Lightroom Classic: Sorting is timezone unaware, UTC for videos, local time for photos

  • 6
  • Problem
  • Updated 6 months ago
  • (Edited)
Lightroom Classic CC is sorting the mp4 videos from my Samsung S8 by UTC and the photos by local time, so videos are not in the right order.

Likewise, if I exchange photos with a friend from a neighboring timezone, they are sorted by each one's local time, so not chronologically, as one might expect.

EXIF v2.31 has introduced timezone offset fields, and XMP is a timezone aware format, nonetheless, but Adobe acts as if timezones would not exist and ignores this field. This is annoying when trying to make chronological slide shows and completely not understandable that 20 years of digital photography has not come up with a simple solution to this mess (Adobe being a major power in this field).

The CreateDate field in the mp4 is, according to quicktime regulations, to be filled with UTC time. Often, this is not done, as the camera might not be timezone aware. But this is the way at least my Samsung phone does it (and most timezone aware devices), but Lightroom takes this field always as the timezone unaware CreateDate/Time.

Please work on this, Adobe, it's seriously not rocket science!
  1. interpret the EXIF DateTimeOriginal, if no XMP CreateDateTime, EXIF Offsettime or GPS DateTimeStamp is available, as local time and add the same timezone as the computer.
  2. for mp4 movies, interpret the CreateDate field as UTC for smartphones (this info is available in metadata), or whenever GPS fields are written.
  3. always save and show local time, if an offset is available, also show it
  4. sort by UTC time
Photo of Axel Hackbarth

Axel Hackbarth

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  • annoyed

Posted 2 years ago

  • 6
Photo of Jaroslav


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I can not say why is that, I did not make such a research, but I am also having pictures and videos time shifted in albums. Photos are UTC+2 (CEST), videos in UTC.
Photo of Axel Hackbarth

Axel Hackbarth

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It is possible to do timezone adjustments within Lightroom for videos. But video metadata can't be loaded or written to file (SAD!), so nothing will change outside of the Lightroom catalog. This is just a temporary fix, far away from being a solution.
Photo of Kath


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Wouldn't it be great if LR could create standard THM sidecar files?  Then it could write the metadata (and thumbnail), and make this available to thirdparty apps.
Photo of Stephen Shankland

Stephen Shankland

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My Google Pixel 1, 2, 3, and 4 videos are sorted by UTC time as well. Not clear if this is a Pixel limitation or an Adobe shortcoming in handling the metadata.
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Smit K, Employee

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Hi, Pixel records in .mp4 format without any sidecar files. .mp4 does not have any timezone information in it's capture time and thus a sidecar, mostly .thm is used in this case by cameras to store timezone info.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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To build on Smit's reply:

The industry has created a real mess with the Quick Time standard. The standard provides for capture date to be recorded in UTC, with no place to store time zone. Traditionally, however, most cameras stored local time (the time set in the camera), not UTC, because they didn't have any concept of time zone.  But cameras with access to GPS or the Internet tend to obey the standard and store UTC, and at least some of these cameras store the time zone in a non-standard location.

So LR is faced with many cameras storing local time and some (very popular) cameras storing UTC.   By default, LR treats the time as local time (from the days when nearly all cameras stored local time).

For the iPhone, after many years of complaints, Adobe finally modified LR to read the time zone that iOS stores in a non-standard location. Employee Simon Chen indicated that Adobe considers such non-standard metadata to be "proprietary" and must obtain permission from the camera manufacturer before accessing it. I recall employees indicating on this forum a year or two ago that they may take a similar approach for other manufacturers, but I can't find those topics.

So I recommend you post a separate feature request requesting that LR handle Google Pixel videos the same way as the iPhone, reading the time zone from wherever Google stores it.  If you upload a sample video to Dropbox or similar and include the sharing link, then we can find out where it stores the time zone.