iPhoto isn’t a great video manager, and iTunes has become the Microsoft Office of media and i-device management. Many Tricks, the shop behind apps like Leech and Butler, has revamped and reintroduced its video manager and player utility as Usher, a “personal movie assistant.”
Usher is essentially an iLife-like app focused specifically on organizing your video collection, even if it’s spread across hard drives, iTunes, and iPhoto. You can create playlists and smart playlists, add rich metadata like cast members and director, and even perform basic editing operations to quickly trim videos without opening another app.
If you collect videos often while browsing, Usher plays quite well with most services and your browsers. Searching and downloading from YouTube and Vimeo are built into Usher, and an installable browser bookmarklet lets you snag them from many other popular outlets. The utility can leave the videos in their native formats or be set to auto-convert them to formats compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
One of Usher’s advantages for power users is a lot of support for customization. You can pick a default location for new media; opt to leave media on external drives right where Usher finds it; pull metadata from Amazon; alter the controls of the player window; auto-play movies when mousing over thumbnails; rotate movies; and pick from a variety of view modes like List and Coverflow, among other capabilities.
A two-week free trial of Usher is available, and it’s a Universal Binary that requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or later. A license costs $35, and registered owners of yFlicks, Usher’s predecessor, can upgrade for $15. If you purchased yFlicks after March 1, 2009 (within the last 18 months ago), the upgrade is free.
Disclaimer: Rob Griffiths, a former staffer who contributes to Macworld from time to time, is a partner at Many Tricks.