Part 4 – Using The Renamer to Organize Media

Continuing with my Home Media Center series, now that we have the files ripped from disc and encoded, what do we do with them.  I suppose you could just open up VLC and play what you wanted, but that doesn’t say “Home Media Center” to you does it?  Anyone can do that.  We are looking for a totally integrated solution that can be controlled with a remote control, no mouse needed.

To that end, we need a way to organize our folder structure, preferably as automated as possible.  Enter The Renamer.  This handy application can rename movies, TV episodes, and create a folder structure you specify.  It takes a minute to set up, and every once in a while it’s wrong and you have to manually edit it, but once it’s running it’s pretty smooth.

More in this series –

You can download The Renamer here:

Once you get it installed, we need to do a bit of modification.  First when you open it you’ll see something like this:



Which basically tells you everything you need to know.  Clicking on “tvshows” in the center will toggle between TV and movies renaming (this is important).  Clicking on “theTVDB” in the bottom right will change the site used to pull the naming from.  I prefer theTVDB and it’s been good for me so far – YMMV.

We are going to click on the settings wrench in the upper right corner – NOT the general settings in the lower left.  These settings will allow us to set up the structure for our TV episodes.  The default is: showname.sxxexx.episodetitle.ext

Which is pretty much how I like it.  Feel free to customize to your own preference.  You can use the buttons to include the showname, season or episode title.  If you later want to import in to any database you’ll need all those included.  The season structure you can customize though.  I like the sxxexx format, but you can shorten it with the 1×01 or 101 format.


You can also change your seperators from the “.” to the other options listed in the tool.


The important part, is the fetch folder and Shows Archive.  Setting these makes things much more automated.  The fetch folder is where you are outputting all your media.  The Archive is where you want all the finished products to be located.  Make sure to select the “Include Subfolders” and “Auto Move” buttons.

TIP – These should be separate folders not inside each other.  I used whole drives for my locations and my DOWNLOADS folder is inside my movies drive and it causes me no end of trouble.  Eventually I’ll fix that, but for now I live with it.  Do yourself a favor and don’t make the same mistake.


With Auto Move enabled, the program will rename the file, then move it to the source destination, based on the file structure that you outline.  You can customize that to in the bottom right of the options window.  I recommend accepting the defaults so you don’t have problems later on.


There are more pages in the configuration (click on the “Next Page” button on the top right) – but none of them are relevant for us so we’re moving on.  Click the close wrench in the upper right and then swap over to Movies.


Click on the same config wrench to open up the options.  Similar to the TV options we’re going to set up our folders, and click “Auto Move”.


In addition to creating the folder here, the renamer will add the Year to the folder (if there is more than one movie matching the description).  The year is surrounded with ( )’s – if you’d rather it display differently you can select the options on the right side.  You can also append the year to the file (I don’t bother).


That’s all for setup.  Now all we need to do is drag some files in to The Renamer window, and it will do the rest for us.  You can drag as many as you’d like, if you are doing TV episodes I recommend doing 1 season at a time.  For movies, you can do whatever you’d like.


The search window will come up and match the dragged content to the database.


When it finds matches (or doesnt) the confirmation screen will appear.  You’ll see right away if something went wrong, there will be all caps and something like INVALID or MISSING TITLE etc.  You can uncheck the error ones (should be done automatically) and complete the ones it found, then go back and fix the errors after.  Once you’re ready hit proceed.


It will do the work, rename the files and move them to the proper folders.  When it’s finished you’ll get the last window and the ability to check the log, or start a new rename process.


That’s all there is too it for basics.  Small issues can be fixed by renaming the source file so that the renamer can properly locate the right show.  If that doesn’t work you can check the log files and see what it’s searching for.  Sometimes it gets it completely wrong.  In that case you’ll have to manually put in the proper title in the database.


Click the database folder and a new window will open.  Here you click the “add” button on the right and input the name and IDcode.  The name, is the name it’s searching for, you can find that in the log files, or by watching the bottom bar during the search page.  The IDcode is from your source (theTVDB).  Go to the website, find the tv series, then copy the code from the browser bar.  There are instructions right on the database page for you.


Also – If there is a show name that you’d like to modify.  Like it’s super long and you want to abbreviate it (Navy NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service) you can open the “Force Showname” options and this lets you change the output of the Renamer.  In the above case we’d want to rename the show just NCIS (this one is a default already in there).

So – that’s The Renamer.  If you have any questions or comments let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help out.  Now that we’ve got data, and a data structure, it’s time to start organizing it in a database!  Next time – Ember Media Manager.