9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 31, 2011 9:37 AM by the_wine_snob

    Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities

    the_wine_snob Level 9

      When Transcoding fails, there can be several possible problems. Here are two of those:


      Assets that are not working well in Premiere.

      Gaps in the Video portion of the Timeline.


      Now, there are some differences in the way that PrE and PrPro Transcode a Timeline. In PrE, the program will use a 2-pass VBR (Variable Bit-Rate), so 100% of the Transcode will be both passes. Because of this, if the program reports 75% completion, then it’s failing at ~ the half-way point in the second pass. One needs to do a bit of math. In PrPro, one can set the Transcoding, so they may, or may not need to do that same math.


      Now, let’s say that the Transcoding stops at 75%, and 2-pass VBR was used. That equals about half-way through the Timeline, and on the second pass. That is where one should start looking, and looking closely at the Assets around that point. Does one have overly-large still images there? If so, then this ARTICLE will give some tips on how to handle those. Does one have an odd Video CODEC in a Clip at that point? Is there something in one of the Assets, that differs from those around it? If so, correct that.


      Now, with Video, gaps can cause all sorts of issues with Transcoding. One can experience this in several ways. One common error is “Failure to return Frame,” but another is “Transcode failed,” or just a crash/hang, and there might be no real error message.


      The finding of the gap can be tough. A 1-Frame gap can cause such a problem. To locate a gap, I recommend that first, one zooms into the Timeline, at about the point of failure, and look closely. If no gap is seen, I recommend that they then use a method, that is as much by “feel,” as it is by sight. Move the CTI (Current Time Indicator) to before that general area of the Timeline, which has been zoomed in to the max, and use the PageUP (or PageDN, depending on the direction) to step through the Timeline, Clip by Clip (note: this will step by ALL Clips, both Audio & Video, so observe closely). The CTI will move directly to the beginning of the next Clip. If the CTI seems to “pause,” or “hiccup,” there is likely a gap at that point. Check out that point very closely. In the Program Monitor, at that point, there will be a black “flash,” but it might go by very, very quickly, in 1/30th +/- of a second.


      How one handles a gap, will depend on the Clips on either side, perhaps any underlying Audio, or what one wishes to actually happen at that exact point.


      In PrPro, one trick is to add Transparent Video to a higher Video Track, and extend that to cover any/all gaps. Unfortunately, that will likely get a good Transcode, BUT, any black “flash” will still occur, so it should only be used for testing purposes, unless one wants a 1-2 Frame black “flash” to appear there.


      In PrE, there is no Transparent Video, but it has something close, a Title. Just create a Title, and if you used a Template, remove all Text and all Shapes, so that you have what appears to be a black Frame in Titler. It is really Transparent. Use it, just like Transparent Video, to test for gaps.


      Some will contend that a gap in the video is not an issue. I had one Project, that I inherited, and it had been Transcoded successfully by the original editor. In the 8 hours, it had over 900 gaps. I went about fixing all of those, though I had yet to do my re-edit Transcode. However, I have seen a 1-Frame gap kill the Transcode, and when rectified, all worked well. Why? I have no idea. I would assume that a gap is a gap. Still, I always remove them.


      PrE has the ability to Close Gaps, BUT if there is underlying Audio, that spans the gap, then the gaps will NOT be closed.


      Ann Bens outlined a simple method for closing gaps, or at least finding them, in PrPro. Her method is outlined HERE.


      Often, one will start Transcoding, and then go and do something else. When they return, the progress screen is gone, and all they have is an error message. There is usually no info in that error message, as to where in the Timeline, things failed. One trick is to set up a video camera, focused on the progress screen, and record that. If there is a failure, one only has to go back to the video in the camera, and find the point, where the progress screen stopped. Pause the tape, or playback, and make note of either the %, or in PrPro, the Frame, where Transcoding quit. That is the general area to begin checking the Timeline.


      Also note that there could well be other problems in the Timeline, and Transcoding halted on the first. One might have to repeat the search for problems, as there could well be more, further along the Timeline.


      Hope that this helps someone,



        • 1. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
          the_wine_snob Level 9

          One additional note: If one has Audio, that extends beyond the end of the Video, they basically have created a gap at the very end. Even just a few Audio Units can cause issues, and if they do not on Export, the slighly longer Audio Duration can stop Transcoding while authoring to DVD/BD.


          To counter this, and to also address some other issues, I end each Timeline with 02 sec. of Black Video, and always end my Audio, within that Black Video Clip. As there is a difference in block size between some Transcoded Audio, and the accompanying Video, this also eliminates the possibility that the Audio file will have a very slight difference in Duration.



          • 2. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
            TheoRichel Level 1

            Well Bill, that clears up a lot. I particularly like it when you mix the troubleshooting of two programs in one piece. I find your solutions incredibly time consuming. I have experience with PE 4 and 7 on different hardware, and they are unformly negative. The functionality and user friendlyness are OK, but the stability is miserable. As said that goes for two versions on 4 different but powerful pc's.

            I used to work with all sorts of files, but now i make sure that only dv-files are used. It however doesnt make much difference. Especially rendering is an extremely unstable business. It does take hours if it works, and it takes many more ours if it doesnt which is alas the usual state of affairs. The only way to prevent a situation where you have to restart rendering time and again (and restart your pc) is by interrupting the rendering process every time it reaches 10% or 20 or whatever you like to try out and then save. It still takes a lot of time, but then one does at least get somewhere.


            This is apart from the memory low messages and crashes that can happen if one is not rendering or working with a completely rendered file.


            I have other Adobe software that works allright, but Premiere Elements sucks.

            • 3. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              Sorry that you are having issues.


              My suggestion would be to post to the appropriate forum, with the full specs. of your system, your Assets and your Project settings. This ARTICLE will give you tips on what info would be so very useful.


              And the reason that I mention both PrE and PrPro, is that while similar programs, there can be major differences between how each works, or does not, with certain material. It makes it easier on me to have one article, that covers both, so that I, and others, can link to one article. Also, as this is the sub-forum for PrE, that program gets much of the mention, with asides for how things work in PrPro, PrE's big-brother. I attempt to make the distinctions, where one process might work in one program, while it might not in the other.


              There are also many users of one program, that are contemplating moving to the other - either up to Pro, or down to Elements, and this helps them determine if something will work, should they migrate, and how it might work.


              Sometimes, it's a tough call, as a few of these articles are ONLY applicable to one program, or the other, but Steve Grisetti, the MOD here, has been very nice to let me post a few PrPro-only articles here, as there is no such forum in the PrPro hierarchy, though I have oft requested one.


              Please do post to the main PrE forum (if that is your program), as few problems go unsolved there. The regulars take it very personally, when they cannot solve the problems.


              Good luck,



              • 4. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                Also, if you are not looking for problem solving, then there is actually a sub-forum for that too, HERE.


                Good luck,



                • 5. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities

                  Bill, I did find your article insightful and helpful.  Still haven't figured out my particular transcoding issue, but now I have more knowledge and information with which to troubleshoot.



                  • 6. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
                    the_wine_snob Level 9



                    Good luck with your particular issue.


                    Sometimes, Transcoding can fail on gaps, on overly-large stills, odd Assets or other strange places. If one is lucky, the error message might give tips. In some other cases, if one watches the Progress Screen, they will get a % or completition, or like in PrPro, the actual Frame, that is faulting. This will at least give a starting point to begin examining the Assets on the Timeline at that point. Some Timelines can end up being like a good Sherlock Holmes mystery.


                    Good luck,



                    • 7. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                      One other issue can be a lack of defragmented free-space. Premiere (all flavors) generates some large working files - much larger, than would be assumed, just looking at the Duration of the Timeline. I feel that one needs between 30 - 50GB of defragmented free-space.


                      Note: as one approaches the HDD's capacity, the performance of that drive diminishes and quickly. This puts additonal stress on the HDD, and can contribute to failure. Also, as one fills up the HDD, defragmenting can become impossible. The defragmentation program needs space to move the files around, and AV files are huge. I always keep about 100GB defragmented free-space, as my minimum.


                      Good luck,



                      • 8. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
                        the_wine_snob Level 9

                        Along with these tips and suggestions, there are increasingly more reports of people having all sorts of issues with active, real-time scanning programs, like anti-virus, malware detection and pop-up blockers. When these were not real-time scanners, they just stole CPU cycles and other resources, slowing down the editing processes.Now, they will lock a file, while scanning it for issues, and this is on any read, or write, i.e. any time a program, the OS, or the user calls for an access to those files, the scanning software will lock it, and scan it. This locking first slows down all operations, and as the AV files, and the working files are very large, this takes time. The requesting program, or the OS, can time out waiting. Several users have reported hangs, and crashes with large AV files and the real-time scanning. There are two answers: get better real-time scanning anti-whatever software, that can be tuned to bypass certain file types, and especially media files, or to turn those programs OFF, when editing. As these are often one's last line of defense against viruses and malware, this also means shutting dowin one's Internet access, during the editing. No browsing the Web. No returning e-mails and opening attachments, but that is a small price to pay for efficient editing. Many users will just pick up an e-machine, to do those operations, while their editing computer is processing.


                        Good luck,



                        • 9. Re: Transcoding Fails - Some Possibilities
                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                          If one gets one of the "Error Compiling Movie," and Export/Encoding fails, perhaps this Adobe KB Article will be useful in pin-pointing the problem.