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I recently backed up pictures and videos from my Android mobile phone using GoodSync in order to keep the correct timestamps in Windows. However, I realised that a large amount of files didn't have the correct ones set to begin with (probably from a previous backup where I screwed up already).

In order to set the correct timestamps, I used exiftools to update the timestamps to the correct values. Afterwards, I synchroised all the files back to the phone.

For pictures this works very well (I set the tags FileCreateDate, FileModifyDate, CreateDate, ModifyDate as well as DateTimeOriginal to the proper values). When synching the files back to the phone, they show up in the correct order grouped by date.

For videos however, I can't get it to work. I tried setting the tags FileModifyDate, FileCreateDate, TrackCreateDate, TrackModifyDate, MediaCreateDate, MediaModifyDate, DateTimeOriginal, ModifyDate and CreateDate to the correct value, see the following example:

C:\Users\mautem>exiftool -s "C:\Users\mautem\Desktop\WhatsApp\Media\WhatsApp Video\Sent\VID-20171224-WA0000.mp4"

ExifToolVersion                 : 12.39
FileName                        : VID-20171224-WA0000.mp4
Directory                       : C:/Users/mautem/Desktop/WhatsApp/Media/WhatsApp Video/Sent
FileSize                        : 48 MiB
FileModifyDate                  : 2017:12:24 19:28:00+01:00
FileAccessDate                  : 2022:01:24 21:35:36+01:00
FileCreateDate                  : 2017:12:24 19:28:00+01:00
FilePermissions                 : -rw-rw-rw-
FileType                        : MP4
FileTypeExtension               : mp4
MIMEType                        : video/mp4
MajorBrand                      : MP4 v2 [ISO 14496-14]
MinorVersion                    : 0.0.0
CompatibleBrands                : mp41, isom
MovieHeaderVersion              : 0
TimeScale                       : 25000
Duration                        : 0:04:17
PreferredRate                   : 1
PreferredVolume                 : 100.00%
PreviewTime                     : 0 s
PreviewDuration                 : 0 s
PosterTime                      : 0 s
SelectionTime                   : 0 s
SelectionDuration               : 0 s
CurrentTime                     : 0 s
NextTrackID                     : 3
TrackHeaderVersion              : 0
TrackCreateDate                 : 2017:12:24 19:28:00
TrackModifyDate                 : 2017:12:24 19:28:00
TrackID                         : 1
TrackDuration                   : 0:04:17
TrackLayer                      : 0
TrackVolume                     : 0.00%
ImageWidth                      : 640
ImageHeight                     : 360
GraphicsMode                    : srcCopy
OpColor                         : 0 0 0
CompressorID                    : avc1
SourceImageWidth                : 640
SourceImageHeight               : 360
XResolution                     : 72
YResolution                     : 72
CompressorName                  : AVC Coding
BitDepth                        : 24
VideoFrameRate                  : 25
MatrixStructure                 : 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
MediaHeaderVersion              : 0
MediaCreateDate                 : 2017:12:24 19:28:00
MediaModifyDate                 : 2017:12:24 19:28:00
MediaTimeScale                  : 48000
MediaDuration                   : 0:04:17
MediaLanguageCode               : und
HandlerType                     : Audio Track
HandlerDescription              : SoundHandler
Balance                         : 0
AudioFormat                     : mp4a
AudioChannels                   : 2
AudioBitsPerSample              : 16
AudioSampleRate                 : 48000
XMPToolkit                      : Image::ExifTool 12.39
DateTimeOriginal                : 2017:12:24 19:28:00+01:00
CreateDate                      : 2017:12:24 19:28:00+01:00
ModifyDate                      : 2017:12:24 19:28:00+01:00
MediaDataSize                   : 50746618
MediaDataOffset                 : 85282
ImageSize                       : 640x360
Megapixels                      : 0.230
AvgBitrate                      : 1.58 Mbps
Rotation                        : 0

However, after synching this video back to the phone, it shows up under today's date (in fact, they all show up under the current date if I try with multiple videos). So it seems as if one of the tags (or one I didn't specify so far) is set to the current date and time upon synchronisation/creation of the file on the mobile device.

Is there a way to circumvent this behaviour? Are there (further) tags (that I'm not aware of) than the ones I set? Or is there an entirely different explanation for this behaviour? Other approaches to solving the problem are also welcome, though I actually do like the idea with synching over an FTP server on the phone :)

I'm aware that this topic is (mostly) about videos and also spreads out to other fields like networking and mobile, but I have to chose one StackExchange and I figured here would be the best fit.

Thanks for the help.

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  • Are you saying that after syncing to your phone, all of the tags TrackCreateDate, TrackModifyDate, MediaCreateDate, MediaModifyDate, DateTimeOriginal, ModifyDate and CreateDate were incorrect?
    – scottbb
    Jan 25 at 0:43
  • Nope, I'm not saying that yet. I moved the files for somebody else, so I can't check right now (I'll be able to do that approximately around the 19th of February and can report back then). Jan 25 at 12:26
  • 1
    Since your issue is specifically about video, your question is probably a better fit at Video SE . Here at Photo SE, we deal with still imaging.
    – Michael C
    Jan 25 at 18:09

1 Answer 1

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If they all show up as the time that you synced the files, then the odds are that the file system tags, FileModifyDate and FileCreateDate are what the phone is reading. And it appear that sync isn't transferring these time stamps. You'll need to find something that will edit these on the phone.

One minor point, you are not setting the video CreateDate, ModifyDate, or the track time stamps correctly. According to the spec, these are supposed to be set to UTC. When you write those tags, you want to add the -api QuickTimeUTC option so exiftool will adjust the times when writing based upon your computer's set time zone. The DateTimeOriginal tag is rarely used in video but it is supposed to be set to local time instead of UTC, so you don't need to change how you write it.

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  • I only partly agree: Both images and videos are synchronised using the exact same tools. For pictures, the file system tags are being transferred (and not modified by the phone). So why would that not work with videos? I don't see how the ftp protocol would treat them differently. Thank your regarding the UTC format missing. I was wondering why they all had a time offset :D Jan 25 at 12:28

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