Metadata for Video Captures


Today’s Question: When I take videos with my Sony A7 and A7III, the side car files show up separately after downloading. They can be opened with Text Edit and I can at least see when the video was shot, but the video files themselves have no file information. This does not happen in my still pictures, where the file information is integral with the image. Is there a way to avoid that the issue of separate side car files so the metadata is incorporated into the video files?

Tim’s Quick Answer: For video files you will often find that very little metadata is available with the video itself and is instead stored in a separate “sidecar” file that would need to be browsed separately or with special software.

More Detail: While there are a variety of metadata standards established for still photos, the metadata situation for video captures is trickier. Most metadata is not embedded with the video, and in fact when applying metadata updates to videos (such as in Lightroom Classic) the updates can’t be saved to the actual video files in the same way that is possible with many still image formats.

Some cameras will include additional sidecar files with video captures. Those files are generally standard text files that can be opened with a text editor to review metadata. In addition, some camera manufacturers support the browsing of this metadata for videos with their own proprietary software

In the case of Sony video captures, for example, you can use the Sony Catalyst Browse software to review the metadata more easily than by opening the individual sidecar files. You can find the Catalyst Browse software on the Sony website here:

When it comes to video captures metadata is a particular challenge, but unfortunately there has been more emphasis put on metadata for still images than has been done for video captures. This can obviously make it somewhat difficult to manage videos alongside still photos. Note, however, that while metadata updates for videos can be tricky, in the context of catalog-based software such as Lightroom Classic you can at least manage metadata for videos within the catalog even though the updates aren’t reflected in the actual video files on your hard drive.