The key problem is that I know that these are the same "series" of clips (because of the folder-names they are held in) and it's ONLY the dates in the filename that are reliable. Not even the size, creation dates or modified dates in the metadata are the same.
The problem is that these files are named manually elsewhere which makes them have no predictability other than the dates. Sometimes though the extra information is useful for other unrelated reasons.
Moving the dates to the beginning can be problematic because this is a very involved workflow which involves a SQL server cataloging all of the files. I'm ok with one of the directories moving the dates (files yet to be cataloged.)
If the information in the filenames is useful, won't you lose half of it when you delete the second copy of any pair of files?
Are there any filenames where the date part will be ambiguous? e.g. Ones with other two digit numbers and dots next to the date, or multiple dates (or things which look like dates)? I think to do this will require scripting, and to write a good script will need a lot more example filenames.
Leo yes I could lose some good (but not critical information), but if it could be left in place that would be better. For example, if one of the files has good details and one didn't, i'd likely choose the one with more details to keep.
Wowbagger, interesting idea. Those custom columns can then just be used in the duplicate files dialog?. I'm going to try this.
Flat view is good if they have the same parent. If the files don't have a common parent folder, you could use the search to find all files (*.*) adding the needed folders to the the search. Then add the custom column to the Find Results Lister.