Import creativeLIVE downloads into iTunes as TV Shows

So, I really like the creativeLIVE courses. I listen to them on my iPhone when I can. However, when downloading the courses, I end up with perhaps 30 or so individual video files, for the different segments of the course. These do not carry any metadata in them, and while being named such to keep the files in order, the names can still be rather cryptic.

Because I’m a lazy programmer (the best kind, if I do say so myself! 😉 ), ease of access is important to me. I find an little effort at the outset makes the overall effort significantly less. So, I like to have my creativeLIVE downloads organized as TV shows, and appropriately metadata-ed. They’re just easier to watch that way, in my opinion. Which may not be worth much, but it’s the only one I have…

So, to make this all work nicely, a little pre-work is needed. Here are the steps I go through to make it all happen according to my plan:

  1. When downloading the files from creativeLIVE, I copy the title of the course segment from the course page, and use that as the file name. I number the files sequentially, depending on the day. E.g., when downloading from the recent Tamara Lackey class, I saved the file as “01 WELCOME-Opening Banter for Day”. Special characters such as colons need to be replaced, but that doesn’t bother my OCD side enough to matter… For each Session (day) I restart number, but that’s just me. The reason I include the number on the file names is so that Explorer, Finder, et al, will show the files in the correct order. That may not be a concern for somebody else.
  2. When I download the files, I save them in my iTunes music library location, under the TV Shows folder. I put each day of a class into a Season folder (Season 1, Season 2, etc.), because in the end that’s just how I like to see them in iTunes. If the folder doesn’t exist (because you have no TV shows…), you may have to create it. In the case of the Tamara Lackey class, the files would go in “<iTunes Music Library>/TV Shows/Taking Care of Business with Tamara Lackey”. I have no idea where <iTunes Music Library> is on your system, of course… Underneath the “Taking Care of Business with Tamara Lackey” directory, I created a Season 1 and a Season 2 directory.
  3. When all the files are downloaded, it’s time to import them into iTunes. There’s a trick, though. Because iTunes sucks big time at organizing TV shows and movies, a preferences change is in order. Because the metadata is not set on the files coming from creativeLIVE, the files will be imported as Movies instead of TV Shows. Typically, iTunes would put each file in a separate folder under the Movies folder in your iTunes library. That is, one video file per folder. So, we need to trick iTunes temporarily. To do this, open your iTunes preferences and select the Advanced tab. Turn the “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” and the “Copy files to iTunes Media folder…” options OFF–make sure the checkboxes are cleared.
  4. Once the preferences are updated, you may now import the creativeLIVE course. I imported the “Taking Care of Business with Tamara Lackey” folder, instead of importing the files individually. This caught both the Season 1 and 2 folders, as well.
  5. After the import has completed, the course will show up under the Movies in iTunes. Now, it’s just a matter of editing the metadata. I like to select all the newly-imported files and set the Album and TV Show information. Simply select the files, then right-click on them and select “Get Info” from the menu.
  6. On the Info tab, enter the Album, Artist, Album Artist, Year, Genre, etc. You can come back and edit the Name for each individual file after all the global metadata has been entered. I make good use of copy/paste and the Previous/Next buttons seen on the bottom of the dialog.
  7. On the Video tab, enter the Show name. When editing individual files, this is where you will set the Episode ID (I just use the segment title), season number, and episode number. You can come back in after setting the global data and update the metadata for each individual file:
  8. The last part of the equation is setting the Options. The files need to have the “Media Kind” changed to “TV Show”. Once that is done, you can click “OK”, and all the changes will be applied to the files.
  9. Once all the changes have been applied, you will need to look under “TV Shows” to see the videos. Assuming all the changes were made as suggested, of course. At this point, you may want to go back into the Advanced tab on your iTunes Preferences and reset the “organize media” and “copy files” preferences…

Hopefully that provides a bit of clarity on how the creativeLIVE videos can be imported into iTunes as a TV show. Once it’s done, it’s done. Organizing the classes as TV shows makes the videos much easier to locate on iPhone/iPads, and in iTunes. I’m sure there are other workarounds that could be used to organize the files in iTunes, but this is the way I chose, and it works pretty well for me. Most of these steps are the result of the files not having any metadata in them, and iTunes not giving you any intelligent import options.

Hope it helped! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, and I will try to answer as soon as I can.