Not all AVI's are equal: Problem with AVI File - The Lowdown . Use the GSpot program (link in the article) to find out what your AVI file contains.
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I do not know about your particular Nikon, but they usually produce MJPEG files ("wrapper" can vary). If you were editing those, but cannot now, there are a couple of things to look into - after you see the article, to which Neale linked and report on the CODEC.
If they ARE MJPEG, it could be that some program has overwritten your original MJPEG CODEC.
It could also be that something, like an OS update, or hot-fix, has rendered your video driver obsolete. For this, just update your video driver from the mfgr's. Web site. I'd do the same for my audio driver too.
Good luck, and let us know what's inside those AVI files, please.
You are right. I opened my file in Quicktime, and looked in Movie Inspector, which confirmed they are MJPEG's (Open DMZ) (did not indicate the codec).
Then I searched on the internet for updates to my video and audio drivers, and found they are both up to date. So I guess I have to use GSpot to find the codec for that file, and download an update, unless you already know and can tell me. Or am I missing something, or is there another way?
There also may be one, that came on your camera's utilities disc. It might be separate, but more likely is also installed with the camera's driver, or with any editing/browsing utility. I'd poke around that disc first, and if the MJPEG CODEC is not separate, I would first reinstall the camera's driver, and test. If that does not restore your MJPEG CODEC, then I would reinstall the editing/browsing utility. Reboot after doing either/both.
It is likely that some program corrupted, or replaced your MJPEG CODEC. Did you install any other editing programs, or CODEC packs? Those would be the likely culprits. One of the biggest problems with CODEC packs is that they first install other programs, like FFDSHow (often creates problems with Adobe programs), or that they overwrite good, existing, commercial CODEC's and often with hacked, or reverse-engineered versions, some of which just do not work, or work well.
That's it! The problem manifested itself only after I downloaded a trial version of a Corel video editing product. But please confirm, even if I can play the file in Organizer or WMP without any problem, a missing or corrupted codec could still cause problems in a NLE video editor like PRE?
Well, there are differences between playing and editing, BUT if one has the proper CODEC, properly installed, AND the NLE can use it, things should work fine. What can happen, however, is that when a program installs a particular CODEC, it might not overwrite an existing one, but can change the priority of that CODEC, basically replacing the order, that the programs will use that particular CODEC. It could be that the players (the Source Monitor is but a mini-player) can use the one with the current priority, but PrE cannot.
This ARTICLE will give you a bit more background on CODEC's in general. A reinstall of the Nikon version should correct any priority issues.
Good luck, and let us know how things go,
Hunt, you should also point out that Premiere Elements isn't able to work with all codecs. And it's very common for Premiere Elements not to be able to work with MJPEG video. A conversion is usually necessary, as we note in the FAQs to the right of this forum.
I went to the Nikon USA web site, downloaded the latest drivers and software updates for my camera to my computer, and restarted the computer. No change.
Next, I followed a lead suggested by Steve's post. I opened Windows Movie Maker, imported an AVI file, then exported it to the computer as a DV-AVI file. That worked fine - the image appeared normal in Movie Maker. Then -- surprise! surprise! -- I reopened my Premier projects with the AVI files, and they all cleared up! Why this happened, can anyone hazard a guess?
Bill Hunt already explained what might have happened to the codec priority order... go back and re-read
You are correct. The CODEC's a Primer article mentions the ways that CODEC's can work (or not work) on a system, including with an NLE program for editing.
Some CODEC's will work only for decoding files for playback, while some will also work for playback and also for Export, and then a third will work for Import/editing, as well as the other two uses.
Also, the exact NLE will play a role. For instance, PrE and PrPro do not work with the Xvid/DivX CODEC's properly, if at all, while CyberLink's PowerDirector seems to be fine with that material. It all depends.
Now, PrE and PrPro install with a rather small set of CODEC's, but they are good ones. I do not know about the Corel NLE, but it is likely that it installs an MJPEG CODEC, and may well have manipulated the existing MJPEG CODEC in a bad way. Also, just because one MJPEG (in this example) works, does not guarantee that another MJPEG CODEC will do as well. That is why I always try to mention both the Morgan and the MainConcept ones.
Same thing with H.264. Three popular ones are Apple's, Lead's and MainConcept's. Some users have issues with Apple's, especially on Export/Share, while most users find that either the Lead, or MainConcept version of the same CODEC work for them better. Just have an H.264 (or other) CODEC does not guarantee that it will work with a particular NLE - one might work better than another, though they appear to be the same CODEC on the outside - H.264. This makes it very confusing for many users, as they assume that just having the named CODEC installed is all they need. Normally, it is, but there can be exceptions, and that is why I try to mention some versions, as one may be the magic bullet, while another just might not work.
All CODEC's are not created equal. This can be a problem with some CODEC "packs." They contain a lot of CODEC's, but few are the commercial versions, and are instead hacked, or reverse engineered variations. If any of these overwrite the commercial versions, that one has paid $ for, the user has lost $, though the CODEC pack was free.
Thanks to your comment, I think that I need to add a little bit to the CODEC article, to provide a bit more info on how some CODEC's with the same name, might, or might not, work in particular programs.
After reporting that my problems with AVI files mysteriously and unexpectedly cleared up, they just as unexpectedly reappeared. This time I took decisive action based on Bill's suggestions. I downloaded GSpot. I found that there were two MJPEG codecs installed: one from Microsoft, which I assume Adobe uses, and another from Samsung, maker of my video camera. Apologies to Corel for blaming them in previous parts of this thread, but I didn't expect the software for a Samsung video camera to include MJPEG, since it uses a different codec. Not wanting to muck around in the registry, I uninstalled the Samsung software, which I never used, ran a commercial registry cleaner program, and reopened GSpot to verify there were no longer any Samsung codecs installed. Now the problem is permanently fixed, and I know why it happened: random sort ordering of the codecs -- sometimes Microsoft came first, and sometimes Samsung. If Samsung was first, the the image in Elements was distorted.
Great detective work! Glad that you sorted it out and found the culprit.
Though you are now editing successfully, this is for others, who might come to this thread, and go looking for installed CODEC's. This ARTICLE outlines some "false positives" for issues with the Adobe CODEC's.
Good luck, and happy editing,