Whenever you insert your GoPro memory card into your computer, you’ll see lots of different files, even if you shot just a few videos.
Along with the familiar .MP4 files, you’ll one of two other types of files that have the same name but a different file extension.
Those two files are .LRV and .THM files. So what are THM files and LRV files?
GoPro cameras automatically create these files when it saves the full-resolution video. They’re meant for previews and thumbnails(THM file – thumbnail).
In this post, we’ll go into a little more detail about LRV and THM files. You’ll be a GoPro file extension expert in no time!
What are .LRV and .THM files?
THM files are thumbnail files. As you probably guessed, THM is a truncated version of thumbnail.
LRV is an acrynoym for low resolution video files.
GoPro action cameras automatically create these two files so they can be used to display preview images and videos on the GoPro’s screen or using the GoPro mobile app.
This way, you don’t have to wait for the camera or phone to process the entire 1080p or 4K file to render a preview: the LRV and THM files take care of that for you.
Why does GoPro save a .LRV file?
LRV, as you saw above, is a low resolution video file. The primary reason for saving a second, smaller file is so that it can easily be previewed on your GoPro or your mobile phone.
If you shot a 4K video with max settings and end up with a nearly 2 GB file, you’d have to wait quite a while for all of that data to transfer to your phone and preview on the Quik app.
Not only that, the GoPro and phone’s processor will be overloaded with a lot of unnecessary processing.
The LRV file solves this problem by allowing the GoPro Quik app to pull the low resolution video file from the GoPro.
The low resolution video file can transfer very easily, and will play on your phone very quickly, too.
The LRV video file is just around 5% of the size of the MP4 video file.
How to play LRV files on the computer
You can play an LRV file on your Windows or Mac computer by simply modifying the file extensions.
Right click on the file, and rename it from .LRV to .MP4. Once that’s done, VLC Media Player should be able to recognize it and play it.
Most software available for PC and Mac won’t natively recognize the LRV format.
When you change the LRV file extension, remember to change the filename as well. Otherwise, your original video file and the converted LRV file will end up having the same filename and the old file will get overwritten!
Realistiycally, though, you won’t really need to use LRV files for anything practical. They can come in handy for quickly uploading to social media, but that’s about it.
What are .THM files?
THM files are thumbnail files. A THM file is not exclusive to GoPro. In fact, its an industry standard that you’ll find in most other cameras as well.
The GoPro will generate THM files to make a thumbnail image of your video. The small image file is used to show the thumbnail on the GoPro LCD screen or on your phone through the Quikr app.
Along with being a compressed image, the THM file also stores important metadata like the date and time of recording and the camera settings used to record.
THM files are quite small, as they only use up a few KB. Additionally, the resolution of the THM file image is very low. After all, it only needs to be displayed on a very small screen.
You can convert THM files to open in any programs that open JPG files by changing the file format of the THM file to .JPG. This works with Windows Photo Viewer and Apple Preview, as well as any photo editing software.
Is it OK to delete .THM and .LRV files on my GoPro?
THM files and LRV files are used by your GoPro and the Quikr app to play back previews and videos, so you should not delete them.
Without these files, you will not be able to quickly view the videos on your Quikr app.
However, if you plan on only viewing and editing the videos on your computer, you can get rid of the THM file and LRV file and load up the high-resolution MP4 into your favorite video editing software.
Is it possible to disable THM files and LRV files?
There is no way to disable the THM file and LRV file generation. It’s just a default setting built in to the GoPro – the files will be automatically created in the same folder as the MP4 file.
There’s really no need to delete them either, as THM files created by the GoPro and LRV field hardly take up any storage space on your memory card.
If you try to play a video on the Quik app without these file formats on your memory card, you’ll be prompted to generate new proxy files to enable playback.
When you choose to do so and play the video, then check the memory card, you’ll see the familiar THM file extension in the file explorer once more.
These files are only visible if you insert the SD card
Connecting the GoPro to your computer via USB will keep THM and LRV files hidden.
The only way to “find” these files is to remove the SD card from your GoPro camera and insert it into your computer.
Most people that use digital cameras rarely transfer photos via USB anyway – inserting the SD card is usually the preferred method.