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Movies showing screenshots instead of posters

dwarfer16dwarfer16 Posts: 23Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

So I'm having an issue which only started recently where movies are having screenshots showing as the artwork instead of the movie poster. With some google-fu this seems to be an issue that other people have had and the cause usually seems to be due to the Movie Database agent being below the Freebase agent in the settings. I have tried moving the agents around but it has had no effect. Here is the library sorted by date added:

You can see that it has only started recently. Here are the library settings where Freebase is set as the agent :

Here are the Freebase agent settings in the main server settings:

Now when I first came to the server settings agent page only Freebase was ticked in the list but I'm sure that this wasn't always the case. Not sure if an update caused this. I have since ticked the Movie Database and moved it too be the first option but this had no effect. I also tried changing the agent in the library settings to the Movie Database but again no change. After changing anything I first tried refreshing the library and when that didn't work I also tried removing and re-adding a movie (by moving the file, refreshing the library, and moving it back).

So I'm stumped. Anyone have any ideas? Would appreciate any input!

Many thanks.

Craig

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Answers

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 7,894Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016

    Freebase is dead. You have moved TMDB up and that's good. You should also be aware that a recent change in the programming (perhaps a by-product of Freebase Death) has placed tighter restrictions on naming conventions - where once a healthy amount of leeway existed and poor naming would still produce a match, that seems to no longer be the case.

    It is strongly advised to use 'proper and exact' naming (including the removal of 'periods for spaces'). See if that helps. On titles not being matched, if you are changing the names I also suggest you move the titles out of library, update the database, rename them properly, clean bundles and empty trash before replacing them:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200392106-Library-Actions

    Proper naming guidelines:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/categories/200028098-Media-Preparation

    Tony

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  • dwarfer16dwarfer16 Posts: 23Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited May 2016

    @JuiceWSA said:
    Freebase is dead. You have moved TMDB up and that's good. You should also be aware that a recent change in the programming (perhaps a by-product of Freebase Death) has placed tighter restrictions on naming conventions - where once a healthy amount of leeway existed and poor naming would still produce a match, that seems to no longer be the case.

    It is strongly advised to use 'proper and exact' naming (including the removal of 'periods for spaces'). See if that helps. On titles not being matched, if you are changing the names I also suggest you move the titles out of library, update the database, rename them properly, clean bundles and empty trash before replacing them:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200392106-Library-Actions

    Proper naming guidelines:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/categories/200028098-Media-Preparation

    I didn't know that Freebase is dead so that is interesting. I'm pretty confident in the naming convention. All are named automatically in the format 'Name (Year)' so there are no dots as spaces, etc. I have tried Emptying the Trash when moving a folder out and back in but I didn't run Clean bundles. I have just tried that now and after adding Gladiator back in it still downloaded the screenshot image rather than the poster.

    However, it did take a bit of time to show the image which suggests that it was downloading from new. When I did it before without cleaning the bundles the image showed up straight away presumably from the bundle. Is there a way to tell for definite where it is getting the image from? I have also had two other movies added within the last day and they both turned up with screenshots so it seems that the agent settings are still wrong (rather than it being a temp issue) but I don't know how as the Movie Database is still first in the list.

    Cheers for any help,

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 7,894Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016

    In the case that MP4s are used, and those MP4s have embedded metadata with a poorly named title I would suggest moving Local Media Assets as low as possible in the agent lineup. It could be throwing off a match.

    In every case over the last few days as these issues with bad matches pop up it can be solved immediately with an absolute proper name with proper structure. It seems like you know what you're doing so at this point I'm out of ideas....

    Edit:... except for this one:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200289266-Editing-Libraries

    Read that... then edit the library, go to the Advanced Tab, making sure Freebase is switched off and TVDB is switched on. Note: The link above goes to a page that is obviously out of date, but once you get there, providing you are using a recent server version, you'll see what has to happen. At this point it's unclear to me if fiddling with these settings has anything to do with the agent settings we've taken pains to switch... but kill Freebase. I just did in checking mine. I already had killed the already quite dead Freebase in my agent line up, but the advanced settings still showed Freebase as the default. It may not help a bit, but trying it won't hurt.

    Tony

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  • dwarfer16dwarfer16 Posts: 23Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited May 2016

    @JuiceWSA said:
    In the case that MP4s are used, and those MP4s have embedded metadata with a poorly named title I would suggest moving Local Media Assets as low as possible in the agent lineup. It could be throwing off a match.

    In every case over the last few days as these issues with bad matches pop up it can be solved immediately with an absolute proper name with proper structure. It seems like you know what you're doing so at this point I'm out of ideas....

    Edit:... except for this one:
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200289266-Editing-Libraries

    Read that... then edit the library, go to the Advanced Tab, making sure Freebase is switched off and TVDB is switched on. Note: The link above goes to a page that is obviously out of date, but once you get there, providing you are using a recent server version, you'll see what has to happen. At this point it's unclear to me if fiddling with these settings has anything to do with the agent settings we've taken pains to switch... but kill Freebase. I just did in checking mine. I already had killed the already quite dead Freebase in my agent line up, but the advanced settings still showed Freebase as the default. It may not help a bit, but trying it won't hurt.

    While there are some MP4s the majority are MKV and I can see that Gladiator is an MKV. I have just tried changing the agent from Freebase to the MD in the library settings.

    and the MB agent is configured with only the MB as an agent within it.

    I just removed and re-added the movie with no change. I also did a Rescan All as per the link which I hadn't tried before. No change still :-(

    The movie must be matching against something because it is pulling in other info about the movie like actors, director, etc.

    I just checked out https://themoviedb.org/movie/98-gladiator/backdrops?language=en-US and I can't even see the screenshot that keeps being picked in the images section! I'm stumped as to where the screenshot is coming from.

    Agghhh!

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 7,894Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016 Accepted Answer

    I'm not absolutely certain, but it is my understanding those come from the movie, or show as it resides in your library and is the default when no other poster is available or able to be downloaded in a correct match.

    What happens if you edit the item right there? Is there no other poster image available there either? It is getting a background image - unless that too is derived from a local screenshot.

    Grasping here - try 'Optimizing' the database - from the same place you Clean Bundles.

    And the 'Arthur Murray Dance School' instructions for 'The Plex Dance' are as follows:

    Remove Media
    Update Library
    Clean Bundles
    Empty Trash
    Correct Media Name and/or Structure Before
    Return Media to Library
    Update Library - or allow an automatic update and rediscovery.

    ... and just as another grasp - Reboot the server box - just because you can. Couldn't hurt.

    I just read a post from @sa2000 regarding a somewhat similar issue wherein he suggests:

    That too couldn't hurt.

    Tony

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  • dwarfer16dwarfer16 Posts: 23Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Firstly, massive thanks for taking the time to reply and help with this issue! I really appreciate it.

    Secondly, you have cracked it! I noticed that after the last removal and re-adding of Gladiator it didn't actually pull in the actors, director, etc. metadata this time. I checked the agent and it only happened when the MD was set as the agent. When I set it back to Freebase it would pull in the metadata (with no poster) but when it was on MD it wouldn't pull in anything. This was after trying the 'Arthur Murray Dance School' process mentioned above.

    So the issue wasn't so much that it wasn't pulling in the posters, I think it was actually not getting any metadata from the MD at all. Previously it must have been getting the metadata from Freebase and the posters from MD. So this pointed to something wrong with the cache. I removed the cached folders for all the agents as per your link, hit Refresh All in my Movies library and bingo!

    Cheers again. Muchly appreciated.

    Craig

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 7,894Members ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2016

    Well, I'll be dipped... you and I benefited from that answer from @sa2000 . I'll remember that and you have posters.

    Excellent.

    Some recent posts may elude to the fact that Freebase may not be completely dead. Only near death, gasping for air. I wouldn't rush right out and move it to the top of a list or anything at this stage.

    Tony

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  • bbaxter101bbaxter101 Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I am having the same issue. Now that Freebase doesn't seem to resolve any of the data, I moved TMDB to the top of the agent list and followed the directions above. It is only showing screenshots of the movies, not the poster for the movie. I can't seem to get it to resolve the poster. Any ideas?

  • JuiceWSAJuiceWSA Posts: 7,894Members ✭✭✭✭✭

    Tony

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    Plex Clients: AFTVs, Androids, PMP, Rokus (running RARflix: http://mkvxstream.blogspot.com/2014/09/roku-plex-setup-guide.html ) Link May Work - May Not

  • Papageno_1961Papageno_1961 Posts: 20Members ✭✭
    edited May 14

    I know that this is an old topic, but I can't even get Plex Media Server to create the screenshots for videos that the OP complained about (and I would actually be satisfied with that appearing as a poster). I noticed that sometime around mid-December, suddenly no image at all would appear as a poster, and this has been the case for every video since.
    So even if I have to add the image manually, where are the thumbnails for video files stored (the ones that appear when you hover over the line below the video)? Maybe I can just snag some from there?

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Posts: 30,312Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja
    edited May 14

    @Papageno_1961 said:
    I know that this is an old topic, but I can't even get Plex Media Server to create the screenshots for videos that the OP complained about (and I would actually be satisfied with that appearing as a poster). I noticed that sometime around mid-December, suddenly no image at all would appear as a poster, and this has been the case for every video since.
    So even if I have to add the image manually, where are the thumbnails for video files stored (the ones that appear when you hover over the line below the video)? Maybe I can just snag some from there?

    Holy necropost! :D

    Did you move your Plex data folder to a different drive/partition?
    Did you recently 'expand' the hard disk volume with the Plex data on it using 'Windows Storage Spaces'?
    Verify that the file system on that volume is still NTFS. ReFS or exFAT won't work.

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  • Papageno_1961Papageno_1961 Posts: 20Members ✭✭

    @OttoKerner said:

    Holy necropost! :D

    Did you move your Plex data folder to a different drive/partition?
    Did you recently 'expand' the hard disk volume with the Plex data on it using 'Windows Storage Spaces'?
    Verify that the file system on that volume is still NTFS. ReFS or exFAT won't work.

    Thanks for the reply. That's the weird thing, I made literally no changes to any of those three things. One day, I was getting thumbnails as posters (if I go to edit a particular video that actually has them from before the change, I see a choice of three BTW), the next day nothing. When I edit one of the videos with no poster or thumbnail as poster, there's nothing there in the poster edit window.

    Now that you've steered me to the folder, it looks like I know where the thumbnails should be (and are there for older videos), but it looks like for folders after about mid-December last year, they're just not there, as though they're not even being created, despite the library's edit settings. Is there a way to force that for a given title?

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Posts: 30,312Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja

    @Papageno_1961 said:
    Thanks for the reply. That's the weird thing, I made literally no changes to any of those three things.
    Now that you've steered me to the folder, it looks like I know where the thumbnails should be (and are there for older videos), but it looks like for folders after about mid-December last year, they're just not there, as though they're not even being created, despite the library's edit settings. Is there a way to force that for a given title?

    No, there is no way to 'force' it to work. Either it is working or not.
    Have you recently enabled IPv6 support on your router or your plex server computer?
    Did you install a different or new version of an anti virus software?
    Did you add or update VPN software?
    Did your ISP give you a new contract/tariff/modem/router?
    Any other modifications on the router or network infrastructure?

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  • Papageno_1961Papageno_1961 Posts: 20Members ✭✭
    edited May 15

    @OttoKerner said:

    No, there is no way to 'force' it to work. Either it is working or not.
    Have you recently enabled IPv6 support on your router or your plex server computer?
    Did you install a different or new version of an anti virus software?
    Did you add or update VPN software?
    Did your ISP give you a new contract/tariff/modem/router?
    Any other modifications on the router or network infrastructure?

    Thanks again for the reply.

    OK, to answer the questions one at a time:

    No to IPv6. While officially supported by Comcast/Xfinity these days, by default it's always been disabled at the router level (but not at the network adapter level--just disabled IPv6 there today via the checkbox under Properties). My OS is Windows 10 Pro x64 (just got the April 2018 update package, but this problem preceded it), my modem is an Arris 6141 and my router an RT-N66U from ASUS BTW.

    Antivirus: nothing but Windows Defender that comes standard with Windows 10. No change there.

    No VPN ever.

    No change in ISP package nor network hardware on my end, apart from a couple of router firmware updates for the N66U.

    No other network modifications.

    I wonder if maybe Plex got a lot more finicky about video naming or something as of a certain version? I'm not even asking for proper movie posters. Screenshots would do the trick as far as I'm concerned, but it won't even do that. You'd think the program could just grab a couple of them from the videos themselves. No matter whether I classify them as movies, other videos*, etc. do I get any images. *in the latter case, would I use a Personal Media agent?

    My next strategy is to grab all the problem videos and move them to their own folder, create a separate library for them, do the "Plex dance", clear caches and see if any of that helps, I guess.

    EDIT: BTW, are the thumbnail images that appear when you hover the mouse cursor over the "progress bar" (for want of a better term) in some subfolder of the Media subfolder?

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Posts: 30,312Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja

    @Papageno_1961 said:
    No to IPv6.

    Good.

    Antivirus: nothing but Windows Defender that comes standard with Windows 10. No change there.

    Tell it to stay out of your Plex data folder anyway.

    You'd think the program could just grab a couple of them from the videos themselves. No matter whether I classify them as movies, other videos*, etc. do I get any images. *in the latter case, would I use a Personal Media agent?
    My next strategy is to grab all the problem videos and move them to their own folder, create a separate library for them, do the "Plex dance", clear caches and see if any of that helps, I guess.

    Yes, try a 'Other Videos' library. This one relies on automatic thumbnails-only.

    EDIT: BTW, are the thumbnail images that appear when you hover the mouse cursor over the "progress bar" (for want of a better term) in some subfolder of the Media subfolder?

    They are stored in the Plex data folder
    Filename extension .bif, very hard to find. But they won't help in your case, I'm afraid.
    https://support.plex.tv/articles/202197528-video-preview-thumbnails/

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  • Papageno_1961Papageno_1961 Posts: 20Members ✭✭
    edited May 16

    Hi again, OttoKerner,

    I assume that "telling Defender to stay out of the Plex Data folder" amounts to adding an exclusion in Defender's settings for said folder, right. OK, done that now.

    That said, I'd already tried creating an "Other Videos" library with no luck (at least so far).

    Just now as a test I tried doing it with three files only, all mp4s. Deleted the old library. No matter what scanner appears in the Edit window for the library, or what agent I choose, or any combo thereof, no posters or "thumbnails as posters" at all, even when rescanning and forcing metadata refresh. I just don't get it.

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Posts: 30,312Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja
    1. activate debug logging (not 'verbose'!)
    2. quit Plex Server
    3. wait 1 minute
    4. start Plex Server
    5. wait 2 minutes
    6. either refresh one movie or add one movie into your library
    7. wait 3 minutes
    8. fetch log files and attach them here
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  • Papageno_1961Papageno_1961 Posts: 20Members ✭✭

    OK, thanks for helping me out with this. Attaching log file.

  • OttoKernerOttoKerner Posts: 30,312Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja
    edited May 17

    It looks like you did not add just one movie, but a whole library's worth.
    This makes it more difficult to gain info from your logs.

    1) Never download directly into a folder that is connected to a Plex library. Always download into a temporary location. Then, after the download is finished and the file has been renamed according to the requirements of Plex move it into the media folder.

    2) Plex will only download posters for Cinema movies and TV series.
    This won't work for, er, "grownup entertainment"-type videos.

    3) If Plex cannot recognise what the video contains (because it has a filename that is not according to Plex's requirements) you won't get any metadata.

    4) Plex will only update one of its libraries at once. If there is an unfinshed library update going on for one library, you won't get any new metadata in other libraries.

    5) If you create a library of the type 'Other Videos', you won't get any posters
    same applies if you switch the metadata agent of an existing movie library to 'Personal Videos'

    6) I see a potential issue in the logs. Here is an experiment:
    Disable any type of registry optimizers/cleaners software you might have running.
    Create a folder C:\plexdata
    got to Settings - Server - General - 'Show Advanced' - 'The path where local application data is stored'
    put C:\plexdata in there
    then click Save
    then shut down your Plex server using the tray icon (closing the web browser is not enough!)
    after a few seconds, restart Plex Server and wait a few minutes
    When you open it, it will look as if nothing is in there. Don't worry, that is expected. Your old data are still save.
    Now, create a new library of the type 'Movies'
    Point it to a folder containing one or two cinema movies, which have been renamed strictly as required.
    Official Movie Title (year).mp4
    What happens?

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  • Papageno_1961Papageno_1961 Posts: 20Members ✭✭

    Well, yes, I screwed up yesterday and ended up with a much bigger file, I suppose.

    I understand that I won't get proper posters where a poster should appear for "unofficial" movies (or scenes therefrom) when using an "other videos" library (item 5 in your list). Should I not at least get an automatically random sample of three screenshots from the video files in said folders? It used to do this automatically with no problems before about mid-December last year and things were not named in any particularly disciplined manner, and use one of said screenshots in place of a poster. It looks like they used to be stored in the "Art" and "Thumbnails' sub sub sub folders under "Media" in the PMS folder on C:.

    Now I don't know the mechanics of whether those screenshots were grabbed from the videos on my machine by Plex itself, or whether as of mid-December some font of metadata (uploaded to by kind souls) for those scenes you alluded to just went offline suddenly. It may be down to me to just figure out a way to get screenshots manually myself with VLC or something, and put them manually where they need to be (what a pain).

    Thanks for the new info about updating only one library at once, in item 4. I didn't know that.

    I'll do the thing you mentioned just to rule out the issue you said you spotted.

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