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Download A Better Finder Rename 12.05

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About Custom Shooting Date Priority Order & Timezones

Meta-data timestamps are one of the most unexpectedly complex issues when dealing with media files.

There are many competing storage format & meta-data definition standards and many camera manufacturers & tool vendors take great liberties with their implementation of those standards. Then there is the undeniable fact that such standards are actually quite tricky to get right.

As a result, you will come across un-intuitively and sometimes outright incorrectly encoded timestamp meta-data and will have to deal with the fallout.

There are a number of different ways in which timestamps appear in meta-data:

  1. as textual date & time descriptions without timezone information
  2. as textual date & time description with timezone information
  3. as integer or floating point values giving the time difference to some reference date

Digital pictures initially were almost always stored in “camera time”, i.e. whatever the camera’s internal clock was set to. In many ways, this was quite easy and convenient, because you could just decide whether you wanted to change your clock when you travelled across timezones or not. The obvious downside was that nobody ever remembered to change the timezone. All the EXIF meta-data encoded for around two decades was in camera time.

More recently, a lot of pictures and videos are taken on always connected smartphones with GPS sensors and their cameras usually encode timezone and GPS information. This means that those files are no longer necessarily in “camera time” and this requires a decision on whether you want to translate this to the time in your current timezone, i.e. at home after your trip, or want to use the local time of the place you travelled to, i.e. you don’t want your breakfast pictures to be labelled as having been taken at midnight.

A further complication comes from the reference date format of storing timestamps. This is literally the number of seconds from some reference date, often midnight GMT on 1/1/1972 (or 1/1/2000). Those times are usually relative to UTC, “Universal Coordinated Time” which is basically Greenwich Medium Time, minus summer/winter time changes. Note that without timezone or GPS information, it’s not possible to establish what the “camera time” was at all. Some of the mp4 timestamps are encoded in this manner, so this affects mostly videos.

All this means that you’ll come across media files that appear to have incorrect timestamps or at least timestamps that don’t seem to make a lot of sense to you. You will also occasionally come across radically different timestamps that represent things such as “the moment the original recording of this was made” (i.e. say for a Charlie Chaplin movie this might be in the 1930s), “the moment that the recording or picture was digitized”, etc.

A Better Finder Rename 12 provides a sophisticated mechanism for allowing you to customize the order in which timestamps are taken into account.

Specifying the Order

⇒ click on the Add Advanced Options button (the cogwheel icon with the plus sign) on the bottom right of the action list

=> tick the Use Custom Shooting Date Order Resolution checkbox

You will be presented with a list of timestamp tags and a popup button at the bottom.

⇒ drag & drop the names of the tags to re-arrange them

A Better Finder Rename 12 will look through all the timestamp tags in the source files and use the date in the first matching field in the order that you provide.

By default, you will have tags starting with [Composite] at the front of the priority order. These refer to composite tags: tags that do not really exist in the source files, but that are the result of the program trying to combine the various tags that are present, in such a manner as to most accurate represent the intended description. These values will most of the time, give you the best results across all kinds of media.

Below this, you will find specific tags, from the EXIF, QuickTime, ID3, XMP, etc.. meta-data standards. You can force A Better Finder Rename to use a specific tag by moving it further up in the order.

Examining Tag Contents in the Info Pane

All this is of course hard to do without knowing the actual content of the tags within your media files.

This is why while Advanced Options is your selected action, you can see the raw, unprocessed meta-data field contonts for specific files in the Info Pane at the bottom right.

⇒ with Advanced Options as your current action, select a file from the preview

You will see multiple new Additional Info fields appear in the General section of the info pane. These fields contain the raw, unprocessed values of all the relevant fields found in the selected file.

Choosing Between Camera Time & Current Local Time

Finally, the popup button at the bottom allows you to choose between “camera time” and the local time at your current location when the recording was made.

Most people, most of the time will want to stick with the Use local time of shooting location, which gives you “camera time”. In some situations, however, for instance if you’re a news editor, you want the time to reflect not the time at the shooting location, but the time at your headquarters for instance. In that case select Use local time at current location.

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