Are you wondering what are the extra files .LRV and .THM. in your GoPro’s SD card, and whether you can delete them and keep only .mp4?

Read on to find out more…


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

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.

LRV files

LRV stands for Low Resolution Video Files. They are used for viewing playback footage on the cam or the GoPro App. 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.

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.

Once you know what these files are, the question is how useful can LRV files on GoPro be ? The next section answers this question..


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 App.

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 App and say, if you delete them and try to playback a .MP4 video, then the GoPro App 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.


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.


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