Lightroom: MP4 Creation Date always 66 years off

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  • Problem
  • Updated 7 months ago
  • Not a Problem
  • (Edited)
I have some video files (mp4) created with a Samsung Android phone. When I import into Lightroom on MacOS, the creation time is imported with a date exactly 66 years too early. That is, a real date of 2012 would appear as 1946.

This is almost certainly a bug in translating the MP4 epoch of Jan 1, 1904 to the Mac (unix) epoch of Jan 1, 1970.

Here is a link to a short video.

http://vantcm.com/20120414_155709.mp4
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Ray Cathcart

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Posted 2 years ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Can you please confirm you're running the latest version of the desktop and iOS apps?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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The bug is in the phone application, not LR.  When you run Exiftool on the file, you get:
[ExifTool] Warning : [minor] Patched incorrect time zero for QuickTime date/time tag

A quick search yields this explanation:  http://u88.n24.queensu.ca/exiftool/forum/index.php/topic,6884.msg34566.html#msg34566. The phone application is using the 1970 epoch rather than 1904 as required by the standard.  You should file a bug report with Samsung.

(Edited)
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Ray Cathcart

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Interesting. Thank you. I guess both ffprobe and exiftool just automatically adjust the creation date if it is pre-1970. I don't think we want Lightroom to do that, even though I find it hard to believe that anyone has MP4s from the 1960s :) Someone might have recorded MP4s from older sources and stored the original date in the creation date field, and doing smart tricks would mess them up.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Agreed.  More generally, when consuming applications implement hacks to accommodate non-conforming producers, it never ends well for the users  -- the chaos just gets worse.
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4wk_

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Incorrect year-only Capture Date for videos (1946).

Hello there,

I'm pretty new to Lightroom Classic, but I migh have a problem about the "Capture Date" of some of my videos.
With my good old HTC Sensation smartphone, I took in 2012 some photos and videos of the XX's concert. And I have really strange metadata in Lightroom, for 2 media shot at the same date.

I've put 2 screenshots to be as clear as I could be.

1 - The video

----

2 - The photo

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As you can see, for the video we have:
Windows - Date taken:  
Windows - Date modified: 2012-09-06 22:22
Lr - Thumbnail & Capture Date: 1946-09-06 19:22:01


For the photo, we have:
Windows - Date taken:           2012-09-06 21:20
Windows - Date modified: 2012-09-06 22:20
Lr - Thumbnail & Capture Date: 2012-09-06 21:20:43

Here are my questions:
  1. About the photo: I suppose that the 1 hour difference between "Date modified" and others are something to do with the Timezone, am I correct?
  2. About the video: Why lightroom put the 1946 for the year of the "Capture date"? I mean the month, and the day are correct, why put 1946?
  3. About the video: The difference between the time seems a bit too big to have to do something with the Timezone. Why this 3 hours gap?

Thank you so much for your time,
Cheers.
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4wk_

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Incorrect year-only Capture Date for videos (1946) (#2).

Thank you for this investigation John.

For the record, I don't have 1 video with this problem, but 11, all recorded with the old HTC Sensation but not at the same date. All of them have the year 1946, but not the same day/month.

1. I'm pretty sure windows have nothing to do with it. It might be a smartphone bug (but if it was, why the information of windows is correct?), or a misinterpretation of Lightroom. Here are the uploads you asked for:
- Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7zfbygyx1hy3pvg/VIDEO0002.mp4?dl=0
- Photo: https://www.dropbox.com/s/c723b9sjibs9qg9/IMAG0105.jpg?dl=0

2. I lived in Paris. My computer have "Set time automatically" at "On" but "Set time zone automatically" at "Off", and the Time zone is "UTC +01:00 Brussels, Madrid, Paris"

3. The concert was in Paris, so same timezone ;)

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Lightroom Classic: Incorrect year-only Capture Date for videos (1946).
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Re VIDEO0002.mp4: The phone video app didn't follow the QuickTime / MP4 standard and wrote the time in the wrong format (seconds since 1970 instead of seconds since 1904).  The authoritative ExifTool utility shows this warning:
$ exiftool -a -G VIDEO0002.mp4 
[ExifTool] Warning : [minor] Patched incorrect time zero for QuickTime date/time tag
The easiest way to work around this is to use LR's Metadata > Edit Capture Time to change the year.  You can select all 11 videos and do them in batch.

Since the phone is so "old", there's no point in submitting a bug report to the manufacturer.  (Not that they'd pay much attention to bug reports -- who does these days?)
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4wk_

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Nice job mate, question 2 solved. Ok, I will fix those vids, and I ll continue to check if some more recent video are wrong too (with newer smartphone).
Could you give me a formula to calculate the year I have to put in the Capture Time? Because for this video I can put 2012 but for the other I don't have a picture to tell me the year :/

Could you please confirm/answer question 1 and 3 for my general knowledge? ;)
(Edited)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Re the photo capture time versus the video capture time:

ExifTool shows the video has a QuickTime:CreateDate time of 19:22:
[QuickTime] Create Date: 2012:09:06 19:22:01
and the photo has an EXIF:DateTimeOriginal time of 21:20:
[EXIF] Date/Time Original: 2012:09:06 21:20:33
This makes sense.  QuickTime:CreateDate is supposed to be recorded in UTC (which most smartphones do, but many cameras do not), and EXIF:DateTimeOriginal is supposed to be recorded local time.  Paris local time is UTC+1 in the winter and UTC+2 in the summer (through the last Sunday in October), and indeed the time recorded in the photo is 2 hours later than that recorded in the video.

I can't authoritatively explain a Windows Date Modified of 22:20 -- too many unknowns.  The date-modified field is set by Windows whenever any software modifies the file.  While the Windows NTFS file system stores date/times in UTC (and displays them in local time), I'm not sure how the Android file system in the phone stores date/times.  To further confuse things, the ancient PICT protocol that is often used to transfer photos and videos from devices to computers via USB cable seems to get time zones confused (or at least, many implementations of the protocol do).  It's entirely likely that somewhere in the path from the phone to your computer, so component garbled a time zone adjustment.

But in general, I wouldn't worry about file-system Date Modified and Date Created. They're too fragile, liable to get changed by random software apps, including many backup/restore utilities.  (This is as true on Mac as on Windows, to the chagrin of long-time Mac users.) 

The photo industry has solid standards for storing date/times in metadata inside photos, and I rely on those and applications like LR that I can trust (more or less). Video has standards (QuickTime/MP4), but they're badly written with respect to date/time, and the industry has layered lots of mess on top of the bad standard.
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4wk_

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Very usefull information. Thank you.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Could you give me a formula to calculate the year I have to put in the Capture Time? Because for this video I can put 2012 but for the other I don't have a picture to tell me the year :/"

All the photos will be off by 66 years (time 0 of 1970 instead of 1904).   So you could add 66 years to all of the dates.  But an easier way is to select all 11 photos and then most-select (click) the one you know for sure (1946). Then do Metadata > Edit Capture Time, change the year from 1946 to 2012, and click Change All.  The dates of all the other photos will be shifted by the same relative amount (66 years).  (When you're select photos, the Edit Capture TIme explains that shifting, but when you've selected videos, it doesn't for some reason.)
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4wk_

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Thank you again for those detailed answers. I've fixed 10 videos. And I have one last, which is different I guess:
31/12/1969 => and I can't do +66 years, because we are not at the year 2035 :D

This one is not a big deal for me, so I can even delete it; but are you interested in checking it? I can upload it as well.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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That's even stranger: 31/12/1969 00:00:00 is 24 hours before 1/1/1970, which is the start of the epoch that some software mistakenly uses instead of the correct 1/1/1904 00:00:00.   My guess is that this was originally a "0" -- that is, no actual date was written there.
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4wk_

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That is strange indeed! Thank you again ;)