Tip #029: Which Files Should Be Copied From a Camera Card?

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #029: Which Files Should Be Copied From a Camera Card?

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

“Pick-and-Choose” is the wrong option for best results.

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All of them.

Select the entire contents of the card, even the folders and files that you don’t recognize, and copy the entire contents of the card into its own folder on your hard disk.

One folder per camera card. Always.

Why? Because, depending upon the codec, different parts of your media are stored in different folders on the card; especially metadata. Copying everything from the card into its own folder on your local storage means that whichever NLE you use for editing is able to assemble all the pieces and track all your data without any problems.

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5 replies
  1. Bill Rabkin
    Bill Rabkin says:

    I have a different approach, Larry. I’ve always copied only the recorded clips from my SDHC cards to a camera-specific sub-folder in a job-specific media folder on an external hard drive. Depending on the cameras used, these clips may be .MOV files, or they may be multiple clips in a single AVCHD file. For example, I might create this folder structure on my external hard drive:
    1. [Root-level folder] MEDIA
    2. [First-level sub-folder] TBA 2019-10-20 John Smith
    3. [Second-level sub-folder] Left
    4. [Clips within “Left”] 235G3530_01.MOV, 235G3530_02.MOV, …, 235G3530_06.MOV
    5. [Second-level sub-folder] Wide
    6. [File within “Wide”] AVCHD
    Line 1: I have other root-level folders such as LIBRARIES, MOVIES, and DVD PROJECTS. (I still use iDVD.)
    Line 2 is the job identifier: TBA is the Client ID, 2019-10-20 is the lecture date, John Smith is the talent (lecturer)
    Lines 3 and 4 are for the camera shooting from the left side of the auditorium
    Lines 5 and 6 are for the camera shooting from the center rear of the auditorium
    Other second-level sub-folders might be named Right, CU, etc., depending on the venue and camera locations. Finally, at this level I create a folder named Audio for an independent audio recording of the lecture.

    After I’ve copied all of my camera clips to the appropriate sub-folders, I create a new FCPX Library named “TBA 2019-10-20 John Smith” for this job and import the sub-folders that contain the clips. In the Import window, I indicate that FCPX should create keywords from folder names. It does this for the imported .MOV files, but not for the clips (named Clip #1, Clip #2, etc.) from the AVCHD file. (Is this a bug?)

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      Thanks for the details.

      AVCHD isn’t a bug, per se. But, AVCHD movies are stored in multiple folders, where metadata is stored separately from the video clips. Especially for AVCHD, I recommend copying the entire camera card, not just the video files for exactly this reason.


    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      This is a good option, though, truthfully, Apple has not yet convinced me of the value of a camera archive. However, camera archives make sure that all media is copied from the camera card.



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