We can use ID3 tagging to add metadata to music files.

Are there any similar tagging formats (metadata containers) for video files (e.g. flv, mpg, avi, wmv, etc)?

  • avi (AVI) – yes, as RIFF "INFO" chunk and/or XMP
  • flv (Flash Video) – only in F4V (Flash Video v4)
  • mkv (Matroska) – yes
  • mp4 (MP4) – yes
  • mpg/mpeg (MPEG-1) – don't know
  • ogg/ogv/ogm (Ogg) – no built-in support, several unofficial formats exist
    • audio files use the Vorbis codec metadata
  • wma/wmv (ASF) – yes
  • Thanks grawity for listing down those format and if tagging can be used. Kind of sad to know that each video format have their own tagging mechanisms. – Wilson Tan Sep 14 '11 at 1:30
  • @Wilson: I listed containers, not video formats. For example, a raw MPEG-4 video stream can be inside AVI, Matroska, MP4, or FLV containers, but it doesn't have any tags by itself. – user1686 Sep 14 '11 at 10:07
  • ok I hope that I got your point - what you mean is that you listed the containers (e.g. avi, flv, mkv, mp4) and not the raw video format (e.g. MPEG-4, MPEG-2, H.263) - do correct me if I still misunderstand your point. So, I can say that some of the containers do support tagging (e.g. mkv, mp4) while some not, right? – Wilson Tan Sep 16 '11 at 2:11
  • @Wilson: Correct. – user1686 Sep 16 '11 at 13:19

Oh, there are tagging facilities for videos, there's just not one single format for all video containers. Most containers roll their own solution, such as FLV and MKV.

Still, there's the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP). Here's Adobe's official developer site. It's a standard developed by Adobe defined to store Metadata for media such as images and videos. The files are mostly XML, as XMP uses RDF for data representation.

Anyway, you can use XMP for the following files:

  • MP4 – the MPEG4 Part 10 video container
  • AVI – the Audio-Video-Interleave format by Microsoft
  • any other file, by creating a separate .xmp file along the actual data.

You can use various tools to read and write this data, Wikipedia lists a few.

  • I like the idea 'Extensible Metadata Platform' format. Actually, is there any technology like this - A compression file that keep a video file (any format) and a XML file (that allows all sort of tagging) inside it. A video player will then play the compression file and allow user to edit the tagging description. I do not know if there is such technology or software out there but if there is, please share with the community. – Wilson Tan Sep 14 '11 at 1:35
  • None that I know of, unfortunately. Since AVIs are quite common, and MP4 can be used for h.264-compressed video (which is today's standard), I'd say most use cases are already covered. Unfortunately, MP4 isn't used as much (people rather use MKV for this). – slhck Sep 14 '11 at 7:11

ID3 formatted data may be populated into Program Streams of MPEG-2 as defined by Apple (http://www.smpte-ra.org/mpegreg/ID3.html).

These data are surfaced to iOS environments during video playback at runtime via timedMetadata notifications as well as in other environments that support surfacing this metadata.

"The MPEG-2 Program stream has provisions for non-standard data (e.g. AC-3 audio or subtitles) in the form of so-called private streams.[11] "

See here some info: Wikipedia: MPEG_program_stream

and here:



FFmpeg.org maintains this list of metadata tags per video container format that can be written back to the file using ffmpeg: http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=FFmpeg_Metadata

The features for MP4/M4V and MOV are very much centered around iTunes compatibility. In general, most video containers have a quite fixed metadata structure.

Not surprisingly, MKV (Matroska) is the most agnostic container in terms of metadata support. The EU-supported PREFORMA project is currently standardizing the MKV container format for professional use in e.g. film archives.


I don't think that it is possible to globally tag multiple video types. The only video tagging I know of is about AVI tags. Long long time ago, there was a program called abcAVI Tag Editor.

abcAVI Tag Editor allows you to get information on movie from Internet Movie Database or type it by yourself and save that info inside AVI file. Supports RIFF INFO tags, MovieID tags, IDivX tags. Allows editing more than 40 tags, not only "Title", "Subject" and "Copyright". Support of RIFF INFO tags ensures backward compatibility with standard Windows players like Windows Media Player.

It's old but still works fine with Windows 7 in XP compatibility mode.

  • The program abcAVI Tag editor is a freeware but based on the description, it can only deal with tagging for AVI file. This pose a problem as our end-user may post any video format files and we will be busy converting them to AVI. – Wilson Tan Sep 14 '11 at 1:32

Apart from abcAVI, there is also the program MetadataTouch, which support both RIFF INFO tags and XMP for AVI files, as well as XMP support for MP4 and F4V files.

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