Retrieving and Saving media metadata using FFmpeg

I want to read the metadata in media files and then save that metadata in a text/xml file, so that I can later insert that data in my database. I would prefer to use ffmpeg.

Also is the same thing possible with MediaInfo?? I know I can get the metadata for individual tracks using MediaInfo, but I would want to automate it; as in whenever a new media file is found, read its metadata and then store it in a txt/xml file.

Or, is there any other tool/utility/API that I can use for this?


You can save the global metadata to a text file using the -f ffmetadata option as follows:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -f ffmetadata in.txt

If you also need metadata from the video and audio streams (for example if the global metadata does not contain the creation time) use:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -c copy -map_metadata 0 -map_metadata:s:v 0:s:v -map_metadata:s:a 0:s:a -f ffmetadata in.txt

For details, see Metadata section in ffmpeg documentation.

For restoring metadata from a file see

I prefer using exiftool which offers me more outputs than ffmpeg. take a example (a file from iphone):

exiftool IMG_0014.MOV >a.txt

the output is

ExifTool Version Number         : 8.60
File Name                       : IMG_0014.MOV
Directory                       : .
File Size                       : 19 MB
File Modification Date/Time     : 2013:07:19 12:03:22-10:00
File Permissions                : rw-r--r--
File Type                       : MOV
MIME Type                       : video/quicktime
Major Brand                     : Apple QuickTime (.MOV/QT)
Minor Version                   : 0.0.0
Compatible Brands               : qt
Movie Data Size                 : 19979709
Movie Header Version            : 0
Modify Date                     : 2013:07:19 22:03:21
Time Scale                      : 600
Duration                        : 7.27 s
Preferred Rate                  : 1
Preferred Volume                : 100.00%
Preview Time                    : 0 s
Preview Duration                : 0 s
Poster Time                     : 0 s
Selection Time                  : 0 s
Selection Duration              : 0 s
Current Time                    : 0 s
Next Track ID                   : 3
Track Header Version            : 0
Track Create Date               : 2013:07:19 22:03:13
Track Modify Date               : 2013:07:19 22:03:21
Track ID                        : 1
Track Duration                  : 7.27 s
Track Layer                     : 0
Track Volume                    : 0.00%
Image Width                     : 1920
Image Height                    : 1080
Graphics Mode                   : ditherCopy
Op Color                        : 32768 32768 32768
Compressor ID                   : avc1
Source Image Width              : 1920
Source Image Height             : 1080
X Resolution                    : 72
Y Resolution                    : 72
Compressor Name                 : H.264
Bit Depth                       : 24
Video Frame Rate                : 27.011
Camera Identifier               : Back
Frame Readout Time              : 28512 microseconds
Matrix Structure                : 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
Media Header Version            : 0
Media Create Date               : 2013:07:19 22:03:13
Media Modify Date               : 2013:07:19 22:03:21
Media Time Scale                : 44100
Media Duration                  : 7.31 s
Media Language Code             : und
Balance                         : 0
Handler Class                   : Data Handler
Handler Vendor ID               : Apple
Handler Description             : Core Media Data Handler
Audio Channels                  : 1
Audio Bits Per Sample           : 16
Audio Sample Rate               : 44100
Audio Format                    : chan
Model                           : iPhone 4S
Software Version                : 6.1.3
Create Date                     : 2013:07:20 08:03:13+10:00
Make                            : Apple
Handler Type                    : Metadata Tags
Make (und-AU)                   : Apple
Creation Date (und-AU)          : 2013:07:20 08:03:13+10:00
Software (und-AU)               : 6.1.3
Model (und-AU)                  : iPhone 4S
Avg Bitrate                     : 22 Mbps
Image Size                      : 1920x1080
Rotation                        : 90

while if i use ffmpeg

 ffmpeg -i IMG_0014.MOV -f ffmetadata metadata.txt
the output is

You can use ffprobe (which comes with ffmpeg) for gathering information about multimedia files. For information about overall content of a multimedia file use

ffprobe -show_streams -show_format DV06xx.avi 

and for information about each single frame in a video file use

ffprobe -show_frames DV06xx.avi 

However, ffprobedoes not retrieve as much information as my favorite tool, Mediainfo, does, e.g., 'ffprobe' does not display the time code of first frame of the video (although the man page claims otherwise) or the recording date.

If you run mediainfo on the command line, you can even request output in XML format:

mediainfo --OUTPUT=XML DV06xx.avi 

In my example the output is:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Mediainfo version="0.7.63">
<track type="General">
<Format_Info>Audio Video Interleave</Format_Info>
<File_size>13.3 GiB</File_size>
<Duration>1h 2mn</Duration>
<Overall_bit_rate>30.5 Mbps</Overall_bit_rate>
<Recorded_date>2004-03-28 15:42:35.000</Recorded_date>

<track type="Video">
<Duration>1h 2mn</Duration>
<Bit_rate>24.4 Mbps</Bit_rate>
<Encoded_bit_rate>28.8 Mbps</Encoded_bit_rate>
<Width>720 pixels</Width>
<Height>576 pixels</Height>
<Frame_rate>25.000 fps</Frame_rate>
<Bit_depth>8 bits</Bit_depth>
<Scan_order>Bottom Field First</Scan_order>
<Time_code_source>Subcode time code</Time_code_source>
<Stream_size>12.6 GiB (94%)</Stream_size>
<Encoding_settings>ae mode=full automatic / wb mode=automatic / white balance= / fcm=manual focus</Encoding_settings>

<track type="Audio">
<Duration>1h 2mn</Duration>
<Bit_rate>1 536 Kbps</Bit_rate>
<Channel_s_>2 channels</Channel_s_>
<Sampling_rate>48.0 KHz</Sampling_rate>
<Bit_depth>16 bits</Bit_depth>
<Stream_size>688 MiB (5%)</Stream_size>
<Alignment>Aligned on interleaves</Alignment>
<Interleave__duration>40 ms (1.00 video frame)</Interleave__duration>
<Interleave__preload_duration>40 ms</Interleave__preload_duration>


Adding the optional parameter -f will produce even more detailed information.

There's also atomicparsley for MPEG-4 files.

You can set the metadata on video, below mention set album_artist

ffmpeg -i source.mp4 -metadata album_artist='stack developer' -y -r 1 -acodec copy -vcodec copy destination.mp4

And retreive the meta tag as:

ffmpeg -i destination.mp4

Use this on command line .

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