How to replace proxy files with original files for export

I have read about editing with proxy files in the forum and on the Internet. But I haven’t found exactly what I want to ask.
I have HD and 4k recordings and corresponding proxy files in 720p (they therefore do not have to be created by Shotcut). Is it possible to use the existing 720p files for editing and then replace them with the HD/4k files for export?
There is a thread from 2020 where “hashs” are mentioned. As I understood it, many people found this difficult (I’m not a native English speaker and didn’t exactly understand the procedure either).
Now more than three years have passed and I thought maybe there are new ways to replace the already existing proxy files for export.
I am grateful for your help.

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I don’t think this is possible. The nearest use case that I’m aware of is GoPro proxy files.

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Hmmm… So I have to let Shotcut create the proxy files as described here? Proxy Editing



I’m trying to understand your issue. So it sounds like you already created 720p versions of the file and are editing them in Shotcut. Odds are you have the original files in another folder named, File01.mp4 for example and have another folder called File01-720.mp4.

Prior to the proxy files being implemented on Shotcut, that’s what I used to do. Then when I was ready to export, I would rename the 4K files and slide them in to replace the 720p files keeping the proxy filenames, and Shotcut thinks it’s still exporting the proxy files but actually the new 4K files.


Yes, that’s what I did too when there was no proxy feature on Shotcut (and other editors). As long as the files have the same names and length, this method works very well.

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If the guru @MusicalBox confirms it, it must be true!

Shotcut replace the proxy files to the original 4k automagically during export … as far I know

Since you were my mentor yourself for many Shotcut related stuff: Cheers @bentacular


Not if the proxy files were created by another program, like it is the case here for @M_Hulot

Yes. The easy way is to manually switch folders. Consider this folder structure, where items in bold are folders:

  • Project root folder
    • MyProject.mlt
    • Timeline
      • File1.mp4
      • File2.mp4
    • Alternate
      • File1.mp4
      • File2.mp4

In this structure, the HD/4K files are currently in the Timeline folder, and the 720p files are currently in the Alternate folder. The original and proxy files must share the same filename (they are associated by having the same name). If there are subfolders, then the names of subfolders must be identical in both folders too.

The Shotcut project would be built using media from the Timeline folder. When you want to switch between original and proxy, close Shotcut and swap the folders, then restart Shotcut and continue working as usual.

There are two ways to swap folders:

  • Rename Alternate to Temp, rename Timeline to Alternate, rename Temp to Timeline.


  • Use a third “folder” that is actually a symbolic link to whichever folder you want to be current, and build the Shotcut project against the symbolic link. Rewrite the link to point to the other folder when you want to alternate between original and proxy.

The swap method works because the .mlt file stores references to video files as “Timeline/File1.mp4” without really caring whether File1.mp4 is 4K or 720p. So long as Shotcut finds a file using that filename, it will show you whatever video is in it. This gives you an opportunity to swap which file (4K or 720p) will actually be stored at that filename while Shotcut is closed. This also enables you to create proxies with a program external to Shotcut, and to create all proxies in advance rather than on-demand.

Caveat: If your proxies were created by a GoPro camera, then Shotcut can auto-detect those without the hassle of folder swapping.

When Shotcut generates its own proxies, it uses a hash to associate the proxy file with the original file it came from. By using a hash, the original file can be moved to a different folder or even renamed, and Shotcut will still recognize that a proxy has already been created for it. A hash is a short-form way of identifying a file by its contents rather than by its filename, which allows the original file to be moved around without having to regenerate a proxy for the new location/filename.

@Bentaciular, musicalbox and Austin: thank you. I hoped that this would work as it works on e.g. Photoshop/InDesign: If you replace an image in InDesign but use same file name of the old one, the program accesses the new image because it does not care about the content.
The proxies were made with the same program as the HD files. I got them from the cameraman. So I can save time instead of having Shotcut create new ones.
I also understand your described method better (probably because I already have experience with the similar procedure in InDesign) than the Shotcut method.
Do I understand correctly that in the case of Austin’s description, it is no longer necessary to rename the individual files, but only the folder?
I haven’t started the project yet. I wanted to clarify these things beforehand so that I can get started better and not get bogged down.
In any case, thank you very much for your detailed help! That’s really great. I will start at the weekend and see if I had understand everything correctly. I will first do a test with other files.
It would be great if I could ask you if something doesn’t work.

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ahhh ok … thanks for the correction…
The solution is place the 4k files into shotcut playlist and make it proxy files :slight_smile: and release the other problem proxy as using shotcut …

Correct. The rename-folder method is doing the same thing as the Photoshop/InDesign single-file rename method, just at a larger scale. You’re now working at the folder level rather than the individual file level. (Renaming folders to simulate a swap of all files will work with InDesign as well.)

Instead of having to rename every file individually, renaming the folder is a quick way of making it look like all files within it were swapped out for different files. This is useful when there are hundreds of media files, and renaming them individually would take forever.

The main caveat is keeping the filenames in sync between the folders being swapped.

Thank you so much.
I tried it today and it works perfectly.
Such a relief - and less work. And the PC also manages to edit seven video tracks with the low quality files.
Thank you!

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