September 27, 2014 at 9:43PM


A7s folder structure is awful! Can someone help?

I love everything about this little camera. I couldn't be more thrilled with it all except for one thing... the folder structure is awful. I've never dealt with MXF files before. Old school video guys might be laughing right now because they are use to these files but I entered the world of video through Canon DSLRs. My entire workflow is destroyed.

We use to rename all files according to location, interview subject, ect. I don't think that's possible with MXF files. Is it? Does anyone have a good organization workflow for these files? Is there anything I'm completely missing?


Totally agree. Any help would be appreciated.

September 28, 2014 at 5:44PM

Adam J. Minnick

Glad to see there's at least one other person.

Josh Paul

September 29, 2014 at 1:43PM

Could you expand on what exactly is confusing?

And what MXF files are you talking about? The a7s records to XAVC-S in a .MP4 container, or else to a more common H.264 file or AVCHD.

If you're recording to XAVC-S, the files are under PRIVATE > M4ROOT > CLIP. They are just .MP4 clips. You can rename them like any other .MP4. I generally do this through Prelude.

If you record to AVCHD, it's different—they are continued in the AVCHD file structure on the card.

If you shoot stills, they are under DCIM.

September 30, 2014 at 7:46AM

David S.

The PRIVATE > M4ROOT > CLIP files are only proxies for the XAVC-S

If you've been editing with those then you've been using proxy files. The actual files are buried in the contents of something in there and they are higher quality. They cannot be renamed in Prelude or Bridge or they will lose folder hierarchy and be corrupted. I read this in one of Sony's terrible PDFs.

I believe that countless people have actually been editing with and using proxies and never replacing the clips with the actual XAVC-S files.

I would LOVE to be wrong on this one because it would make my life easier but I'm super sure I'm not.

September 30, 2014 at 8:37AM

Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff

No, that's true for XAVC. XAVC-S files are .MP4. As far as I know XAVC-S does not produce proxies of any kind.

Read page 9.

And for proof, go to your file structure. Look at the file size of the card. Then look at the file size of the CLIP folder.

David S.

September 30, 2014 at 8:45AM

Keep in mind that XAVC-s is a consumer-oriented codec, not considered by Sony to be a professional one. It's designed to be limited to 4:2:0, 8-bit. So it wouldn't make any sense at all for an XAVC-s camera to produce proxies.

David S.

September 30, 2014 at 8:53AM, Edited September 30, 8:53AM

Dang! Thanks David!

We checked it out. So just to clarify, XAVC-s is not as high quality as XAVC but it has a less awful file situation. The files in the CLIP folder are NOT proxies. I'm great with that. And eventually, we'll do the ProRes thing with the Atomos device.

Josh Paul

September 30, 2014 at 9:42AM

So glad you are wrong about this, but I understand why it's confusing. Kind of like how people can get different versions of ProRes mixed up. I did have a minor panic attack after reading your comment because I thought, "Good Lord, did I just do an entire project with proxies?" haha.


October 1, 2014 at 11:52PM

Josh is wrong about this, right?

Ben Popik

February 26, 2015 at 11:45AM

How would one work if the files HAD been XAVC?

Played around with a camcorder once for a start-up company that wanted to film there own material, and I never got around to figure out how the MXF files an such worked... I just remember there being ALOT of folders.

October 2, 2014 at 2:06AM

Viktor Ragnemar

Sony has dedicated programs for working with their files with sensitive files structures. For example, XDCAM cameras used to require XDCAM Transfer.

They've just released a new program that is intended to be used for this kind of work.

As with most things related to Sony, the solution for working with their stuff is to use other Sony stuff. So for Sony cameras with proprietary-ish codecs and file structure, Sony software is a safe way to go.

David S.

October 2, 2014 at 7:57AM

I just used the A7s for the first time lately.
The folder and file structure at root level looks even more complex than EXCAM footage.
I just imported the mp4root folder as a folder in PPro.
In PPro I renamed the files. It's a 'soft' renaming: the name is only changed in PPro, but the file name stays the same. In case you're not exchanging the files to other projects or other programmes (like AE), this is a perfect way to deal with it.

I still need to check whether I can just import the Clips folder instead of the mp4root folder. Then at least I won't import any files outside of the Clips folder.

Welcome to the tapeless era :-)

December 11, 2014 at 5:20AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

XAVC-S is not the same as XAVC. The .mp4 in XAVC-S is not a proxy, it is a full resolution video file. Only in the XAVC there is a .mp4 proxy realted to the MXF files

July 17, 2015 at 12:09PM


this has been great to read, thing is, I have been handed a project where the .mp4 big files are stored outside the M4ROOT/Clip folder in a random other folder and it won't import into either MPEG or compressor. Would this mean the files are corrupted? hellllpppp Taaaa

January 18, 2017 at 4:32AM

Lea Bruce

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