16 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2013 12:12 PM by A.T. Romano

    Video playback looks pixelated and blocky

    nigelburrell Level 1



      I have just installed PE 8 on my PC and I have an nVidia GeForce 7950 GT graphics card installed (with the latest driver).


      When I playback fully-rendered AVI video in the desktop monitor from the timeline in 'Enable GPU playback' mode the video appears rather pixelated and blocky (undesirable), although the playback motion is smooth. If I playback the same video from the timeline after I disable GPU playback the video now appears crisp, however the playback motion is choppy.


      Obviously I'd rather use 'Enable GPU playback' mode to make full use of my graphics card but the quality of the video is noticeably worse than not using it. Strangely enough, if I scrub through the timeline, the video looks crisp, but when I hit the space bar to playback video automatically, the video appears pixelated again. This occurs on fully-rendered video and even without any transitions or effects being applied.


      This does not happen when using Adobe Premiere Pro or Microsoft Movie Maker (which I also have installed). Playback in Adobe Premiere Pro looks far more crisper and smooth playback too.


      I have also looked through the recommended video quality guideline under the Premiere Elements 8 support and help.


      How can I achieve crisp video playback in PE 8?



        • 1. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          What type of camcorder is your AVI coming from and how did you get it into your computer? What Premiere Elements project settings are you using?


          When you add these files to your timeline, do you see a red horizontal line above them? If so, you have a mismatch of source file and project setting.


          How are you playing back your video? You're not looking at it full-screen on your computer, are you? Computer screens have many times the resolution of video and any video played at full-screen on a computer is going to look pixelated.

          • 2. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
            nigelburrell Level 1

            Hi Steve,


            The AVI video source is DV PAL at 25 fps (I live in New Zealand and we use the PAL TV system here) and was imported from my Sony mini-DV PAL camcorder using Adobe Premiere Pro and plays back perfectly in this application, and others, such as Windows Media Maker. I've created many projects in Adobe Premiere Pro using video from this camcorder and playback looks crisp. I'm only now using PE 8 because the screen layout is much nicer to work with on my PC (and the software version is currently supported by Adobe). The video also plays back ok in PE 8 but only when I have the 'Enable GPU playback' setting turned off, although video motion is a little choppy because it's using the CPU instead of the processing power of the nVidia graphics card. When I turn on the GPU playback (and then exit and restart the application as advised) the video playback is more pixelated but the video motion is restored.


            I can confirm the project settings in PE 8 match the video source, DV PAL (25 fps) because when I add files to the timeline there aren't any red horizontal lines above them. In other words, the video doesn't need rendering beforehand, unless I apply effects or transitions which still doesn't improve playback quality. Also, I use the playback monitor inside PE 8 which takes up about 20% of the screen space of the entire working area - not full-screen playback because I understand the video quality can look much worse in full-screen mode. But even using the same playback monitor size in Adobe Premiere Pro the playback looks much crisper.


            Interestingly enough, when I srub back and forwards through the video using the CTI line (when GPU playback is on) the video looks crisp, but the moment I hit Space or Enter the video playback quality is pixelated. This is very frustrating... the question I have is, why the difference? Why would PE 8 show crisp video as I use the scrub technique but then show pixelated video quality when the application plays it back normally from the timeline?



            • 3. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
              nealeh Level 5

              Burn the project to a DVD and see what it looks like on a real TV / DVD Player. The preview window can be very misleading depending on settings not just in PRE but also in Windows in general. One of the most common setup errors I see with modern displays is where users have not set their screen resolution to the native resolution of the display.


              Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children

              • 4. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                I agree with Neale. The only way you'll know for sure if the program is doing its job is to output a DVD and watch it on your TV.


                From everything you describe, it sure sounds like an incompatible video card driver. I assume you've updated to the latest from the ATI or nVidia site.


                But are you using a 64-bit operating system (like Windows 7 64-bit)? It could well be that the driver is not yet fully compatible with this 32-bit program.


                In any event, the problem is clearly somewhere in the card's driver.

                • 5. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                  Several users in other fora have found that some of the latest ATI/AMD Catalyst drivers are not working well with Win7 and other Adobe programs. Several have found that rolling back to earlier drivers does the trick. One user had to go back about 3 - 4 versions, to get good playback. Might be worth a bit of testing with earlier versions?


                  Good luck,



                  • 6. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                    nigelburrell Level 1

                    The 'pixelated video playback' problem is only during playback from the timeline in the playback monitor window, and only when I have 'Enable GPU playback' selected. I can disable GPU playback, but the playback monitors shows crisp but choppy video instead (the frames aren't as smooth), and besides, I want to make use of the GPU playback via the nVidia graphics card because non-GPU playback uses valuable CPU resource.


                    If I burn the project to DVD or compile to DV AVI file, the video looks great!


                    I'm using Windows XP, SP3, and the nVidia drivers are definitely up to date (I did this only a few weeks ago when I saw the pixelated video playback after installing PRE 8). And I am definitely using the native screen resolution recommended for my card and LCD monitor, so there's no problem there. It plays crisp and smooth video in the playback monitor on Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro 2 using GPU playback, just not in PRE 8.

                    • 7. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                      nealeh Level 5

                      Well there is some good news there - the problem is contained within PRE play back.


                      Here are some basics that, if not already done so, you should do (I've scratched graphics drivers as you said you have already updated them):


                      • Install all Windows updates
                      • Install latest version of QuickTime (v7.6.6 at time of writing)
                      • Install most recent graphics and sound drivers from the manufacturers web sites
                      • Run Disk Cleanup
                      • Run Defragmenter
                      • Post back here with the necessary information described here: Got a Problem? How to Get Started


                      Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children

                      • 8. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                        Mariposa416 Level 1

                        I have having just about the same exact problem. I created a video using Adobe Photoshop CS5. In photoshop, the video is crisp and clear. After I export the video into an "MP4 H.26 Best quality 30 or 48 fps 1920x1080 HD" video, part of the video looks clear, but as soon as the movement occurs, the picture becomes pixelated. I've tried everything that ia can think of. I have a still picture in the back ground. There is rain coming down from the top, an object moves across the bottom, and another object "floats" in the air (little up and down movement). Before the rain comes down, eveerything is clear. Even after the rain comes down, the movement across the bottom is clear (a video loop from videoblocks.com). But after the rain starts to come down, the stil background image begins to look pixelated, and the "floating" object becomes blurry as well. At first I thought it had something to do with the way I had the rain come down...but in photoshop, the playback is very clear. Does anybody have any idea how i can save this video without it looking this way? I need an answer asap, PLEASE.


                        Thank you!!!!



                        • 9. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                          A.T. Romano Level 7



                          What version of Premiere Elements are you using and on what computer operating system it is running? But, from what you wrote, this seems to be an Adobe Photoshop CS5 issue related to the generation of the H.264.mp4 video from that specific product.


                          Even within a given product line, problems with the same symptoms can (often do) have different causes. And, when you introduce products from two different lines, the variables increase.


                          But, I would offer that you look at

                          a. source media that went into the Photoshop CS5 project

                          b. what project presets were used, if applicable

                          c. where there opportunities for video field options

                          d. what were the full details of the Photoshop CS5 export settings.


                          You may want to post your question in the Photoshop CS5 Forum unless someone here works with video in that program as well as Premiere Elements, the focus of this forum.


                          Just my take on the matter.



                          • 10. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                            Mariposa416 Level 1

                            The only reason I replied to this Forum was because the person was having the same issue as me, just with a different product. I only have Adobe Photoshop CS5. I gave the settings I use. I want to know how I should change my settings. I may be creating the video all wrong or using the wrong product. I had a photoshop file with layers. I wanted the rain to fall out of the sky, so i made a video with the raindropd falling at a tween of 20 and I had like 380 frames after that. I could figur out how to get another layer to  move at a different pace, so I exported the video (many times until i could get it as clear as possible). Then i added the video back in, and added in another layer (the one that was floating in the sky). No matter which setting I used to export the video, it wasn't as crisp as I was looking for. I exported the video and iserted it back in for the movement across the bottom. That came out really clear (but it came from http://videoblocks.com). Do you or anyone else know which is the best settings for me to use in Photoshop CS5? Or is there another program i could use to makke clear videos?

                            • 11. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              >only have Adobe Photoshop CS5


                              You should ask in the Photoshop forum http://forums.adobe.com/community/photoshop

                              • 12. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                                Mariposa416 Level 1

                                Thanks, but right after i posted the first response, I also posted one in the photoshop forum. I figure I'll get help somewhere. lol I need the help asap. This video needs to be done before sunday (when it's due).

                                • 13. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                                  A.T. Romano Level 7



                                  I do not have Photoshop CS5 so I cannot road test your situation, but hopefully someone in the Photoshop CS5 area can.


                                  Nonetheless, I will try to give you some 2nd hand information if all else fails. Unfortunately your prior details are not enough when it comes to settings and the way you set up the project.


                                  You wrote

                                  After I export the video into an "MP4 H.26 Best quality 30 or 48 fps 1920x1080 HD" video,


                                  For now I am assuming that you have a 1920 x 1080 file @ 30 or 48 frames per second...are those frames progressive or interlaced. And, if interlaced, Upper or Lower Field First? The file extension appears to be .mp4 which represents the wrapper format (container for the video and audio compression). So, what is the video and audio compression that goes along with the export as a .mp4 file?


                                  The usually frame rates that ones see is 25 (PAL), 29.97/30 (NTSC), and 24 frames per second. Why the choice of 48 frames per second for you? Is your issue made better or worse with the 48 frames per second choice?


                                  If you want to get a look at the properties of your video, you might look into MediaInfo.


                                  More later. Please let us know if the Photoshop CS5 people had an immediate answer for you. If not, I will do a crash course in Photoshop CS5 and its video exports to see if I can find some direct answers to your issue.






                                  Add On....


                                  If you have interlaced video, in Photoshop CS5, is there an option in the export settings for "deinterlace". Lots of questions that should be answerable by a Photoshop CS5 user.

                                  • 14. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                                    A.T. Romano Level 7



                                    If you have not read the following Adobe document on Photoshop CS5 and its video exports, please do so.



                                    Do you have Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop CS5 Extended. Check out "Specify QuickTime Movie Settings (Photoshop Extended CS5)" toward the end of the document.


                                    Have you consider alternative software for this project?



                                    • 15. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                                      Mariposa416 Level 1

                                      Thank you so much for trying to help me


                                      Yes I  have a 1920 x 1080 file. I heard that was best for HD on TV screens...


                                      I am at 30 or 48 frames per second (I read that 24, 25 (or 26), and 30 was default...but life like videos have used 48) They look the same for me, but 48 takes longer to export than 30. When I "tween" the selected frames, I use between 15-30 (but mostly 20). That is how many frames it takes to go from point A to point B. I think the more frames perr movement either the slower the image moves or either the smoother the image moves, but I could be wrong, becasue I don't know how to adjust how fast and slow the images move.


                                      I know this may seem strange, but I have no idea what "progressive" or "interlaced" means. I'll have to look those up.


                                      I'm not sure what you mean by audio and video compression, but i created images using photoshop, and i wanted them to move. Not simple like a GIF, but like a smal cartoon (or advanced GIF). I got a video loop off the internet. And I don't know how and if i can import audio using photoshop, so i was just going to use windows live movie maker. I have windows 7.


                                      If you want to get a look at the properties of your video, you might look into MediaInfo.


                                      The Photoshop CS5 people responded once...


                                      He said,

                                      "That will be nearly impossible. Sorry, it's inherent in how any MPEG-based compression works and you can even see it on commercial DVDs and Blu-Rays. Fine high-frequency spatial noise is a quality killer as is combining completely static areas with moving ones. It will improve if you increase the output data rates at the cost of potentially getting choppy playback, but it will never go away completely. You would have to even out the motion, i.e. use an animated background, let your static elements move ever so slightly and potentially reduce the amount of rain."


                                      So far he hasn't said anything back yet.


                                      I would love to find out what do do soon. I'm very talented, but I don't know alot of what I'm doing...lol It just happens to work out really well when I do it. I could be using the wrong software. I just want to create a nice video with video loops (moving backgrounds) and sound and text. Like and ADVANCED upgrade to a powerpoint movie. It's more on the lines of a teaching video (but not a boring one).

                                      • 16. Re: Video playback looks pixelated and blocky
                                        A.T. Romano Level 7



                                        I suspect (focus suspect) that you may be having an interlace type problem. But, take a look at the following which is a good article to get a handle on the concepts of interlace and progressive video.



                                        Would need more information on the source properties that are going into the production of the Photoshop CS5 export. But, for now, if you can, stay with

                                        1920 x 1080

                                        29.97 progressive frames per second

                                        AVCHD video compression, AAC audio format Stereo

                                        and a .mp4 file extension


                                        If Photoshop CS5 lends itself more to the QuickTime format, then see what you can put together for

                                        1920 x 1080

                                        29.97 progressive frames per second

                                        H.264 video compression, Audio Uncompressed Stereo


                                        Also, go over that Adobe document on Photoshop CS5 video exports.


                                        More later if necessary.