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Old March 18th, 2011, 07:00 AM   #1
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Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

Hi folks,

I am converting quicktimes to avi, as this is the only format that can be played across the board in our workplace.

I'm using MPEG Streamclip and the video is fine on the avis but the audio won't play in Quicktime or Preview in Finder (MAC). It does, however, play the sound in VLC.

This isn't too much of a problem until people try playing it in the wrong app and get stuck..

It's set to MP3 as standard, and I believe this might be part of the problem. Can anyone confirm this and offer a solution (different audio encoding)?

Thanks
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Old March 18th, 2011, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

It is most likely a codec problem. AVI is a wrapper for lots of different codecs. Quicktime has a problem with avi's, you often get a link saying to download a codec when you try to play an avi on Quicktime....solution would be to use an audio codec that everyone has; can you encode the audio to .wav, for example?
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Old March 21st, 2011, 04:30 AM   #3
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

Hi Battle, thanks for the response.

In MPEG StreamClip, the choices are: MP3 (default), Uncompressed, IMA 4:1, MPEG4 AAC, AMR Narrow, MPEG 2 and No Sound.

(no wav).

The video always works fine with the AVI, if that's of any consequence..

Thanks
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Old March 21st, 2011, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

Have you considered using mpegStreamclip to convert to DV instead of .avi? DV should play nice on almost anything (except, I think, Windows Media Player); quicktime (IME) doesn't play nice with .avi's....I ran a quick test on .mov files from my Nikon d7000 and some old file clips from Canon and JVC cameras in .mov and converted them to dv in mpeg, they played fine in quicktime on my PC. I presume they would play on mac qt as well, but I am mac-less and can't test this....

It is possible to convert to .avi from Quicktime, at least on my PC version (QT Pro for Windows) and maybe that would work, also....but my version has Cinepac codec, I don't know if that came with qt or is the codec I have for other purposes...the problem, again, is having the proper audio and video codecs present in all versions of your players...you might like the dv quality, looks nice on my system, anyway...

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; March 21st, 2011 at 12:24 PM. Reason: elaboration
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Old March 31st, 2011, 05:43 AM   #5
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

Battle,

It ended up not being an issue because they weren't using Quicktime anyway (VLC and WMP) but I am still wanting a solution for the future.

I am stuck with using AVIs, but your idea of exporting from Quicktime software is a good one! Like you, I have cinepak codec as default, so maybe this is standard over both operating systems..

I am working on something else at the moment, but I imagine this would work (if exporting from QT - it should work in QT).. My initial test with a short video makes the image look SHOCKING. Pixelisation not seen since the Game Boy. Maybe I will take another look at the settings etc. when I get a sec.

Thanks
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Old March 31st, 2011, 08:36 AM   #6
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

If in doubt, uncompressed sound shouldn't have a problem via any player... it'll just be larger.

Run several samples with short in/out points (~10 sec) to find the video and audio codes that work best in your workplace.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 12:58 PM   #7
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

If you're saying your playback in QT looks bad, be sure to check edit > preferences > player preferences and be sure "use high quality video" is selected. I think it is deselected by default, and selecting it makes a big difference in the quality of the playback. I was throwing rocks at QT until I stumbled upon this....
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Old March 31st, 2011, 09:59 PM   #8
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

Excuse me for butting in, this may be a related issue; if not, just ignore it.

I have rarely (or perhaps never) been successful at playing .mov files on the Win/PC platform. I've tried VLC, I've tried a few different programs to convert them to WMV or to AVI. In almost every (or perhaps every) case, when I try to play the file (or the converted file), the machine locks up, and I get an error message that a driver has stopped functioning; yet I've checked and all my video drivers etc. are up to date.

{begin heresy mode} I suspect Apple likes to make their own standards that won't easily work with the rest of the world, then they can claim they are superior and trendy. Kind of like Micro$oft and their non-standards compliant versions of HTML. {end heresy mode}

Is there a good, universal, safe, successful solution to the above issue?

Thanks!
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Old March 31st, 2011, 11:57 PM   #9
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

The problems with playback in Quicktime are almost always codec related. You have to have the same codec that made the file. For example, the codec that makes hdv .mov files in final cut is not present in QT windows; but a functional substitute codec is available from a 3rd party vendor (in this case, http://www.calibratedsoftware.com/QXD.asp) The newer versions of QT windows do support Prores.

Also, it appears to me that every time Apple updates QT Windows it breaks something. I stopped at the last version that I know works perfectly on my system (7.6xx) and only download updates when there is a huge reason to do so. If a newer version has problems, you can download the older versions from Apple but you have to dig for them on their site.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 03:01 AM   #10
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

Yeah Battle is right about codecs, I started using Apple JPEG for speed and because they take up less space. But this is a lossy way to do things and I am finding that I have to re-calculate what I'm doing depending on the camera, the workflow and the destination/delivery.

My problem is related to yours, in that the audio portion of my AVI has a codec that is not being accepted by Quicktime and I am having trouble finding a suitable cross-platform one. This shouldn't be the case because I know practically every sketchy movie you can download are AVIs that seem to play everywhere..

I would go with AVI over WMV, just because you have better mac support.. What software are you using for converting?
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Old April 1st, 2011, 08:31 AM   #11
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Re: Converting Files in MPEG Streamclip - Losing Audio in Some Players

I'm not surprised that it's a codec issue... just massively annoyed. The failure mode (black screen followed by CGA resolution, necessitating a reboot) is a huge PITA.

I've tried converting with VLC which supposedly "will do anything." I've tried a few no-name programs called "MOV2AVI" and "MOV2WMP." And then I've given up. Luckily I do not absolutely need to see these files, so I've just chosen to ignore them.

It just grinds me that "the system" for dealing with codecs and various "container" extensions does not really work well. Seems to me that people who are creating content for "universal consumption" should be aware of these issues and should use some set of codecs / containers that will work reliably. The burden should not be on the intended viewer.
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