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Changing a large number of really bad time stamps from different cameras

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MarathonMax

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Jun 29, 2011
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I am struggling with a large number of pictures (1,900 of them actually) stored in Lightroom 3.6 under “Our Wedding” folder. These pictures come from six different cameras all with different times and with only one that I trust.

I have started by individually changing some of the time stamps but I think that I am about to loose that battle as it gets more and more complicated the more I progress in the timeline.

After reading a bit on how to solve my problem, here’s the plan that I came up with and I would appreciate your comments and suggestions.

First, I need to reset (restore) the original times of all pictures I touched. I will use the “Revert capture time to original” command.

QUESTION 1: Can I select all picture and use the “Revert capture time to original” command or must I select each picture individually?

However, before I do that, I would like to sort of back-up the work I have done up to now – as imperfect as it is, it is still “some” work.

QUESTION 2: How can I “back-up” my existing folder? Should I export the folder as a sub-catalog?

Second, once reverted to original time (and backed-up), for each camera with the wrong times, I would find an event that matches in time the event from the “trusted” camera.

Third, I would select (using the metadata filter bar) all pics from that erroneous camera, with the matching event picture as the top most selected one, and select the “Edit the capture time” command to adjust the time with the trusted camera. This should then set all other picture times using the plus/minus delta of the “bad” camera.

QUESTION 3: Am I right to assume that all pics prior to the reference pic will be properly time stamped before it?

I then repeat the third step for every other camera with the wrong times.

QUESTION 4: Am I missing anything?

Thanks
Max
 

b_gossweiler

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Jun 19, 2009
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Zurich, Switzerland
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Max,

QUESTION 1: Can I select all picture and use the “Revert capture time to original” command or must I select each picture individually?
You can select them all (in Grid) and perform "Revert ....".

QUESTION 2: How can I “back-up” my existing folder? Should I export the folder as a sub-catalog?
What you have to back up is your catalog, that's where all your manipulations are taking place. Choose "Next Time I exit Lightroom" under backup options of your catalog and quit LR, taking a backup during the shut-down. Maybe you want to do that before and after reverting to original capture time.

QUESTION 3: Am I right to assume that all pics prior to the reference pic will be properly time stamped before it?
I'm not sure I undestand "all pics prior to the reference pic". If you select all images of one bad camera, with one image you know the time of as the most selected, and perform "Adjust to specified Date and Time", the most selected image will be adjusted to what you specifiy, and all other selected images will be shifted by the amount of time the most selected image had to be shifted.

QUESTION 4: Am I missing anything?
Not that I can see, your plan is perfect :)

Beat
 

Mark Sirota

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Oct 8, 2007
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
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Second, once reverted to original time (and backed-up), for each camera with the wrong times, I would find an event that matches in time the event from the “trusted” camera.

That's one approach, though somewhat imperfect. A more accurate solution, if you still have access to the cameras and if you doubt that the time has been reset on any of them, is to use each of them to take a photo of the same clock (one that displays seconds). Then use those photos as the reference photo when you're resetting the time for each camera.

If they are owned by different people, have them all look at the same Internet time source. I normally recommend http://www.time.gov/ for this, though it seems to be down at the moment. Since you're in Canada, you might prefer http://time5.nrc.ca/webclock_e.shtml.
 
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I sometimes run into a similar problem. When on vacation with friends we take photos with many different cameras. Once back home, we swap photos with each other. Different clocks in different cameras of course. I have tried to persuade them to set the clocks correctly but it seldom works. So, nowadays I gather us all at some time during the vacation, place us all in a circle, and then we all take a photo of each other at the same time. This way all cameras have a common timestamp reference. Since I only trust my cameras clock (since I make sure it is correct) I can use that as "the truth" and adjust all other photos accordingly. It is just a matter of establishing the time difference to each camera, select all photos from one "faulty" camera and adjust their timestamps, then repeat with the next camera and so on.
 
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