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Could it perhaps be a codec problem?
Indeed it could. You see a classic indicator of a missing codec. Even though you can't see it, import the footage into AE, highlight the clip, and look at the information at the top of the project window; you might be able to learn the codec (hint: AVI is NOT a codec, it's a media container).
Or you could look at the documentation for your camera to learn it. Imagine that, opening the manual! Will wonders never cease?
You can then report back on the codec for further instructions.
In any event DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES download the K-Lite codec pack. It is toxic to AE. If you get it, you will have to reinstall every bit of software on your machine INCLUDING the operating system.
Thankyou Dave i appreciate your help. The sarcasm wasent neccesary though, but no worrys i can see from your photo your a bit of a older gentlman so i understand. I have infact "read the manual" Infact thats the first thing i did. It did not help, but then again why would it? for its insignia brand. (cheap as dirt) Anyway .avi files still wont work but i switched the output to .Mov, and it works like a charm problem solved. i appreciate your help though.
Michael/ShadowPlay, while it's great that you found a workaround that's acceptable for you, I'd still think you would want to fix a fundamental problem with your system. While Dave may be a bit jaded about the liklihood of people reading their manuals (and, in his defense, the majority of people who post questions to these kinds of forums haven't read the manuals at all), the rest of his post was very useful and, if you answer his questions, we might be able to fix the problem your system clearly has.
So, the two things he brings up: what codec does your camera shoot in? And have you installed k-lite or some other codec pack?
> All other video files work fine but my camera (insignia HD) only exports in .avi, and .Mov, so to get any of my footage into After Effects i have to use other programs to render the video file into another type of file, which hinders my quality greatly, and i just don't have the time to do that. <
Ah, impatience. I don't understand that in you kids. When I first learned how to use AE it took a weekend to render 10 seconds of one effect on one layer. Anything better than that is like having an unholy demon in my Macintosh.
You might try dropping a note to the creators of those videos you admire. They should be happy to tell you, a blossoming filmmaker, how to use your camera. I've never heard of an insignia camera but I think you mean it shoots in AVI, not export to AVI. That would be an interesting function in a camera, an export utility. It probably shoots a highly compressed long GOP format that should be transcoded to a frame-based codec before you can use After Effects. Try looking up the wiki entry for AVI and you will see it is a 20 year-old legacy codec wrapping system that simply will not die. Surely the camera mfr's website can offer you some better help in moving your camera originals to a more robust codec? But there should be absolutely no degrading of your video when you transcode to a more useful codec. That is a fault in the settings you are using in your transcoding application.
LaRonde, bless his heart; he means well.