Ever take a look at the files on your GoPro memory card and wonder what the LRV and THM files are for? There is a simple explanation, and this post will clear up the confusion for you!
What are LRV and THM Files? They show up on your GoPro's memory card… THM and LRV, along with your actual .MP4 GoPro clips. And you ask yourself, “What are LRV and THM files on my GoPro? Are they important? Can I delete LRV Files? What do I do with the thm file? Why are they even theeeeere?”
If you have shot any footage on your GoPro and then loaded your memory card onto your computer, and opened it up, you might be wondering what in the world these extra files are for?
I hear ya! This is “what the fudge month” here on my blog and YouTube channel. This month I'm answering GoPro questions and solving some of those mystical conundrums that often leave new GoPro owners feeling confused and frustrated! Be sure to hit play on the video above, or pop over to YouTube and watch it there.
How about a cheat sheet? You love those, right? If you're a brand new GoPro owner, there are 3 common traps that I want to help you stay out of! Get all the deets right here:
Grab my Shot List Cheat Sheet
Perfect for GoPro Beginners... don't fall into these 3 common traps! Download and print this one-page cheat sheet, or save it to your phone or tablet for easy reference!
LRV and THM and MP4 Files
If we take a peek here at some files from my Hero5, you'll see we have like 3 files for every file name here – GOPR0154 (it looks like GOPRO154 but that second O is actually a zero).
We have 154.LRV, 154.MP4, and 154.THM.
Let's start with the most obvious file format on your memory card: the MP4.
What are MP4 Files?
That mp4 file is your actual video. That's the one you can open up and play, import to your video editing software to edit. That's the real video file – the star of the GoPro show. You probably already know this but I didn't want to leave out the most important player here!
So what are LRV and THM Files then??
Here's the deal those other weird files, the LRV and THM files.
LRV stands for Low Resolution Video and THM stands for Thumbnail.
These THM and LRV files are created by the camera itself, and also used by the camera itself.
The LRV file is what you are actually viewing when you play back your footage on the GoPro (using the touch screen) or in the Capture app. So if you shoot a 4k video, and you want to play it back on your GoPro to see you awesome shot, you're not actually viewing a 4K video on the teeny tiny screen. You're just previewing what you captured, and you're doing that with the lrv file.
You might be wondering if you need to keep the LRV files, and I'll answer that down below, but the answer is no. You don't need to keep your LRV files.
The THM files are the tiny little images that show up when you're browsing your clips, looking for one that you might want to preview.
So the lrv and thm files are a convenient way for you to preview your files quick and easy on these tiny screens, without having to stream high-res files. It makes total sense, right?
What can I do with LRV and THM files?
While these weird files do make sense and don't take up much storage space, they do lead to quite a bit of confusion when new GoPro owners transfer their clips to their hard drive. You have all these stupid little files that don't do anything and are essentially useless on your computer, right?
Right. Kinda. It is correct that you don't need them on your computer to watch or edit your videos, as they are used by the GoPro camera and Capture app itself.
However, I learned recently that you can use the LRV files as proxy files when you're editing. I've never tried this, and I'm new to using proxy files so this is something I will definitely be exploring in the future!
So usually when I pull my footage off my memory cards, I just sort this list by file type and grab just the .mp4s files. All the others can stay put and they'll get removed when you delete all your files are reformated your card.
Can I delete LRV and THM files?
Some GoPro users have expressed frustration that these extra files are taking up space on their memory card or their hard drive. They don't really take up that much extra space, but if you have them on your hard drive, just trash 'em and stop stressing about it. It's not a big deal!
I'm curious what you've been doing with your .lrv and .thm files… let me know inf the comments if you have a bunch on your hard drive because you just weren't sure what to do with them, or if you ignore them like I do and let 'em go.