Problem with AVI file in PPro CS4 at
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Old June 26th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #1
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Problem with AVI file in PPro CS4

I hope you can help me with this one. I've been trying to figure it out for 2 days.

A client gave me a video that they wanted trimmed (certain scenes cut out). It's an AVI file that is about 1.5 hours long and only 833 MB so I know it's heavily compressed. I tried bringing it into Premiere Pro CS4, and it froze when trying to "create peak file" (the blue bar in the bottom corner). I thought that it might have to do with the codec so I tried converting it to something else. AME also froze up when I tried saving it as uncompressed AVI and Windows AVI. When I tried to convert it to MOV in AME it froze and got an error message.

I read on here that VirtualDub was a good program to use for fixing AVI files, so I installed that. I tried saving it as uncompressed AVI (142 GB!) and then importing that into PPro. It took forever but loaded properly. But when I play it in the timeline, the first few scenes play REALLY fast, while the audio plays at regular speed, for a few seconds then both video and audeo stop. I went back to VirtualDub and tried saving it as compressed with different codecs. All of them had the same effect in PPro. They all play properly in VLC and Windows Media Player (QT sent me to their site to download a DivX add-on) so the problem must be with the import process.

I am out of ideas!

Here is the file info from VirtualDub:
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Old June 27th, 2010, 12:54 AM   #2
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Sorry for your troubles. This should serve as a shining example why we try to steer people away from DivX and similar codecs. They are nothing but a headache down the road. I hope someone can help you get this sorted out. Or you'll just have to tell the client, sorry, can't do anything with your non-standard file.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 02:58 AM   #3
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Cineform also have .avi fix option (NeoHD-DHlink).
But I must say, maybe you could wait for a little... Premier sometimes takes a while to create Peak File for .avi - in my expirience it is normal to take up to minute or two for a 3 minute long video... So, how long did you wait, are you shure that it froze?
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Old June 27th, 2010, 05:27 AM   #4
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If all you need to do is trim the file, you may not need to bring PPro into this.

Open the file in question in VirtualDub. In the Video menu, choose "Direct stream copy" from the four options in the middle.

Now hold down the Shift key, and click and drag the playhead along the timeline until you reach your first edit point. When you reach it, press Home on your keyboard. Repeat the procedure to find the end of your edit, then press End. Holding Shift snaps to keyframes, which should allow successful trimming without any reencoding necessary.

Once you've got your selection, tap Delete to remove it from the timeline. Go through the process again to remove any more scenes you need to lose, then hit F7 to open the Save As AVI dialog. Find a location, use a new file name, click Save, and wait for the data copy to finish. That should be all you need!

If you want more precision in your cutting, you can drag the playhead without holding Shift, thereby giving yourself the ability to cut on any frame. This may, however, require reencoding, but will use what's called "Smart Rendering" in VirtualDub--as long as you're in Direct stream copy mode, or you're in one of the other three modes AND you have "Smart rendering" checked in the Video menu--where only affected frames will be reencoded (see the VDub help file, under Processing->Smart rendering, for details). You'll need a compatible codec installed if you need to go this route, but if I'm not mistaken DivX releases prior to version 7 are implementations of MPEG-4 Part 2, so the freely available XviD should suffice.

There's also a way of serving the file into a variety of applications without the 142GB uncompressed encode, but as it involves AviSynth and a plugin for same (making the process a bit more complicated) I think you'd be better off trying the VirtualDub method first.

Last edited by Robert Martens; June 27th, 2010 at 07:52 AM.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 08:12 AM   #5
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Why not use Lagarith, very good lossless codec.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 07:44 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone! I'm going to give Robert's suggestion a try (editing in VDub) If that doesn't work I'll try some of the others.

@Robi, I left PPro for nearly 2 hours and never got more than an initial sliver of blue in the status bar :(
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Old June 28th, 2010, 10:46 AM   #7
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I agree with Robert that if all you need is a simple trimming, it's better to do it in VirtualDub and skip Adobe all together.
There's a few points worth mentioning:

1.Download and install MediaInfo. It's a wonderful free tool that no editor should be without. It gives you detailed information about a video file's container, codecs, bitrate, ect. This will help you in the future to mark down what codecs do not play nicely in what software, and to give helpfull details about a problematic file when posting in forums.

2.I'm betting your rogue file has mp3 audio, and that's what's causing Premiere to freeze. Over the years I've found mp3 to be a very problematic codec for Premiere.

3.Note that in VirtualDub, you need to configure the audio separately from the video. If you click the "Audio" menu you'll notice that by default audio is set to "Direct stream copy". So even though you re-encoded the video to uncompressed, you still kept the original file's audio codec unchanged.

If you want, try this little test : load your original file in VirtualDub. Choose "Video -> Direct stream copy".
Choose "Audio -> Full processing mode". Choose "Audio -> Compression -> No compression (PCM)".
Choose "File -> Save as AVI".
This should not take long nor increase your original file size by much since you are only re-encoding the audio. I think this should solve your issues importing into Premiere.

Again, if in this particular case you only need simple trimming, Robert's method is the best - by keeping everything within VirtualDub you avoid lossy re-encoding! Premiere can only smart-render DV files, and should only be used if you need more complex editing.

good luck :)
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Old June 28th, 2010, 12:02 PM   #8
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Thanks Jon. I followed both yours and Robert's suggestions and everything seems good. I downloaded MediaInfo and you were right, the original had MP3 audio. I did all of my editing in VirtualDub already, but I'm going to see if I can now bring it into Premiere just to satisfy my own curiosity.

Thanks everyone!
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