Are you wondering what are the extra files .LRV and .THM. in your GoPro’s SD card?

These file types might seem unfamiliar and raise questions, such as whether they are essential or if they can be safely deleted while keeping only the .mp4 files.

In this guide, you’ll discover GoPro file formats, specifically the .LRV and .THM files, which you may have encountered on your GoPro’s SD card.

Following that, we will consider the implications of deleting these files and provide you with practical advice on managing your GoPro’s SD card efficiently.


What Are GoPro LRV and THM Files 

So, the first question is, what are these files ? Let us understand that..

Whenever we are out there shooting, there are times we’ll want to playback the videos we just shot. While shooting on GoPro, along with the original video file in .MP4 format, the GoPro automatically creates two more files with the same file name but different extensions .THM and .LRV. Depending on the model of your GoPro, the software installed and the resolution in which you are filming, these files are stored on your camera. These two files are created by the camera and are used by the camera only.

gopro THM and LRV

LRV files

LRV stands for Low Resolution Video Files. They are used for viewing playback footage on the cam or the GoPro Quik. If we shoot a video in 4K and want to view it in the camera or a GoPro app, we can see the video in .lrv format. By generating these low resolution video files, the playback in-camera and in-app speeds up immensely. .LRV files are not created for all GoPro files though for example, they are NOT created if you shoot video in 4K or 2.7K or any mode with ProTune turned on. In simple words, we can say that, .LRV is the lower quality version of the .MP4 video that you shot.

LRV, or Low Resolution Video files, serve as a more efficient way to preview your GoPro footage without having to load the full-resolution .MP4 files. These smaller, lower quality video files enable quick and smooth playback on your camera’s screen and within the GoPro Quik, ensuring a seamless user experience.

When you shoot a video with your GoPro, the camera automatically generates an .LRV file alongside the original .MP4 file, as long as the video is not recorded in 4K, 2.7K, or with ProTune enabled. The .LRV files are generated at a lower resolution, typically 480p or 720p, which reduces the amount of processing power and bandwidth required to play them back on your device.

The primary purpose of .LRV files is to optimize the playback experience on devices with limited processing power, such as smartphones or the built-in screen on your GoPro. By using .LRV files for playback, you can quickly review your footage without any lag or stuttering that might occur when trying to play the full-resolution .MP4 files.

lrv file


THM files

THM stands for Thumbnail. It is a miniature version of the original picture. A small image file which you see in the camera or the GoPro app as the thumbnails to visually represent each video file. While you are browsing through your camera to select a video to view, these tiny images which act as the identity of your video show up on the screen.

Typically, .THM files are JPEG images with a resolution of 160×120 or 320×240 pixels, depending on the camera model and settings. These small image files serve as a quick visual reference when you’re browsing through your video files, both on your camera’s screen and within the GoPro Quik. By displaying a representative image of each video, .THM files make it easier for you to identify and select specific footage without having to play back each video individually.

The primary purpose of .THM files is to enhance the user experience when managing and organizing your GoPro footage. Their small file size ensures that they do not take up significant storage space on your SD card, while still providing you with a convenient and efficient way to browse your video files.

thm file


MP4 Files

.mp4 is the original file format in which your video is shot on the GoPro. It is the high quality video file that you can open up, play, share or edit in your editing software. In short, we can say, .MP4 files are the protagonist of our play.

The .MP4 file format, also known as MPEG-4 Part 14, is a popular multimedia container format used to store digital video and audio streams, as well as other data such as subtitles and still images. Developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), it is one of the most widely used and accepted video formats across various platforms and devices, including GoPro cameras.

As the main video file format for GoPro cameras, .MP4 files are the high-quality video recordings that you can view, edit, and share with others. These files retain the original resolution and frame rate at which the video was captured, ensuring that your footage remains crisp and vibrant. Due to their compatibility with a wide range of media players and editing software, .MP4 files are the primary choice for most users when working with video content.

The .MP4 file format’s versatility and compatibility make it an ideal choice for GoPro and other action cameras. With high-quality video compression and efficient storage capabilities, .MP4 files deliver excellent video quality while maintaining manageable file sizes. This balance allows you to capture stunning visuals without quickly filling up your SD card, enabling you to make the most of your GoPro adventures.

mp4 file


Why Are .LRV files Required on GoPro ?

The LRV files or Low Resolution Files are automatically created by the GoPro in almost all GoPro models (including Hero 4,5,6,7,8 at some resolutions, for all videos of Hero3 Black, Hero3+ Black and Silver and Hero2, Hero3 White and Silver will create LRV files if they have new firmware version updated).

The .LRV files can be used to Copy, Playback, and Share the files in the GoPro app. These files take up almost 5% of the storage space as the original .MP4 files. They not only speed up the playback process and save storage space, but also increase the computing power required to edit a video compared to the HD file. The WiFi or the data required is less to playback these videos and hence streaming is without buffering. The .LRV files are made at 240p, 29,97 frames per second regardless of the camera settings.

To play an LRV file, simply rename the file to .MP4 and open it with any application that can open .MPEG4 video files. Make sure to not save your LRV video with the same name as MP4 video else it might just overwrite your actual HD video. LRV files are :

  • Easy to send over Email.
  • Require less computing power while editing.
  • Require less storage space.
  • Consume less data.
  • Speed up the video playback dramatically.

The LRV and THM are used as temporary utility files and contain no useful information beyond the original MP4. You may or may not keep them. They are mainly used for the GoPro Quik.

gopro quik logo


What Happens If You Delete LRV and THM files?

As you must have got an idea from the above sections that the LRV and THM files are the supporting characters with MP4 file being the lead. If you have an MP4 file with you, that is all you’ll need. Once, you decide to transfer your SD card contents to your computer for editing, it is not necessary to transfer these supporting files as well. You can delete them.

.LRV and .THM files are only used by the GoPro Quik and say, if you delete them and try to playback a .MP4 video, then the GoPro Quik will itself create a proxy version for the video, if required. The new proxy versions are not saved on the SD card but the phone storage. So, You may or may not keep these files. It is entirely your choice.

Also, make sure while deleting the .lrv and .thm files that you separate the file types and not delete the actual .MP4 file along. The two extra files hardly take up any storage space. But, if you need a bit of extra room, you can think about clearing these up without any effect on your original .MP4 file.

delete thm file


How Do I Open a THM File On My GoPro?

To view a THM file on your GoPro, you don’t need to open the THM file directly. Instead, the camera automatically displays the thumbnail image associated with each video file when browsing through your footage. Here’s how you can view thumbnails (THM files) on your GoPro:

  1. Turn on your GoPro camera.
  2. Navigate to the playback mode by pressing the Mode button (usually located on the side or front of the camera) until you reach the playback icon, which typically looks like a “Play” symbol.
  3. Once in playback mode, use the navigation buttons to scroll through your video files. As you browse, you’ll see thumbnail images (generated from the THM files) representing each video on your camera’s screen.
  4. To view a specific video, simply select its thumbnail and press the shutter button (usually located on top of the camera) to start playback.

Remember that the THM files are only used for display purposes on your GoPro camera or within the GoPro Quik. If you wish to view or edit the thumbnail images themselves, you can access the THM files directly by connecting your GoPro or its SD card to your computer. Once connected, navigate to the folder containing your GoPro footage, and you will find the THM files alongside the corresponding MP4 and LRV files. To open a THM file on your computer, simply double-click the file, and it will open with your default image viewer or photo editing software.


Final Words

Since I edit my videos on a computer with third party video editors (not GoPro’s) I always delete these files and I only keep .mp4, which is the video clip itself.

Now, with a fair knowledge about all the file formats that are generated by GoPro while shooting, I hope that you can now manage your storage space and editing time well for quicker results.



Thanks for reading!

I hope this guide helped you know everything regarding GoPro LRV and THM Files 🙂


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