When you go to download video from your GoPro’s memory card, you might have noticed that there are some other files on there in addition to the MP4 video file. They have the same filename but a different extension.
The ones you’ll see on the current GoPro are LRV and THM files. Both of them are files used by GoPro’s mobile apps, GoPro and Quik.
So do you need to keep those files too? And are they important? Here’s an explanation and what they are and why they’re there.
First, the short version, and then the more detailed explanation.
Note: GoPro uses the MP4 file extension for both H.264-encoded video and H.265 HEVC-encoded video.
What are GoPro LRV & THM Files For?
LRV files are low-resolution video files used by GoPro cameras and apps as video previews.
THM files are JPG thumbnails used by GoPros as photo previews.
Both are used by the GoPro mobile apps. You can safely delete both filetypes—they’ll be regenerated from the original MP4 or image file if needed.
What is a THM File on GoPro?
The file extension .THM stands for Thumbnail.
It’s a small image file that’s 160 by 120 pixels. It’s what you see in the GoPro app as the thumbnails to visually represent each video file.
Having these files already generated makes display quicker and more responsive. It means that the camera’s processor doesn’t have to regenerate them each time from the original image.
What is an LRV File on GoPro?
The file extension .LRV stands for Low-Resolution Video.
These are what you actually see through the GoPro app when you play back the video.
The reason these are used rather than the original MP4 videos comes down to filesize. The high-resolution video files that the GoPro shoots create very large files. For instance, 1 minute of 4K30 with Protune or High Bitrate enabled generates a file about 450MB in size. Trying to stream that over wifi to your phone app not only strains the speed of the wifi connection, but it also consumes a lot of CPU processing power and therefore eats into the battery life of both your camera and phone. The LRV version is much lower resolution and much lower bitrate. The LRV version of the same video comes to around 20MB. That’s much easier to work with.
These LRV files, then, correspond directly to what’s in the MP4 files but at a much lower resolution and file size. These are what the GoPro app is referring to when it gives that blue warning at the top that it’s playing back a low-resolution version of the video.
If you’re familiar with working with something like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere, these LRV files are proxy files similar to the ones you can create in both those editing apps. They offer a lighter-weight version of the video that you can use for editing and viewing, and any changes your make can be transposed across to the master video file (MP4) later on.
If you want to take a look at exactly what the LRV file looks like, most apps can’t play that file extension directly. But just change the file extension from LRV to MP4, and it’ll play back like a normal video file.
Do I Need to Save LRV and THM Files?
Not really. The MP4 files are the important ones.
The LRV and THM are used as temporary utility files and contain no useful information beyond the original MP4. So if you have the MP4 files, you’re all set. The others are only used by the GoPro mobile app.
What Happens if I Delete the GoPro LRV and THM Files?
If you’re not using the GoPro app, nothing. Just use the MP4 files for playback or editing in your video editing software.
If you are using the GoPro mobile app, you can try playing back one of the MP4 videos directly. You’ll get a warning that playing back video of that resolution isn’t supported and an offered the option of generating a new proxy version.
These new proxy versions generated by the app aren’t saved on the memory card—they’re saved in the phone’s storage.
GoPro LRV & THM FAQs
What are LRV, THM, and WAV files on a GoPro?
LRV (Low-Resolution Video) files are smaller, compressed versions of your main GoPro video files. THM (Thumbnail) files are small JPEG images that represent a snapshot of your video file. WAV files are audio files that are sometimes created by GoPro cameras when recording audio separately from the video.
Why does my GoPro create LRV, THM, and WAV files?
GoPro creates these additional files to improve compatibility, performance, and ease of use across different devices and applications. LRV files allow for faster video playback and editing on devices with limited computing power, like smartphones or tablets. THM files provide a quick visual reference for your videos in file browsers and editing software. WAV files are created when the GoPro camera records high-quality audio separately from the video.
Can I delete LRV and THM files from my GoPro? Is it safe to do so?
Yes, you can safely delete LRV and THM files from your GoPro or SD card. These files are additional files created by the camera, and removing them will not affect the primary HD video file (usually in MPEG-4 format). Just make sure to backup or transfer the important video and audio files before deleting any files.
What is the difference between MP4 and LRV files? How do I convert LRV to MP4?
MP4 files are the main high-resolution video files recorded by GoPro cameras, whereas LRV files are low-resolution, compressed versions of the same video. To convert an LRV file to MP4, you can use video converters, such as VLC Media Player, Quicktime Player, or Windows Media Player. However, keep in mind that converting LRV files to MP4 will result in lower quality videos compared to the original HD files.
What is the use of LRV and THM files on GoPro, and can I use them on other devices or software?
LRV and THM files are primarily used by GoPro software like the GoPro Quik App and other compatible editing applications. LRV files can be used for faster video playback and editing on devices with limited computing power, such as smartphones, tablets, or older computers. THM files serve as thumbnail images in file browsers and video editing software, making it easier to identify videos quickly. Although these files are specific to GoPro, some other software or devices (like Sony and Canon digital cameras) may use similar files for similar purposes.
Do GoPro LRV, THM, and WAV files work on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and other platforms?
Yes, these files are compatible with various platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. You can use popular media players, image viewers, and audio players to open and view these files on your preferred platform. However, you may need to install additional codecs or software to ensure compatibility with certain applications or devices.
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