Stop shotcut from merging my files into one

I hope I’m explaining this clearly :slight_smile:

I recently made my first video with shotcut. However there was a problem with one of the photos I used and I had to replace it. At that point I realized that as soon as I exported, it turned all of my separate photos into one long mp4.

I had to go into the video, locate the exact problem photos, clip them out, and paste new photos back in,

Is there any way to save the project BEFORE exporting so that if I realize I have a problem with a particular photo I can just go back to the original project and swap them out?

In case it’s important, when I exported I did it from the timeline, as there were also music and audio tracks,

One work around which I suspect MIGHT work is to put each photo on a different track, as I noticed it left my tracks separate, but that seems unwieldy especially with 20 or more photos per project.


menu bar > File > Save As

This creates a project file with a .mlt extension. This project file is a small text file that basically says “play file X at time Y with filters Z”. The project file does not hold a copy of the actual picture files. It simply contains filenames that point to them.

More info here:

Right, but I can’t seem to get back to the project file itself. In other words, the file just shows as title-of-my-video.mp4 rather than all the separate pictures I put into the timeline. I suppose deleting the mlt file would be counter productive?

If a project file was saved, it should still be in the Recent panel and can be opened from there.

File > Open can also be used to point to the .mlt file and get the timeline back.

If the .mlt file was deleted… then it’s gone.

I’m confused -yes the project opens from the recent panel, but again, the timeline itself looks like one long file, and is no longer 20 or so different photos. I need to break it back up into those individual photos.

I didn’t delete the mlt file (though I’ve no clue where to find it)

Here’s a screenshot of the project I’m currently working on - it’s been saved but not exported yet.

And here’s what the previous project that I exported and needed to edit looks like now:

I do recall that shotcut crashed and that when I brought it back to life, the program was looking for my credits.png file (the title of the project now shows as “recovered” in shotcut’s file name. Could that be the problem, and is there anything I can do to fix it?

Thanks again!

There are 2 main files created by Shotcut:

  • .mlt, which is an XML file containing a complete description of your project (clips used, filters applied, transitions created etc…) and instructions on how to process the project;
  • .mp4 (or other video format), which is the video file created when you call “Export”.

Okay, but is it possible to go back to the mlt file? With all the separate clips?

Assuming it was saved, then yes. It’s just a matter of finding it. It’s not listed on the Recent panel?

The Recent panel may have multiple entries… one being your project, and one being the MP4 file exported from it. Try all of them.

I think I understand what you are talking about.

When you save the mlt it doesn’t save where you left in the timeline.
When you load back in the mlt project save file, it always starts at the first frame.

If anything, take note of the time and enter the time in this box.

The mlt file is listed in one entry as “repaired” and also a separate entry for the pre-repaired version, but there’s only one mlt file in the folder. Trying to open it in shotcut results in the same version with the long mp4 file and no pics. I’m going to assume that shotcut ate the original mlt when it crashed.

Oh well.

Thanks much for your help.

Hi Hudson,

Thanks for your reply, but I’m mystified what this has to do with my question. The start time doesn’t matter to me, and I’m not sure how that would make a difference. The problem is that the photos are missing from my timeline as well as from the playlist, and to edit the current mp4, takes a lot more work than it would if I could just switch out photos.

I’ve already dealt with the video in question. What concerns me is that I don’t want this to happen on the next video I’m working on. So basically, my big question is there way to save the project and ensure that it is still easily editable, preserving the integrity of separate photo files in the timeline.

I do note that in the places where I’ve edited the mp4 and put in new photos, when I saved and exported and re-opened the project, the two photos which I’d edited are still separate from the mp4 on the tiimeline. So I’m hoping it was all just a glitch that happened because of the crash

Of course the other question - is there somewhere to keep a backup of the project in case it crashes like this again? Or some other way to ensure that the photos aren’t just jammed into one big mp4 file again?



Sorry for my reply. I was just as easily mystified by your question. I had thought you were wanting the save point to be where you lasted were in the timeline, from where you last edited your project.

Austin & Elusien both helped to clarify this. Perhaps I can try to explain in a different way. Shotcut doesn’t jam anything into a big mp4 file unless you hit that export button. When you export, Shotcut does create a video file based upon the MLT project file and it goes to a MP4 file. But you are performing that action. You are the one that’s hitting Export. Shotcut doesn’t automatically export for you.

File → Save. All this does is save the MLT project file. This will never create a mp4 file.

File-> Export. This does not save your project to MLT. This does create the MP4 video file.



If you wish to re edit your project file, you have to go back to your MLT file. The ones that show in “Recent Projects”.

The MLT project file is just lines of code. There are no pictures or video held within the project file itself. Here is just a portion of what a MLT file looks like.

Thanks for your detailed reply - very informative. And thanks to everyone else who answered on this thread as well.

As near as I can figure, shotcut did “something weird” during the crash. (Since it definitely didn’t act as everyone here expects it to.) For some unknown reason it killed all the photos in the playlist, and then, not being able to find them again, it just substituted the mp4 it had already created for the timeline photos. Very odd, and I hope it won’t misbehave like that ever again!

I’ve created a 2nd video, finished and saved and exported it, and when I open the project back up, everything looks the same (all photos in place) as it did when I finished. So–some kind of glitch, I assume.



Hi Leon, as a recommendation regarding …

I don’t know if you have experience in the use of other editors or multimedia projects, but to avoid problems related to the loss of file references, it has worked for me to structure a central folder for the project (root folder) and that folder locate the MLT file and all the resources to be used in the edition; separating into subfolders according to whether they are images, videos, audios, texts, etc. When doing the export, I save the mp4 in the same folder.

After having all the resources centralized, I add them to the SC project

As Austin suggested, see the “Project Management” post.

Use the google translator from Spanish to English.
Saludos León, como recomendación respecto de …

Desconozco si tienes experiencia en el uso de otros editores o proyectos multimedia, pero para evitar problemas relacionado a la perdida de referencias de archivo, me ha funcionado estructurar una carpeta central para el proyecto (carpeta raíz) y e esa carpeta ubicar el archivo MLT y todos los recursos a utilizar en la edición; separando en subcarpetas según si son imágenes, videos, audios, textos, etc. Al hacer la exportación, guardo el mp4 en la misma carpeta.

Después de tener todos los recursos centralizados, los agrego al proyecto de SC

Como sugirió Austin, ver el post “Gestión de Proyectos”.

This topic was automatically closed after 90 days. New replies are no longer allowed.