Metadata for Video


Today’s Question: Nowhere in Photoshop, Bridge, nor Lightroom can I find my camera settings data for video that I shoot ( e.g. ISO, aperture, shutter speed). Is there something I need to change in camera to have this data show up the way it does for still shots? Or does the camera not record this data when shooting video?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Video captures don’t generally contain the same metadata information you’re accustomed to having for your still captures. But for Canon digital SLRs (and some other cameras) it is possible to view your capture settings in metadata.

More Detail: With most (or perhaps all) Canon digital SLR cameras, the capture metadata is saved in a THM (thumbnail) file that shares the same base filename as the video file that is created (for example, a file with an extension of MOV). However, even that THM file requires an “extra” step for you to be able to view the capture metadata. There are actually two approaches you could take.

The first is to use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software to browse your video captures. As you might expect, since this software is from Canon, you can view the metadata captured by Canon digital SLRs using Digital Photo Professional.

The other approach is to simply change the filename extension for the THM file to JPG, so that other software tools (such as Adobe Bridge, for example) will be able to find the metadata. Yes, the THM file is really just a JPEG image with a different filename extension. So if you change the filename extension to JPG, you can then browse that JPEG image with any software that allows you to view metadata for images. Among that metadata, you’ll find all of the capture settings you are accustomed to seeing for your still images.

I’m not familiar with the options that might be available for other cameras, but in general you’ll find that there is much less support for metadata among video file formats. For example, Lightroom will not create an XMP sidecar file (nor write to the video directly) to add metadata to video clips the way it is able to for still images. The metadata for videos will only be retained in the Lightroom catalog.

So, in general, there isn’t as much flexibility when it comes to metadata for video files, at least compared to what we have become accustomed to for still captures. But, at least for video captured with a Canon digital SLR, that information can be found.