In my earlier blogs Sessions Explained and Sessions Continued you may have become familiar with Sessions Folders, Albums, and Favorites. As an experienced user of Capture One Pro Sessions, you like to know your behind-the-scenes stuff, the nitty-gritty details, and the not-so-obvious things. Welcome, you’ve come to the right place. You find here more on session templates, how to move sessions, how to open sessions and what the session and sidecar files are about. Not for the faint of heart. So, get ready for Sessions In-Depth!
Up to Capture One Pro 7, you could make a Session with your preferred settings like Session Folders, Session Favorites, and Session Albums and copy and rename that Session each time you needed a new Session. This was a kind of template substitute or workaround.
Since Capture One 8 you now have officially a template feature for Sessions (and Catalogs too). You can use the template when you create a new Session and you will find what you stored in your template back in your new Session. This is a great time saver!
Creating a template from an existing Session is as straightforward as it can be. You can use any Session, store it as a template and see it listed the next time you create a new Session. When you create a template, Capture One only stores the Session Folders, Session Albums and Session Favorites, and no image or image adjustment.
As each template is a distinct template file, you can create as many templates as you like and you can easily copy them to another machine to maintain your workflow on all your machines.
One of the great features of a Session is that you can easily move it to another location without breaking any links to folders, favorites, files, and adjustments. You lose no information. That is great for archiving or working with two computers: one for during the shoot, one for editing, for example.
That is always and automatically the case as long as all your folders are inside the main Session folder. No problem!
There are several ways to open a Session. First, if the session was recently used with Capture One, it can be found in the File menu > Open Recent list in Capture One.
The second option, from within Capture One, is to use the Open command. Next, browse to the Session folder you like to open and select the Session file in it, the one with the extension .cosessiondb.
The third option is very similar to the one I just mentioned but typically a more in-depth method to open a Session. You open the Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows). Next, browse to the Session main folder, locate the Session file and double-click it. This will start Capture One and open that Session.
Another tip, this time from the awesome-tips-department, is to place an alias or shortcut on your desktop (or elsewhere). Create the alias from the Session file mentioned above. Double-click on the alias and Capture One Pro will start with that session. Magic!
You can also open older Sessions, back to Capture One 4, in the same three ways. Note that older session can have a different file extension like .col50, .col45, and .col.
Open these older Session files on the same platform, Mac or Windows, only. The current Capture One extension for Sessions, .cosessiondb, is cross-platform compatible.
Organize Your Images
By now you are familiar with the term session file, named “<session_name>.cosessiondb”. Curious what Capture One stores in that file?
The Session database file contains information about Albums and Smart Albums, Session Favorites, the capture name for tethered shooting among others. Note that Capture One stores no image adjustments inside this database file in case you lose it or you have to create it again.
Meaning of Subfolders and Sidecar Files
A distinct feature of Capture One Pro is that the program never writes to the original (raw) file. Instead, it creates a few files for each image file you open from a Session to allow the program to work with your images. These files, sometimes referred to as sidecar files, are stored in the CaptureOne subfolder inside the image folder.
To be precise, there is a specific subfolder structure with specific sidecar files. The image below shows the folders and files of a single image file MyImage001.CR2, which resides in a folder named Image Folder.
You have the following folders and files in /Image Folder/CaptureOne:
- /Cache/Proxies/*.cop and *.cof
- /Settings81/*.cos and .comask
The sidecar files are maintained by Capture One, which means that when you move or delete an image from within Capture One, the sidecar files related to that image are moved or deleted as well. What are the different subfolders and files Capture One creates for each image? Which contains the adjustments I made and which can safely be discarded?
Rule of Thumb
What to keep, what not (optional)
- Everything in the ../CaptureOne/Cache folder you can safely discard as Capture One will generate them the next time it opens that folder
- Everything in the ../CaptureOne/Settings81 folder contains your adjustments and you like to keep this folder and its contents.
Some notes on Settings
The Settings folder has a number added, currently 81, referring to Capture One 8.1. This reflects the version of Capture One since the last database change. You can open a folder of images you opened with an earlier version of Capture One, and with a different folder name like Settings70, Settings50, Settings45, or just Settings. This is no problem and the contents will automatically migrate to the new folder.
Besides the .cos (Capture One Settings) files in this folder you can come across .comask, .lcc, and .icm files. They also relate to adjustments and contain additional and specific information for the .cos file like layer masks, an LCC profile and a custom ICC profile for that image.
… and get your Session file verified. This easy task is done from the File menu, you can prevent disaster or solve it anyway. Can not guarantee success (who can?) but worth knowing and practicing. Precise how-to: File menu > Verify Catalog or Session…
Sessions In-Depth Ends
With Sessions In-Depth this series about sessions ends. Hope it will help you get you sorted in your sessions related questions. Stay tuned for more topics!