28 Replies Latest reply on Jul 15, 2009 5:20 AM by Steve Grisetti

    Imported videos are black

    Bruce Chastain
      I'm using the trial version of Premiere Elements 4 and trying to import videos taken with my Flip Video Camera. These are AVI files which I understand are MPEG4 encoded with the 3ivx MPEG-4 codec. The codec is installed on my XP SP3 PC and the videos play under a variety of media players including Microsoft Media Player and Nero.

      However, when I import the files in to Elements, the video screen is black except for the "trial" logo across the center. If I press play, I can hear the sound but the video remains black.

      Why won't Elements 4 play my videos when every other program does?

      Bruce.
        • 1. Re: Imported videos are black
          Level 1
          You'll have to convert the video to DV-AVI for Elements. I use Quicktime Pro to convert this file type, but if it opens and plays in Windows Movie Maker you can convert from that program.
          • 2. Re: Imported videos are black
            Bruce Chastain Level 1
            While DV_AVI seems to work, I don't find the resulting file sizes to be manageable. A 50MB file becomes 4GB. They don't make hard drives big enough to handle a large number of those file types.

            Surely there MUST be another better compressed format that Premiere will find acceptable?

            Is there a list somewhere of the compression types supported by Premiere?

            Bruce.
            • 3. Re: Imported videos are black
              Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
              Although the program can work with various codecs (depending on which you have installed on your computer) it ultimately uses a DV_AVI workflow, so everything you put in gets turned into a DV-AVI anyway -- even if you put in MPEGs and get out MPEGs.

              That's pretty much standard for PC-based video editors, both on Mac and Windows PCs,

              And, yes, there are readily available terrabyte (1,000,000,000,000 bytes) hard drives, which should hold several hours worth of DV-AVIs. For any serious editing, a 500 gig second hard drive is really pretty much requisite.
              • 4. Re: Imported videos are black
                Bruce Chastain Level 1
                Thanks Steve, but what PE does internally doesn't interest me. I'm only interested in the files that I have to store and feed it and the unnecessary extra step in processing and storing 2 sets of input files.

                So my question is still what compression standards are acceptable to PE? Is there a list somewhere?

                Bruce.
                • 5. Re: Imported videos are black
                  Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                  AVIs using the DV codec. DV-AVIs.

                  There is no other file format that is "smart rendered" (i.e., not converted to another file format before the program works with it).
                  • 6. Re: Imported videos are black
                    Bruce Chastain Level 1
                    That doesn't appear to be accurate. So far I've discovered 2 others by experimentation: Microsoft WMV files, and AVIs that use Microsoft MPEG-4 V3. I found this list in a review:

                    Formats MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, DV, AVI, Windows Media, QuickTime, JVC Everio MOD, 3GP, ASF, WAV, WMA, Dolby Digital Stereo, PSD, JPEG, PNG, DVD

                    The problem is that AVI is just a container so you have to know which compression standard was use to compress the video. So far I know 3ivx MPEG-4 does not work and Microsoft MPEG-4 V3.

                    Microsoft AVI MPEG-4 V3 file sizes are just a fraction of DV-AVI and appear very close visually.

                    So the question remains, since at least 2 forms of AVIs are supported (DV and Microsoft MPEG-4 V3) does anyone know of a complete list of the compression types (in AVIs) that PE supports for importing? (whether PE has to be converted or not doesn't concern me)

                    Why doesn't PE simply use the codecs I have installed?

                    Bruce.
                    • 7. Re: Imported videos are black
                      Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                      It seams the Microsoft AVI MPEG-4 V3 is simular to Divx 3, and Elements does not like Divx. Divx is not for editing just for viewing in a dvix player.
                      The only option left is to convert them to dv-avi.
                      • 8. Re: Imported videos are black
                        Bruce Chastain Level 1
                        Yeah, that's why I was so surprised that it seems to take Microsoft AVI MPEG-4 V3 AVI files quite happily, which is what I need.

                        Which is good, because I'm still in the Trial period and I'll buy a different program if AVI-DV was the only option for PE. There's no effective way to back up terrabyte drives so file that huge are out of the question.

                        Bruce.
                        • 9. Re: Imported videos are black
                          Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                          Dv-avi is not that huge only about 13 gig an hour.
                          • 10. Re: Imported videos are black
                            Bruce Chastain Level 1
                            Well, then I'm doing something wrong. I followed the FAQ here:

                            http://www.adobeforums.com/webx/.3bc11bfb

                            "To convert the AVI, simply open it in VirtualDub and Save As. This creates a new AVI in the requisite DV codec."

                            I downloaded VirtualDub and used it to convert a 50MB 3ivx MPEG4 AVI file and it created a 4GB DV-AVI file.

                            I'm not sure, but I think if follow those instructions literally, it's creating an uncompressed AVI. Perhaps AVI-DV files are supposed to be compessed using a AVI-DV codec? When I go to the compression option in VirtualDub, the default setting shows "uncompressed" and it doesn't list me having a AVI-DV codec.

                            BTW, here's a partial list I found. It's an old but I expect everything there is still supported.

                            http://kb.adobe.com/selfservice/viewContent.do?externalId=330733&sliceId=2

                            It mentions both Microsoft AVI Type and Microsoft AVI Type 2 as supported, and I tried Type 3 and it seemed to work well too.

                            If I need a AVI-DV codec, can anyone recommend one? My camera didn't come with one because it doesn't use AVi-DV.

                            Bruce.
                            • 11. Re: Imported videos are black
                              Bruce Chastain Level 1
                              BTW, the 3ivx file it converted from 50MG to DVI-AVI 4GB is 2 minutes long.

                              The camera bit rate is 4Mbits/sec so files get big fast.

                              Bruce.
                              • 12. Re: Imported videos are black
                                Bruce Chastain Level 1
                                Another note. As suggested earlier, I tried using Microsoft Movie Maker to convert my 3ivx files to DV-AVI. A 50MB file converted to just under 500MB. It's a 2 minute file. At that rate, DV-AVI will consume about 30GB per hour.

                                On the other hand, a Microsoft MPEG-4 V3 runs about 1.8 GB per hour, and is importable in to PE.

                                Bruce.
                                • 13. Re: Imported videos are black
                                  Level 1
                                  If you work on a large project with files other then DV-AVI (such as MPEG-4) you will most likely experience problems with elements; just read through the forum posts. If you want to use MPEG-4 you might want to consider an editor for that file type.
                                  • 14. Re: Imported videos are black
                                    Bruce Chastain Level 1
                                    Thanks. I'll keep that in mind. I'm sure some day I'll want to edit my movies but at this point all I'm doing is compiling multiple files in to a movie, creating menus, slideshows, and authoring a DVD with the result. I already have another program if I need to edit start/stop times of an individual segment. So editing the files isn't an issue at this point. I'm not sure if it ever will be.

                                    Bruce.
                                    • 15. Re: Imported videos are black
                                      Bruce Chastain Level 1
                                      I should add that at this point, using DV-AVI doesn't even seem to be possible. In their infinite wisdom, Adobe doesn't include a DV-AVI codec with PE, and I don't have one, so I can't create DV-AVI files even if I wanted to. I'm not about to buy a codec just so I can try out a Trial version of PE.

                                      Bruce.
                                      • 16. Re: Imported videos are black
                                        Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                                        Of course Premiere Elements includes a DV codec, Bruce. The entire function of the program is built on it!
                                        • 17. Re: Imported videos are black
                                          Bruce Chastain Level 1
                                          I meant a DV-AVI codec I can use to convert videos. What ever PE uses, doesn't show up in a list of installed codecs.

                                          Bruce.
                                          • 18. Re: Imported videos are black
                                            Level 1
                                            It was called "Movie" in the export screen in previous versions; not sure if it's still called the in v4.
                                            • 19. Re: Imported videos are black
                                              Bruce Chastain Level 1
                                              If you're talking about exporting from PE, that's not what I need. Everyone is saying I should convert my MEGP4 files to DV-AVI *before* I input them in to PE. My camera 3vix MPEG4 AVIs are not compatible with PE, so I need a separate utility to do that before I can import them to PE.

                                              The FAQ suggests using VirtualDub. It says to just open the file and "save as" and you'll have a DV_AVI file. That seems to work but it turns a 50MB file in to a 450MB file. It turns out that following the FAQ procedure leaves VirtualDub set at "uncompressed", so I assumed I needed a DV-AVI codec to enable DV-AVI compression.

                                              I've been unable to find a DV-AVI codec on the web that works with VirtualDub.

                                              So I tried this from 2 other angles. First, using Microsoft Movie Maker which unlike PE, will import my 3vix MPEG4 AVI files quite nicely and will create an output DV-AVI file. Microsoft Movie Maker has it's own internal DV-AVI converter so no external codec needed. The result is a 450MB file, again.

                                              Second, I tried to use VirtualDub to convert my 3ivx MPEG4 AVI files in to another AVI format that PE will import. By experimentaion, I found that if I selected the Microsoft MPEG-4 V3 codec with VirtualDub, it created AVIs that PE will import. Cool.

                                              Just for grins, I took your suggestion and used PE to convert the 60MB Microsoft MPEG-4 v3 AVI PE will import, to DV-AVI. In PE version 4, it's actually called DV-AVI in the menu so I know I'm creating that. Again, DV-AVI is apparently internal to PE since I don't have a external DV-AVI codec installed. Result? Another 450MB file.

                                              So the lesson here seems to be that VirtualDub had it right to begin with. If you leave it selected at uncompressed, you get a 450MB AVI. Microsoft Movie maker also creates a 450MB file. And now, PE also creates a 450MB file. All this for a 2 minute movie file.

                                              450MB for 2 minutes translates to 30GB per hour, an unacceptable file size. So my plan is to keep using Microsoft MPEG-4 V3 AVI files created by VirtualDub, since the Adobe documentation for PE 1.0 stated that Microsoft MPEG-4 V1 and V2 are supported, and my test shows that V3 now works too.

                                              Bruce.
                                              • 20. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                Level 1
                                                As long as it works that's all that matters.
                                                • 21. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                  Level 1
                                                  <Bruce_Chastain@adobeforums.com> wrote in message<br />news:59b5def3.18@webcrossing.la2eafNXanI<br /><br />> If you're talking about exporting from PE, that's not<br />> what I need. Everyone is saying I should convert my MEGP4<br />> files to DV-AVI *before* I input them in to PE.<br /><br />That's what works.<br /><br />> My camera 3vix MPEG4 AVIs are not compatible with PE, so I need a<br />> separate utility to do that before I can import them to<br />> PE.<br /><br />That's what works.<br /><br />> The FAQ suggests using VirtualDub. It says to just open<br />> the file and "save as" and you'll have a DV_AVI file.<br />> That seems to work but it turns a 50MB file in to a 450MB<br />> file.<br /><br />Pretty typical, maybe even a little better than some.<br /><br />> It turns out that following the FAQ procedure<br />> leaves VirtualDub set at "uncompressed", so I assumed I<br />> needed a DV-AVI codec to enable DV-AVI compression.<br /><br />A DV-AVI file is far from being uncompressed. Raw video is huge, especially <br />at HDTV standards.<br /><br />Do the math -<br /><br />1920 horizonal pixels<br />1280 vertical pixels<br />=<br />2,457,600 pixels per frame<br /><br />2457600 pixels x 3 bytes per pixel = 7,372,800 bytes per frame<br /><br />7,372,800 bytes per frame x 30 frames per second  = 221,184,000 bytes per <br />second<br /><br />221,184,000 bytes per second x 60 seconds per minute  = 13,271,040,000 bytes <br />per minute.<br /><br />That's over 13 terabytes per minute!<br /><br />> So I tried this from 2 other angles. First, using<br />> Microsoft Movie Maker which unlike PE, will import my<br />> 3vix MPEG4 AVI files quite nicely and will create an<br />> output DV-AVI file. Microsoft Movie Maker has it's own<br />> internal DV-AVI converter so no external codec needed.<br />> The result is a 450MB file, again.<br /><br />That's because DV-AVI is DV-AVI, You just did the same thing by two <br />different means and obtained the same results. This is actually a good <br />thing.  Under the covers, you were probably using the same coder/decoder <br />with either program.<br /><br />> So the lesson here seems to be that VirtualDub had it<br />> right to begin with. If you leave it selected at<br />> uncompressed, you get a 450MB AVI. Microsoft Movie maker<br />> also creates a 450MB file. And now, PE also creates a<br />> 450MB file. All this for a 2 minute movie file.<br /><br />450 MB sounds pretty good compared to 26 terabytes, no?<br /><br />;-)
                                                  • 22. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                    Bruce Chastain Level 1
                                                    Just to follow up, I was getting black video in PE because my codecs were screwed up and I didn't know it.

                                                    It started a couple of days ago. I noticed that when I played a DVD I made with PE, there was a ghosting of an image on top of the video. After much playing and frustration, I discovered it was doing the same on some commercial DVDs. So something was wrong with my Windows.

                                                    Suspecting a codec problem, and through a frustrating search for some kind of a codec manager, I at least found a progran that would list my codecs. In that list were codecs that were installed as part of Nero 8. I'd had nothing but trouble with that buggy piece of junk but couldn't figure out if the Nero MPEG2 codec was being used or not.

                                                    In frustration, I finally completely uninstalled Nero 8, but that had the rather unpleasant side effect of hosing the Microsoft MPEG2 codec, so now I couldn't play DVDs at all. Just great.

                                                    I spent many hours trying to figure out how to reinstall the Microsoft MPEG2 codec and finally gave up and reinstalled (on top, not from scratch) XP. Bingo, my DVD are playing again, and even better news, the ghosting is gone. Did I say Nero 8 is a piece of junk?

                                                    And here's the final kicker. PE will now read my Flip Video 3ivx MPEG4 files directly and no black screen! I don't have to convert them anymore.

                                                    So so the subject of this thread has been fixed and there was a happy ending after all. :-)

                                                    Bruce.
                                                    • 23. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                      the_wine_snob Level 9
                                                      Bruce,

                                                      Thanks for taking the time to post back, especially as you cured your problem. The interaction between CODECs and the various programs that use them can be a very shaky rope to walk. Robert Johnson has posted on a CODEC manager, that he's used and likes. I do not have a link handy, but you might want to search, and take a look at his recs.

                                                      This CODEC interaction is one reason that I stay far away from any CODEC "packs," as most are hacked, or reverse-engineered versions of the real thing, at best. I hate programs that load their own versions of CODECs without user interaction, especially as many will either overwrite, or change the priority of other CODECs that are installed and working properly.

                                                      I'm sure that your post back will help others in the future. Nice job of detective work!

                                                      Hunt
                                                      • 24. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                        Bruce Chastain Level 1
                                                        Thanks Bill for mentioning Robert's message about the codec manager. For some reason I didn't get the email alert and I almost missed seeing it. It popped up on a search after reading your note.

                                                        The programs he mentioned are extremely good and shed a lot of light on the subject of codecs. Being able to see exactly what codecs are used for video files is great. That would have made my Nero mess much easier to find than trial and error.

                                                        Bruce.
                                                        • 25. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                          Bruce,

                                                          I am having the same problem you had with your FLIP videos and Premiere Elements. Can you share what utility you used to review your codecs? Once you cleaned this up, where you able to use the FLIP videos in PE even with the 3ivx codec that gets installed with the FLIP?

                                                          Thanks!
                                                          • 26. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                            Paul_LS Level 4
                                                            Did you see this FAQ and link on installing the codec:
                                                            http://www.adobeforums.com/webx/.3c05aeab/0
                                                            • 27. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                              rjet50

                                                              The link you gave does not work!   We have the same problem.  Although videos work in just about every editing program we've tried.  Its a problem with how adobe is opening the mp4 file.  We pretty much gave up on premiere elements for flip editing it use to work version 2 - 6 but for some reason it does not work in 7 on vista.   Sony Vegas, Corel, windows movie maker, camtasia and others all work fine or imovie on the mac works without a problem.

                                                               

                                                              Let me know if anyone figures this out.

                                                               

                                                              Randy

                                                              • 28. Re: Imported videos are black
                                                                Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                                                                As stated in the FAQs to the right of the forum (and as I said way back at the beginning of this thread!), Premiere Elements will not work with video from Flip camcorders or most of the other flash-based hi-def cams. This is because these camcorders use proprietary MP4 codecs that are difficult to work with.

                                                                 

                                                                The FAQs offer the only solution, if you want to edit the stuff in Premiere Elements.

                                                                http://forums.adobe.com/thread/437535?tstart=0