, or is it something else?

  4. identifyapp
    January 24, 2009 at 9:55 am

    iDentify does not work on PowerPC machines. that AtomicParsley executable is -supposed- to be a universal binary, but it clearly isnt. -shrug-

  5. andrew
    February 6, 2009 at 5:26 am

    App works great. I tagged 24, american idol, californication, dexter, entourage, house, nip tuck, south park, and weeds with no problem. however i wasn’t able to get the application to work with the new 90210 on the CW. i think the app keeps trying to think the name is a season/episode. the file names are 90210 – S01EXX.mp4, but still doesn’t work. Is there a way to force the app to look at the name as a name and not as a season/episode?

    • identifyapp
      February 6, 2009 at 7:20 am

      unfortunately, there is currently no way to for a specific series/episode. i do believe the tvdb has spcific record numbers for each. ill have to look into it. butt unfortunately, tv shows whose names contain only numbers will likely always be problematic. frankly, im surprised 24 worked for you, as it hasnt worked for me. i dont know if you are dealing with the new or old 90210 series, but if its the old one try naming it “Beverly Hills, 90210” i have no advice for the new series right now though.

      • Eakster
        September 2, 2009 at 10:13 am

        I was having problems with 24 myself and I got it to work with the following file name example

        24 S01E01.mp4

  6. jason
    February 15, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Is there any way to put a period in a series title? I’m trying to look up “The Venture Bros.” and it’s not working.

    • identifyapp
      February 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

      looks like a bug. I’ll get on it.

      • identifyapp
        February 15, 2009 at 10:50 am

        Actually. Looks like its a bug with one of the modules I use. I’ll pass it up to the author of that module. He’s usually pretty quick about fixing his bugs.

        Looking up this series should work with or without that ending period. If the search on thetvdb.com returns the correct result, identify should return the identical result. However, for some reason, the TVDB::API perl module I use to do the tvdb lookups isn’t returning anything when I ask it for info on the Venture Bros. Not sure why.

      • Raewyn
        September 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm

        Just wanted to let you know Venture Bros. still won’t look up properly. Overall however, this is an excellent program. Thank you!

  7. Thayer
    April 5, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Hi, great program and it worked fine on the first two movies I tried. Then I moved the program location to share the same folder with the .m4v files I was creating with HandBrake. I got the following error message when I tried the next movie (WALL E). Got same message for other .m4v files I had created.

    IMDB Results: Got #0910970 WALL·E
    Checking for Posters…
    Poster Found: We found a poster for file WALL_E
    Now Tagging File Number 1 / 1
    File Name: /Volumes/miniStack/Video ToolBox/Movies_mpeg/WALL_E.m4v
    sh: /Volumes/miniStack/Video: No such file or directory

    So I tried the “-changePrefs.mp4” figuring I could specify the file location, and instead of triggering a dialog, it found a movie “The Changers”, and gave me the same file not found error.

    I’m not into code modification, what next?


    • identifyapp
      April 5, 2009 at 9:24 am

      I think I know what bug might be causing that behaviour. my guess is if you move iDentify somewhere where the path doesnt contain a space. Do this for me as a quick test, if you please, rename “Video Toolbox” to just “VideoToolbox” and try iDentify again. If it works, I think I know right where the bug will be. After you test that and until I put out a fix, I suggest just moving iDentify to your /Applications folder, and either dragging it to your dock then you can drag your files straight to the dock icon regardless of where they are (this is what I do) or keep iDentify in the /Applications folder (or somewhere else that does not have a space) right click on it (control-click) and select create alias. This alias should be able to be placed anywhere, and it should still work properly.

  8. Thayer
    April 5, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Yes, the space in the file name was the problem. I removed it and the files processed correctly.

    However, the change preference did not work — it still wants to treat it as “The Changers” movie.


  9. identifyapp
    April 5, 2009 at 11:01 am

    you need to use 2 dashes, not one.

  10. Dr Shawnie Fever
    April 5, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I look forward to using iDentify to tag my huge video library(and donating if it’s as awesome as I think it will be), however I think I need to reinstall and answer the initial preference questions differently.
    I have tried your two suggestions listed above, to no avail. In addition, I don’t seem to have the “com.arrmihardies.iDentify.plist” where it is supposed to be.
    I have uninstalled and redownloaded several times but never get the prompts that were displayed the first time.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks.

    • identifyapp
      April 6, 2009 at 7:34 am

      open a terminal window and paste the following

      rm /Library/Preferences/com.arrmihardies.iDentify.plist

      the next time you run iDentify, it should prompt you for your preferences.

      And upon testing.. it does appear that the –changePrefs function got broken somewhere along the past few revisions. I don’t think I’ll fix it. simply deleting the preference file like above would be easiest anyways. And I don’t want to put too much more work into this version of iDentify. Been busy learning cocoa so I can make this a -real- program… THE definitive tagging app.

  11. Oracle
    April 18, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Hi, this is a great program.
    Is it somehow possible to decide what language version of the tags are written in the files.
    E.g. there are both the english and the german version of ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’ – ‘Micky Maus Wunderhaus’ on tv.db. However I can’t choose the german tags.

    Thanks for your help.

    • identifyapp
      April 21, 2009 at 8:29 am

      Well, iDentify is primarily designed for english use. if entering “Micky Maus Wunderhaus” as your series name isn’t returning any results, (which, I think it should, as I am not forcing the TVDB to return only english results), then there isn’t much I can do about it without updating the script. If you feel up to it, however, you can try opening the package, and editing the “Contents/Resources/script” file and adding the following line between lines 865 and 866
      Beware though, it may break other lookups that only have English options. I haven’t tested it. But it is at least worth a try.

  12. Oracle
    April 21, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for your reply. The problem seems to be that both versions (english and german) have the same ID. The german name doesn’t return any results.
    I would like to give your suggestion a try, however I’m not quite sure whether I put the code in the right position. Is it ok like this:

    $thisFile->{writers} = tvdbArray($episode->{Writer});
    $thisFile->{description} = escapeText($episode->{Overview});

    $thisFile->{album} = $thisFile->{series}.”, Season “.$thisFile->{season};

    Again, this program is awesome. I don’t mind tagging my series in english, but I would love to tag the shows for my daughter in german.

    • identifyapp
      April 21, 2009 at 11:02 am

      Actually, that is down way too far. Look for a line that starts with
      my $tvdb=TVDB::API::new(
      And add that line right after that.

  13. Oracle
    April 21, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Sorry to bother you again.
    I noticed in the url that tvdb.com seems to use “lid=14” for the german version of the show.
    Does this help anyhow?

  14. Andrew
    April 26, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Your reset instructions for the app dont quite seem to work for me. Ive tried different filetypes renamed, and dragged/dropped into identify and it usually manages to just play the file in the identify window.

    Any ideas?

    • identifyapp
      April 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm

      Dragging dropping into iDentify isn’t going to work. With the program closed, you drag drop the files onto the iDentify icon.

      Try deleting your preferences.
      Close iDentify. Open a terminal window and paste the following

      rm /Library/Preferences/com.arrmihardies.iDentify.plist

      Then open iDentify. You should be re-prompted with the preference questions again. Select Yes at the “Prompt for Files” question.

      And just in case, iDenfity will only work with MP4 files with the .mp4 or .m4v extensions. .avis, .movs, .divx, and other extensions will not work, as they can not contain metaData.

  15. eisunreal
    July 21, 2009 at 5:49 am

    To switch the language to german use:

    directly after the line starting with:
    my $tvdb=TVDB::API::new(
    (in my version line 827)

    best regards,

  16. Oracle
    July 26, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for the hint, however I get an errormessage.
    ‘Unrecognized character \xD5 at /Applications/iDentify.app/Contents/Resources/script line 827.

    line 827 looks like this:
    my $tvdb = TVDB::API::new(“941073A2201BA1CE”); $tvdb->setLang(’de’);

    What might be wrong here?

    • identifyapp
      July 26, 2009 at 10:29 am

      Make sure any occurrences of > (ampersand gt semicolon) are replaced with the actual greater than symbol (shift+period)
      so line 827 should look like

      my $tvdb = TVDB::API::new("941073A2201BA1CE"); $tvdb->setLang(’de’);


      my $tvdb = TVDB::API::new("941073A2201BA1CE"); $tvdb->setLang(’de’);

  17. Oracle
    July 26, 2009 at 10:32 am


    I found the problem. It should be ” instead of ‘

    Works perfectly! A huge “thank you” from Germany!!!

  18. trolley
    December 8, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I am having trouble with the title being written to the tag. My naming convention is like so: Angels & Demons (2009).mp4

    The title being written into the tag is: Angels & Demons (

    • identifyapp
      December 8, 2009 at 6:04 pm

      Are you using the most recent version of iDentify? This should have been fixed in 20091030

      • December 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm

        I am using 20091125.

      • identifyapp
        December 11, 2009 at 7:27 am

        So the problem is that a “(” is showing up in the name. Otherwise, it is correct, yes? or is there an & amp; in the name?

      • trolley
        December 11, 2009 at 7:41 am

        Yes, the problem is that the ( is appearing in the name in the meta tag. This is happening with movies only, not TV shows. It happened with two different movies I tried.

        I can try again when I get home if you like. Would you like me to post the log from iDentify?

      • identifyapp
        December 11, 2009 at 8:05 am

        Can you try using square brackets instead of round ones?

      • trolley
        December 14, 2009 at 10:36 am

        I’m using the round because that is the format that Plex expects. I don’t know if it can support the square brackets, but I can try.

      • trolley
        December 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm

        Using the square brackets worked. However I see some errors…

        This error happened when the name had () in it:
        sh: -c: line 1: syntax error near unexpected token `(‘ sh: -c: line 1: ` set thisItem to POSIX file “/Users/trolley/Documents/HandBrake Rips/Bob Saget** That Ain’t Right (2007).m4v” as alias’

        This error happened when the name had [] in it:
        sh: -c: line 1: unexpected EOF while looking for matching `”‘ sh: -c: line 5: syntax error: unexpected end of file

      • arrmihardies
        December 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm

        This is the error mentioned on the front page in relation to single quotes in the file name and color labeling in finder. I can not work around it, but its nothing to worry about. Just know names with single quotes won’t have a color label applied correctly. I spent an entire day trying to get them escaped correctly without success. With a ground up rebuild well underway, I am loathe to spend more time fixing the current hacked together version.

        I hope you understand

      • trolley
        December 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm

        Ah, sorry for not noticing that. It’s working, and that’s what matters 🙂 Thanks a lot, I’ll be getting a donation your way soon.

  19. identifyapp
    December 11, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I’m not sure whats going on there. I see that both spellings do work on the tvdb web page.
    The problem seems to bee that the api isnt mathcing up the series name to the correct series record number.
    I wonder if there is a problem with the api for that series. I’ll post on the tvdb and see what comes of it.

    • Steve Sartain
      December 11, 2009 at 8:50 am

      Thanks it seemed an odd one to me to, I wonder if it has to do with the special e in Pokémon

      • identifyapp
        December 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

        Im sure it probably does. And, unfortunately, the problem appears to be in iDentify.
        To be honest, I do not see me fixing this. I’d have to delve into third party code to find the issue, and all my spare time has been spent working on iDentify’s replacement. A replacement which will not have any 3rd party code, except that needed to actually write data to the files. At the rate Im progressing on the replacement (which will also be called iDentify), we can probably expect to see it the end of the month, or maybe next month. (this is assuming I keep up my current pace)

    • Steve Sartain
      December 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

      I found another show with the same problem: Carnivàle

      My guess would be it is going to affect most shows with an accented letter.

      Again, great app and I can’t wait to see your from the ground up replacement!

  20. focher
    January 3, 2010 at 3:38 am

    any chance you are switching from atomicparsely to mp4libv2?

    • identifyapp
      January 3, 2010 at 7:32 am

      Reading, writing, and optimizing files using mp4v2 is already complete, no thanks to the devs. Getting them to answer even a simple question was an exercise in futility.

  21. go
    February 18, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Hi i just want to change the language to german like explained above but when i open the package there is no script file in “Contents/Resources/script”

  22. go
    February 18, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    ok my quick and dirty solution is hardcoding it to the tvdb module 😉
    not very clean but its working for now..
    and btw great app 🙂

    • identifyapp
      February 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm

      good. cause there is no other way. the main script is now encrypted to prevent people from trying to bypass the nag without donating.

  23. Chris B
    March 31, 2010 at 2:58 am

    I started getting an error after tagging an episode and the queue stops.
    The file seems to be written fine, and the old gets to the trash. But it just stops without moving to the next file.

    The log ends with:

    >> Started writing to temp file. 102030405060708090100 Finished writing to temp file.
    >> Moving the original file to your Trash… Not a HASH reference at /tmp/.plx_tmp line 631.
    >> This file contains 4 chapters.

    Just remembered that I updated to OS 10.6.3, could that be the problem?

  24. Anthony
    April 6, 2010 at 4:29 am

    How do I name files to look up specials?
    Specifically things like the last 4 Doctor Who specials that are not in a season?

    • identifyapp
      April 6, 2010 at 7:43 am

      Specials on the TVDB should be considered Season 0. Go to the tvdb.com and look up Doctor Who. Click on Specials under the season list. Then you’ll be able to see what episode # to use.

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