Usher 1.0 ushers in a new era in movie management

Usher iconWe’re thrilled—beyond thrilled, actually—to announce the release of Usher 1.0 today. Usher is Many Tricks’ movie management and viewing application. If you collect videos—be they from cell phones, digital video cameras, internet downloads, ripped DVDs, or wherever, Usher is the tool to help you gain control over your collection.

The list of features is immense; check out the Usher web page to get a sense for its capabilities. We’ve really worked hard to make this a solid release, as yFlicks was a much-loved and much-used program that, sadly, stopped working a couple of major OS X releases ago. While Usher is the spiritual successor to yFlicks, the number of new and/or greatly improved features, along with the completely revamped interface, make it essentially a brand-new program. That’s why we tested Usher with our largest-ever group of beta testers—Usher is a large, complex program, and we wanted it to be as issue-free as possible.

Keep reading to see a small sampling of Usher’s features, and for full information on purchasing or upgrading to (including free upgrades for many yFlicks users) Usher.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you at least a sense of the scope of Usher’s feature set:

  • Catalog (and optionally store directly in Usher’s library) all movies and videos on your machine.
  • Manages videos stored iTunes (including TV shows, iTunes U, movies, etc. in iTunes).
  • Manages videos saved in iPhoto, and even imports any associated keywords.
  • Built-in search-and-download feature for both YouTube and Vimeo videos.
  • A browser bookmarklet allows easy downloading of many other web videos with a simple mouse click.
  • Downloaded web videos can be automatically converted for iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV use.
  • Downloaded web videos can be automatically added to iTunes.
  • Movies can be played back within the Usher window, in a separate window, or in full screen mode. In all three modes, playback controls can hover-and-vanish (as in QuickTime X, but we think ours are nicer!), or can be permanently visible outside the frame (as in QuickTime 7 and earlier).
  • Plays back anything QuickTime can play, including QuickTime extenders such as Flip4Mac and Perian. (iTunes-protected movies cannot be played back outside of iTunes.)
  • Usher includes basic editing tools, including cut, copy, paste, revert to original, and save later.
  • Videos can be rotated and cropped, to easily correct for movies recorded while holding your camera in portrait mode, or to remove the black borders around a video.
  • A lock icon in the playback window allows you to correct the aspect ratio by choosing from a number of presets, or via free-form resizing.
  • Four view modes (list, preview frames, DVD covers, and Cover Flow) provide a number of ways for you to look at your collection.
  • Tags (simple yes/no indicators, such as “Funny” or “Improv”) and Properties (which can store multiple entries, such as the entire cast in a Property named Cast) give you the power to really organize your collections.
  • Auto-Properties uses an Amazon API to easily retrieve and populate many Properties (such as Cast, Director, Year, Rating, and Genre)—you can retrieve all these values for many movies with a single button click.
  • Smart Playlists can be built based on values in Tags, Properties, and other fields (such as Date Added).
  • A whitelist and a blacklist give you control over what types of content Usher will and will not look for.
  • Use your Apple hardware remote (the skinny white one that used to come with certain Macs) to control Usher—pick movies and play them without touching the mouse or keyboard.
  • Finally, for the first time ever, a Many Tricks app now includes a video tutorial. Check out the Favorites Smart Playlist for a 13-minute overview of some of Usher’s features. Also check out the extensive in-app help, available via the Help menu.

Usher is available as an unrestricted trial (all features enabled) for two weeks; after that, you’ll see a not-so-subtle reminder that registration is required if you wish to continue using the program. Usher costs $35 for new users, and those who purchased yFlicks after March 1st, 2009, can receive a free upgrade to Usher (send us an email to get information on the free upgrade program). Those who purchased prior to that date can upgrade for $15.

Thanks to all the testers who helped us put this large complex program through its paces. We’re really looking forward to your feedback, and to hear your wishes for future Usher updates.

10 Responses to “Usher 1.0 ushers in a new era in movie management”

  1. Rohan says:

    This looks great so far. I particularly like the new YouTube feature. Is there any way to remap the Apple Remote so that pressing Menu will bring up Usher instead of Front Row?

  2. Marius says:

    Congrats to you on Usher and well worth the wait! ;)

  3. Constantinos says:

    This is just great news. I have been waiting for this eagerly.

    However, i am experiencing serious issues with mkv files, causing the application to freeze and my mac to have lags. I don’t know if this is just me but I haven’t been able to import and edit the properties an mkv file without relaunching the app at least twice.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Rob Griffiths says:

      We’re working on some issues with mkv support right now. We may never get it perfect (given mkv isn’t QuickTime native, it’s a bit tricky to work with, and has some issues), but hopefully we can make it better.


  4. Macmies says:

    Trying to compare this to Cinematica. Which one is better.

    • Rob Griffiths says:

      Given both are free to download and try, I suggest you compare them head-to-head and pick the one you prefer. It doesn’t seem that Cinematica integrates iTunes and iPhoto, and lacks a web search/download component. It does offer some things we’re hoping to get to with future updates (a more-detailed info panel, for one). Their demo mode also seems somewhat limited, sticking ‘unlicensed’ over the UI from day one, and (at least here) limiting the number of videos I was able to import. Usher will run as a fully functional non-restricted app for two weeks, so you can get the full experience before making your buying decision. (And we offer a 60-day money back guarantee, just in case you try it and don’t like it.)


  5. Ben says:

    Glad to see Usher is out – been checking the website for months now. A feature question: any plans for upload functionality? That’s one appeal of Clipstart – easy upload to Youtube or Vimeo.


    • Rob Griffiths says:

      Thanks for the request; we’ll see if we can’t figure it out. (We’ve already got a request in the system to allow logins to those sites, which is obviously a prerequisite to uploading.)


  6. JDBrown says:

    This is fantastic! I’ve been searching for a program like this for quite some time. I’ve imported 1,874 files into my library as of this post and all seems to be running good. It’s fast and has been able to play all of the movies that I own.