BUG? Empty [?].mp4 (?) files appearing out of nowhere

I believe it started with 5.8.1, but I noticed it first on my iPad (and I don’t know if it propagated from there). I have [?].mp4 (or at least the few I checked have the .mp4 extension) appearing all over, but their presence is massive in the “Other” section of the library. What I don’t like is that they also are in the middle of the “Currently watching” list (both Top Shelf and in-app) and I have no clue if they were pointing to a real video or else. I’ll attach few screenshots to explain better. In one all the grey icon show as [?] files. The third screenshot (at_19.04) shows what I get trying to modify the metadata (I actually used that to see what was the filename).

I have tried to delete and rebuild the whole meta-data, but nothing changed. I have also tried to remove all ._.mp4 files in my video libraries, refreshed the metadata but nothing changed again.

Just a guess but it looks like maybe an illegal character was used in the file name.

What happens when you try to play it?

If I play any of them they give an error. I’ll attach another screenshot. Also I have “illegal” (Japanese) characters on songs. They may show weirdly, but they play via iTunes/Computer. I just added a couple of movies in the last couple of weeks. Plus a couple of 4K HDR/HLG demo videos in a folder that uses local metadata. The two videos just show (and play) from the “Other” section, as well as from their folder. The movies are fine.

Are you by any chance connected using DLNA?

Nope. SMB v3. As always in the last few months. The typical NAS configuration, no Plex resources in Infuse and all DLNA servers are disabled in my LAN. They appeared (or at least I noticed them) after I used the app in the iPad few days ago. iCloud on iPad was enabled as well (now disabled on iPad, still enabled on ATV). I wanted to clear the iPad metadata as well, but it takes too long with the screen that must stay unlocked.

I have also tried to look at the ATV logs via Xcode and Console. But I have got only the logs for the crashes (a couple). Unless there is a way to get more ATV log files. If there was a way to at least identify the folder i could try moving some suspect files, but I have no idea where it/they come from.

PS: I deleted and rebuilt the metadata on iPad. I realised I could set the locking time to never, so I have put the iPad on charging and then started the process. The empty files are still there…

Just grasping at straws, have you tried enabling file management in Infuse and deleating the files from inside Infuse?

I may end up deleting legit files. I don’t like the risk. Instead I thought that I had some empty folders in the “TV Shows” library. When I finish a Season I remove it but the main folder for the TV Show remains. I removed them, but it didn’t change much, although there is a difference: the empty element in the top shelf disappeared. All empty icons in “Other” are still there, though. I did a “find” in terminal to find any other empty folder but I couldn’t any. Unless I didn’t use the “find” options right. I’ll check better now. nvm, the command is right. I tested it in the “super folder” (and it found some empty ones in iTunes’ folder).

Crazy, I have found them, eventually. I did a

find . -empty -type f -exec ls -l {} ;

in the Movies folders and it gave me a list of files like this:

-rwxrwxrwx 1 501 500 0 Feb 25 2018 ./Battle.for.Sevastopol.2015/.mp4

In Terminal that character does show as [?] indeed. They were all .mp4. No .mkv. I deleted all of them and they have finally gone!!! Now the question is what generated them. I am 100% positive I didn’t, not intentionally (and I didn’t touch the Movies folder either, apart from adding few movies in the last weeks). Unless it’s that stupid Plex, sharing the same libraries!

Also it seems Infuse was previously ignoring all empty files. Or maybe they were generated recently but they kept the timestamp of the original, valid .mp4 file. Oh well, in case now I know what to look for…

Thanks for your help anyway! ?

That is surely one of the strangest issues I’ve heard of. Glad you were finally able to sluth it out. If you ever pin down what generated them let me know!

I sure will. Maybe it has been “Computer” (iTunes)? The fact that only the .mp4 files have generated bad empty files is suspicious. I did add a video (only 1) via iTunes to test a bug for a friend about HLG videos not showing the videos, only playing the audio. iTunes simply ignores the .mkv, that’s why I think it could have been it. But I really don’t know.

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