12 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2011 7:23 AM by Ed.Macke

    Oddball Video Format Too Small

    Ed.Macke Level 3

      My daughter's barn has a Lorex security DVR. It saves the video in some odd format (h.264?), but they do provide a tool for converting it to AVI. So I've done that.


      The first screenshot is the G-Spot for the resulting AVI file. It looks a little odd, but I can import it into PRE7 and it works (albeit with the red line above everything).


      But my problem is that the imported file only fills about half of the screen (see image below). I've tried right-clicking the clip and selecting "Scale To Frame Size", but that actually made it smaller!


      I tried scaling it to about 173% and got it took up the screen, but it didn't look that great.


      Is there any (easy) way to get the video to scale up to normal size and look OK? Bonus points if I can avoid having to press Enter to get the green line since I did that once and it look like it was going to take many, many hours to finish. Something with the PAR?


      I had some success with running it through VLC and converting it to WMV and using MovieMaker to convert to DV-AVI. Decent quality at normal size, but VLC is very flaky when trying to do the conversion and it doesn't always work, plus it adds another 2 steps to every file which is more work than my lazy self wants to do



        • 1. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          It's not likely MovieMaker will be able to convert it, Ed.


          Which project settings did you use in Premiere Elements? As you can see, this is just a standard definition AVI that happens to use the H.264/mp4 codec.


          The challenge is that Premiere Elements doesn't have a project preset that matches that type of video. You might be able to use one of the DSLR 640x480 presets in version 9 -- but even that is going to be a rough fit. Worth a try though.


          Ideally, you should get Quicktime Pro from Apple ($29). If you change the suffix on this video from .avi to .mp4, Quicktime Pro will likely be able to open it -- and then it will be able to convert it to a DV-AVI, which you then can edit in Premiere Elements.

          • 2. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
            Ed.Macke Level 3
            function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

            It's not likely MovieMaker will be able to convert it, Ed.


            You are correct about that, sir. I tried it, and MM said it can't read the file (I did not try changing the suffix to MP4 and using MM... not sure if that would "trick" it).


            But that's OK, because my goal here is to as few conversions as possible. Here's what I was doing:

            • Convert the native h.264 -> AVI (using the Lorex conversion software)
            • Convert the MP4 AVI -> WMV (using VLC)
            • Convert the WMV -> DV-AVI (using Movie Maker)
            • Import the DV-AVI to PRE


            But besides being time-consuming, the VLC has (admitted) bugs in the WMV conversion, so the WMVs it created weren't always correct (e.g. file should be 15 minutes long but was only 3 minutes, even though file size was correct for 15 minutes). Also, I typically have to convert 4 or 5 files for each project, making the whole process even grueling.


            Ideally, I'd like to just import the native h.264 file into PRE (v.7, BTW) but that doesn't seem to work. So I'm trying to make the whole conversion process as painless as possible. Here's what I had done that resulted in the files in the original post:

            • Convert the native h.264 -> MP4 AVI (using the Lorex conversion software)
            • Import the MP4 AVI to PRE


            It "works", except as I said the red line above the clips and the fact that it's too small.


            function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

            Which project settings did you use in Premiere Elements?

            Hmm. The same one I always use for regular ol' Digital 8 DV-AVI projects. I forget the details.


            function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

            Ideally, you should get Quicktime Pro from Apple ($29).

            I'll check into that. If it will (easily) do the conversion I want, it would be worth it.


            I wonder what do you think the odds are it would be able to read the native h.264 and output DV-AVI - that would be fantastic! Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to offer a trial version...

            • 3. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
              Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

              Have you tried the project setting I recommended above?


              (Also, before you bring your video into your project, go to Edit/Preferences and ensure Scale to Frame Size is unchecked.)


              If the preset I recommended doesn't work, I'd recommend you consider different video editing software. Premiere Elements tends to be software that either works with a video format or it doesn't. And, if it doesn't, you'll drive yourself crazy trying to make it so.

              • 4. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                Ed.Macke Level 3

                Steve, no I didn't try the project setting. I'm not at my computer, but I only have PRE7 so I'm not sure it will have the DSLR project settings. I'll look when I get home. I'll also double check the preferences, too. Thanks for the suggestions.


                I'd like to get this working with PRE - I'm doing it as a favor for folks and don't want to have to buy new software for just this one-off thing. Basically I just want to take these oddball DVR files and burn them as a (video) DVD.


                Do you know if I can play the file with the free version of QuickTime, is it a fair assumption that QuickTime Pro would be able to save it as DV-AVI?

                • 5. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                  Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                  Yes, that's very likely!


                  And you're right: Version 7 certainly doesn't have the DSLR project presets.

                  • 6. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                    VDOSurfer Level 3

                    I'd suggest that you use an PAL DV project settings, import this clip in it and then go about converting this to any required format. The resolution will not be an issue and hence the frame will cover the entire screen.


                    But the codec you mentioned is H264, not the strength in any version below Premiere Eements version 9. So.. you are better off trying to use QT to convert it to a format that PrE understands (PAL-DV-AVI) and then do your edits to burn to a DVD.


                    Also, I will try to stay away from that camera.. It is not a standard format and resolution combination and you will run into other codec related problems (encoding, burning, playback etc) in any editing software

                    • 7. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                      Ed.Macke Level 3

                      Well, it looks like QuickTime is a bust. When I try to open the .AVI, it says "additional software is required to play this file, etc", I guess meaning a codec isn't available? I changed the extension to .MP4, and then it just fails altogether saying it's not a file that it recognizes.


                      So Windows Media Maker and QT cannot use the file (whether AVI or MP4 extension). VLC can play it just fine, but is flaky as a croissant is converting it to DV-AVI. And PrE can use it, with the aforementioned problems. Odd, since GSpot is reporting that the codec is installed.


                      I also noticed GSpot had a "Proposed Codec Solutions and Tests". It looks like only one thing worked. I'm not really sure what I'm doing here, and I'm not sure where that ffdshow codec came from - I seem to recall hearing not-so-good things about having those installed on your machine? Nor do I understand why WMM and QT can't use the ffdshow codec?


                      VDO, I'll try the PAL setting and see what happens. Unfortunately, I can't stay away from the camera - it's video captured by a security DVR so I either have to deal with it or not do the project at all.



                      • 8. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                        Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                        Unfortunately, that gets us back to the beginning. That DVR apparently uses a non-traditional or even a proprietary codec that virtually no program recognizes.


                        So, I'm sorry, Ed. I'm afraid I'm out of ideas. (Unless the DVR or its web site offers to let you download additional software that might supply the codec.)


                        I hope someone else can come up with a solution.

                        • 9. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                          Ed.Macke Level 3

                          That's OK, I kind of knew it was a long-shot.


                          The thing I don't understand, though, is if GSpot is reporting that a codec is installed and available, why are WMM and QT unable to play the video.


                          I did download a Lorex "player", and I *think* that it was saying that it installed codecs, but the info was kind of sketchy.

                          • 10. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                            John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Your 1st posting, with Gspot, indicates AVI inside H264... I ran across this at PPro...


                            H.264 NOT inside AVI http://forums.adobe.com/thread/854115?tstart=0


                            AND a solution that might work for you

                            • 11. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                              Ed.Macke Level 3

                              Thanks, John, I was excited for a minute, but no go. The FFmpeg didn't recognize the file. I think I could get it to using the ffdshow codec, but unfortunately FFmpeg doesn't allow you to specify your own codec - you either use the built-in ones or none.


                              One road lead to another, and I eventually found a program called MPlayer / MEncoder that looked like it recognized the input file and might be able to do the conversion to MP4, but it's not its strong suit, plus at the end of the day, I'd just end up with the file in MP4 at the same size.


                              As it is now, even though it's a funky format, PrE will read the file and it burns to DVD, it's just in a non-full-frame format.


                              Any of these multi-step conversion dealies would have to result in a full-frame file that PrE recognizes or I'm not really buying myself anything, you know?

                              • 12. Re: Oddball Video Format Too Small
                                Ed.Macke Level 3

                                Just FYI, I tried the PAL settings and got the same results as with the NTSC


                                Thanks to everybody for the suggestions. It sounds like it's just too odd of a format to work properly. But the good news is that it *does* work, just not full-frame. I can always enlarge it to be full-frame, it just doesn't look as nice.