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MediaInfo Characterization Pipe to XML

Testimonial: Walter Forsberg
Type: Software Workflow

One of my favorite software “cool tools” is a basic quick MediaInfo command-line characterization analysis and pipe from my time working with the XFR STN project at the New Museum, circa 2013. Owing to our extensive equipment set-up and supposed expertise, the team was often given media “things” (thumb drives, CDs, data DVDs, hard drives) that museum staff and the public wanted us to handle, extract, convert, etc. The frequency and informality of these requests soon lead us to initiate a bare-bones life-saving “C.Y.A.” protocol. Upon receipt of any media “thing,” we would run this MediaInfo script and immediately email our requesting party the resultant XML file to establish exactly what it was they had just entrusted us with. This defined a simple chain-of-custody and helped avoid any misunderstandings (eg. “but, I swear that I gave you the only copy of my child’s birth video!”), and I’ve used it forever since in similar circumstances at the Smithsonian.

Once you have MediaInfo installed on your Mac, open Terminal, and type the following command:

  • mediainfo -f --Language=raw --Output=XML

Drag and drop the file/volume you want to analyze into the terminal window. The command should now read:

  • mediainfo -f --Language=raw --Output=XML [filepath/filename].mov

Type a right caret symbol, then type or drag the destination folder for the xml metadata file output. The final command should read as follows:

  • mediainfo -f --Language=raw --Output=XML [filepath/filename].mov > [filepath/filename].xml

Now, you'll have a nice XML file you can email around with a note: "Bob, FYI: here's a list of the files we found on the thumb drive you placed in my mailbox."

Resource Category
Software Workflows
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