I consider this a major bug which I am reporting.
This is actually by design, as many editors will have all (or at least groups of) media for a project in a single folder. So you only have to tell Premiere where the first file is, and it finds the rest. If the 'rest' of what it's finding for your project are wrong, you'll manually have to relink them once the project opens.
many thanks for your kind answer.
A correct design would be that Premiere calculates from the absolute path, the relative path of all files using the hint from where the first file is, and it should find the rest. Unfortunately, it seems that it uses only the filenames and it ignores the original absolute path. So if a project contains 3 files named '00001.MTS' from 3 different directories, Premiere thinks the files are the same file when the absolute path has been renamed.
Your statement that "by design, as many editors will have all (or at least groups of) media for a project in a single folder" can only become a "wrong design" because the assumption that all files are in a single folder (and therefore never have the same filename) is, and always be, incorrect.
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Once the absolute path has changed, as it did when you changed the higher level folder, Premier had to basically throw out all the path names and ask "Hey, where the hell is this stuff? It ain't where you left it last time I was open." You tell it where one file is, and it finds all the rest in that same new location. Anything not in that new location, Premiere will ask again. And so on until everything is found.
For myself, I do keep all video media in a single folder, all pictures in another folder, all music in a third fodler, etc. So this design actually works quite well when things are properly organized outside of Premiere.
The real problem here is that camera makers have chosen to ignore the design intent of the new MXF file format. Rather than keeping all required data in a single MXF file, they spread things out across many files and folders. THIS is the real 'why' here. The folder structure of tapeless media negates the basic file functionality we enjoy with tape-based media - all data in a single file that can be moved to any folder we choose, renamed as we choose, or manipulated in any other way as any other file can be, without losing the basic functionality of the media file.
You get camera makers to fix their error and use a single MXF file for every clip (spanning only across NTFS formatted cards), and this problem (and others) essentially disappears.