Plex Movie Naming Conventions

Learning to properly use Plex movie naming conventions is important to have the Plex scanners download the correct metadata. Most movie metadata or duplicate content issues happen because the movie files aren't organized properly.

How should your organize your movie files? Let's look at how this is done.

Plex Movie Naming Conventions

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Plex movie naming conventions

Movie file naming convention is important and is used to identify the movie for the metadata.

The standard naming convention is as follows:

MovieName (release year).ext

For our example in this article, I will use "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" as the movie. Using the standard naming convention, my movie file name would be:

The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003).mp4

Alternative naming conventions for Plex version 1.20.1 and newer allows for the inclusion of either the IMDB or The MovieDB ID number. This reduces the chances of not finding the correct metadata for the movie.

For the movie I selected, I could also use the following names:

IMDB:

The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) {imdb-tt0167260}.mp4

TMDB:

The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) {tmdb-122}.mp4

I don't have too many metadata issues, so I don't include the ID values in my movie file name. Of course, the choice is yours.

Movie folder structure

With the different content that can be played by Plex, it is best if each type of content is in a separate folder. This means your movie files would be in a separate folder from your TV shows.

You can keep it simple, and simply create a folder called "movies." This folder can be located anywhere, but in this example, let's assume it is off the root of a hard drive.

/movies

Within this folder, you have two options on how to organize your movie files for Plex. The first is to simply place the files in the "movies" folder. The second option is to create a subfolder for each movie and then place the movie file in the subfolder.

I recommend the second option. The reason is that you may end up with multiple files associated with the move, such as posters or additional versions of the move. By using movie subfolders, all files for that movie are now organized in a subfolder for that movie.

The folder name follows a similar structure to the file name:

MovieName (release year)

In our example, we will create a folder for our movie:

/movies
    /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003)

With the folder now created, we can copy the movie file, and any associated files into the folder. Our movie file structure will now look like:

/movies
    /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003)
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003).mp4

Multiple part movie

Movies that are over three hours are usually divided into multiple parts. This allows many of the Plex clients to play multiple part movies as a single movie.

A few notes regarding multiple part moves:

  • Not all Plex clients support this feature.
  • All parts must be in the same format, such as mkv or mp4.
  • All parts need to have the same audio and subtitle streams, and in the same order.
  • Up to 8 parts are supported.

I haven't had too many issues with multi-part movies, so it is a valid option for me.

To organize a single movie over multiple files, you would use the following naming convention:

MovieName (release year) - SplitName.ext

The "SplitName" value can be one of (replace "X" with the part number):

  • cdX
  • discX
  • dvdX
  • partX
  • ptX

In my example, the "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" is a long movie. So long in that it is split into two parts. This means the folder and file structure of this movie would be:

/movies
    /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003)
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - pt1.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - pt2.mp4

In this case I used the "ptX" split name option for the movie.

Different Movie Versions

If you have many clients and are looking to avoid transcoding your movie files, one option is to store multiple versions of a movie. This means you may have a 1080p, 720p and 480p version of your movie.

When a client requests a movie, the movie file that will play best on that client is chosen from the multiple movie versions.

This option is not intended for movies that have a "theatrical" or "director's cut" version. Those types of versions are better stored as separated movies in Plex.

When multiple versions of a movie are available, Plex will display a single item for that movie. Some apps will allow you to select one of the versions to play.

The naming convention for a movie with multiple versions is:

MovieName (release year) - {some text}.ext

The "some text" is any text you wish to include that helps identify the movie version.

If I were to include 720p and 480p versions of "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King", it would look like:

/movies
    /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003)
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - 1080p - pt1.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - 1080p - pt2.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - 720p- pt1.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - 720p - pt2.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - 480p - pt1.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - 480p - pt2.mp4

The additional text I added doesn't make a difference when Plex is identifying the movie. For my movie library, I also include the audio streams included in my movie file as an easy reference.

Trailers and Behind the Scenes Content

You can add additional movie file content to your movies, such as trailers and behind the scenes content.

There are two options when organizing such content. The first is to name the added content with this naming convention:

DescriptiveTitle-ExtraType.ext

The "ExtraType" value can be one of the following:

  • -behindthescenes
  • -deleted
  • -featurette
  • -interview
  • -scene
  • -short
  • -trailer
  • -other

For example, the following shows four extra content files:

/movies
    /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003)
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - pt1.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - pt2.mp4
        /Motion Capture-behindthescenes.mkv
        /Teaser Trailer-trailer.mkv
        /Theatrical Trailer #1-trailer.mp4
        /Theatrical Trailer #2-trailer.mp4

The second option is to create a subfolder for each of the extra content type. Then place the content file into the correct content subfolder.

For example:

/movies
    /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003)
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - pt1.mp4
        /The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King (2003) - pt2.mp4
        /Behind the Scenes
            /Motion Capture-behindthescenes.mkv 
        /Trailers
            /Teaser Trailer-trailer.mkv 
        /Theatrical Trailer #1-trailer.mp4 
            /Theatrical Trailer #2-trailer.mp4

I prefer the second option, as it keeps things clean and organized, but the choice is yours.

Learning to use proper Plex movie naming conventions is probably the most important aspect when managing a Plex server. The naming convention is key to having the correct metadata displayed for the movie.

The examples above show how to properly organize and name your movie files. Simply follow the above conventions and you should have little issues with your movies and metadata.