11 Replies Latest reply on Sep 4, 2011 2:08 PM by SG in AZ

    What the heck is this AVI file?

    Ed.Macke Level 3

      The orignal source is from a security camera DVR (Lorex, if it matters).


      Lorex supplied a utility to convert the original source to AVI, but when I tried using it in PrE it choked. I've attached the gspot screen grab.


      Any hope for using this? Any other conversion utility you can recommend to get it into DV-AVI?



        • 1. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          It's an MP4 disguised as an AVI, Ed. You can try changing the suffix to .mp4 -- but that probably won't make it go either.


          It also appears to be a PAL tv format file with an odd frame rate.


          I would be very surprised if this file worked at all in Premiere Elements.


          I'd give Vegas Movie Studio HD a try. Or Ulead's Video Studio. You should be able to download free trials of each.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
            the_wine_snob Level 9



            That is a PAL file, with the H.264 CODEC, wrapped in an AVI container. Note: there are several variations of the H.264 CODEC, plus several suppliers of those. Some, like Apple's, Lead's and MainConcept, for example, are virtually identical, but some do deviate, within the H.264 specs. AVCHD is a version of H.264 - a sub-set, if you will.


            If you have a recent version of Apple's QT Player installed, you have the Apple version of H.264. The "CODEC not installed" indicates that either this version is not close enough to Apple's version, that Apple's is not installed properly or that G-Spot cannot find it, which seems unlikely.


            I would also run that file through MediaInfo, to see if you can get more information on the exact CODEC. If you have Apple's QT Pro, you can also Open that file (do a test play, to see if QT can read the file), and then hit Ctrl+J to view the Properties. QT Player probably has a Properties panel, but I would assume that it might be somewhat limited, and do not know if Ctrl+J brings it up. As I only have copies of Pro, I cannot even test for you.


            Good luck,



            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
              Ed.Macke Level 3

              Wow, a PAL format with an odd framerate using the H.264 CODEC in an AVI wrapper. I certainly seemed to have stumbled upon the platypus of the video world!


              Steve, Hunt: I'll try both of your suggestions when I get home tonight, thanks. Although it doesn't sound hopeful, does it?


              For what it's worth, the converted AVI plays just fine in VLC media player (the unconverted, original source - which has a .264 suffix - does not and its gspot is a nightmare with almost everything empty).


              Is there any way to convert this file to an accepted format, or do I need to fix the "CODEC not installed problem" first?

              • 4. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                the_wine_snob Level 9



                Platypus is an apt description.


                As for converters, some contain, or install, their CODEC's. Seems that Super does, but as I have never used it, am not sure. Others here will know. My chosen conversion program, DigitalMedia Converter 2.7, will not install any CODEC's, and does not have any of its own, so one MUST have the proper CODEC installed on the system.


                VLC Player contains its own CODEC's, so that is why it can play the file, though you do not have the necessary CODEC installed, per G-Spot. This ability to play so much "stuff" really fools a lot of people, as they cannot understand why VLC can play a file, but other programs cannot. It is because those other programs only use system CODEC's.


                Not sure which other NLE's might work (you will still probably need to install the H.264 CODEC, unless the NLE does so), but besides Steve's suggestions, also take a look at Magix MovieEdit Pro (also have/had a trial). It, like CyberLink, seem to handle a wider range of source files, than does PrE, or PrPro.


                My security system also did some funny stuff with the AVI files. I forget the details now, but there were several conversions involved to get that stuff into PrPro, when I needed to work with them. I hope to replace the unit soon, and will try to get a more edit-friendly output with the new unit. You don't need it often, but when you do, having to jump thru four flaming hoops, is not fun, especially when the police want the footage quickly!


                Good luck, and to satisfy my curiosity, please update this thread with what you do, and what you do it in.



                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                  Ed.Macke Level 3

                  Thanks, something tells me I'm going to need some luck!


                  Thanks for the info re: VLC internal vs. system CODECS - it certainly helps explains some things!!


                  One thought I had is that VLC has a "Save As..." function. I know VLC can read it, so if VLC can successfully do a "Save" (if memory serves, it's not the easiest thing to get working) I can basically use it as a poor man's converter.


                  If I have to try out another NLE, do you know offhand if any of them have restrictions like watermarks, saving output, etc.?


                  Well, I've certainly got some things to try... I'll let you know how I fare.....

                  • 6. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                    the_wine_snob Level 9



                    I have never used VLC Player to convert, so cannot comment on how well/poorly, it might perform the task.


                    As for the trials, I have zero experience in them. I cannot remember the last time that I downloaded a trial of anything, but it was years ago.


                    Sorry that I cannot help more here,


                    More good luck,



                    • 7. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                      nealeh Level 5

                      VLC can convert files:




                      You could also look at the VLC wiki: http://wiki.videolan.org/VLC_HowTo


                      Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                        Ed.Macke Level 3

                        Woo hoo. I figured it out.


                        Step 1. Convert the oddball AVI to WMV. Here is the GSpot info showing my starting point: the "platypus" - an H.264 CODEC inside and AVI wrapper with a 720x576 pixel at 30 fps.


                        I opened this file in VLC, and chose "Convert/Save". I left all of the defaults and chose an output format of "WMV + WMA (ASF)". As I remembered, the interface definitely had a couple of quirks and it took me a couple of tries to get it to actually save. Here's what I chose. You could click the "tools" icon to make some output file setting changes, but I just used the default.



                        Here is the GSpot of the output WMV:



                        I think this is a nice thing to have in your bag of tricks, because I think it means that if VLC can read it (and VLC can read almost everything) it can be saved as a WMV. If it worked with this weird input, I would think it would work with anything.


                        Step 2. Import into PrE


                        I was able to import the WMV into PrE, and that worked well enough, except:

                        • The WMV was half-size. The source file was It was 720x576, but the WMV was 352x240 (see GSpot, above). Odd. Not sure why that is, but given the oddity of the source file, I wasn't going to be too picky.
                        • I had the red line over the video. Not a big deal, but still...
                        I probably could have scaled up the image to be an appropriate size, and hit Enter to render, but I wondered if I'd have better luck with DV-AVI, so...
                        Step 3. Convert with Windows Movie Maker
                        I just opened the WMV in WMM, dragged it to the timeline, and saved as a DV-AVI. Easy peasy.
                        Here's the GSpot of the output file. Notice the dimensions are back to 720x480.


                        And then I was able to import that DV-AVI into PrE and everything worked great.


                        I'm not sure if this is the optimal workflow, but it seemed to work well enough.

                        • 9. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                          nealeh Level 5

                          Weird. I also note that the WMV -> AVI is now an NTSC file. I'll be interested to hear about the final rendered result as 720x576 -> 352x240 -> 720x480 will be doing a fair amount of re-rendering (original down rez. to WMV and then an up rez. to AVI).


                          Regardless if it works for you and you're satisfied with the results that's what's most important.


                          Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children

                          • 10. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                            Ed.Macke Level 3

                            Yeah, the odd part there is that 352x240 that VLC produced. Not sure why it would have done that, especially given that the input file was 720x576. Not sure where it came up with those dimensions, nor do I know if those dimensions are changeable.


                            IIRC, the Windows Movie Maker's DV-AVI setting had some reference to NTSC, so that's probably where that came from.


                            Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to tell from the video how good or bad this workflow is. The original source is horrible, grainy security camera DVR footage (it was pitch black, so the cameras were in black-and-white mode with the only light source the camera's infrared LEDs). So it's really hard to compare quality since the original and the final are both pretty bad.


                            For the record, the footage was of a horse delivering her foal a little after midnight.

                            • 11. Re: What the heck is this AVI file?
                              SG in AZ

                              Downloading from my Lorex Eco, I found either recording straight to the computer through the network or transferring the files over either through the network or on USB, I come up with either .avi files (direct record) or .264 files. Lorex's utility converts the .264 files to their .avi, as you have seen, but the ones recroded direct to the computer are also their format/codec (even in D1 at 29 or 30fps). My favorite utility, though slightly clunky, for reconverting these to .mpg (MPEG-II) files - which PrPro is fine with - is AnyVideoConverter, a freebie you can Google but I get either directly from them or another reliable download service. It has dealt with a lot of weird files I've never seen before. Just make sure you give it some kind of audio so Premiere can recognize it.


                              A note: I tried converting it to another .avi file with this utility and all PrPro saw was a (rather flat!) audio file. Are you capturing with audio or just video? (It's nice to sync the audio and video but nearly impossible using seperate audio from the DVR because of time-code differences.)


                              I think I may be doing some similar type of work to you. I don't know if you can PM me on these forums but if so, please do.