Use this document to resolve problems that occur in Adobe Premiere Elements 7 when you import or play video files.
If an imported video file exhibits basic playback issues, then go to Troubleshoot Project and File-Interpretation Settings. Basic playback issues include stuttering or flickering, or video that appears blurry, fuzzy, pixelated, stretched too wide, or squeezed.
If an imported video file exhibits more serious playback issues, then go to Troubleshoot file formats and codecs. Serious playback issues include upside-down video, no video, no sound, video distorted by colored blocks or stripes, or playback that ends prematurely.
If Adobe Premiere Elements freezes, closes, or returns an error when you import or play a video file, then go to Troubleshoot file formats and codecs.
If you are working with any of the following video types, then also see Notes about specific kinds of video file:
- MPEG-2 or VOB files
- video files recorded with a digital still-image camera
- video files from an ultra-compact tapeless camcorder
- video files purchased from an online media store,
Troubleshoot project and file-interpretation settings
Complete the solutions in this section in order. After you complete each solution, test the playback of your imported video files in Adobe Premiere Elements. If your imported files still play incorrectly after you have completed all the solutions in this section, then go to Troubleshoot file formats and codecs.
A mismatch between an imported file and the settings for the Adobe Premiere Elements project you are working on can cause playback issues. For example, widescreen video files look squeezed if you use them in a nonwidescreen project. Standard-definition files look blurry if you use them in a high-definition project.
Knowing basic information about an imported file helps you choose appropriate project settings. Right-click a file in the Project view and choose Properties. The Properties window shows the file's frame size (as "Image Size"), frame rate, and pixel aspect ratio.
To create a project and choose project settings, do the following:
For more information about project settings, see "Project settings and presets" in Adobe Premiere Elements 7 Help.
Rendering previews can improve the smoothness of playback of imported video files that you have placed on the Timeline or Sceneline.
To render previews of clips within the Work Area on the Timeline, do one of the following:
- Press the Enter key.
- Choose Timeline > Render Work Area.
For more information about rendering previews, see "Render an area for preview" in Adobe Premiere Elements 7 Help.
Use these additional methods, as applicable, to correct playback problems that Solutions 1 and 2 don't solve.
- If an imported video file does not fill the frame or appears zoomed-in, then select the clip on the Timeline or Sceneline. Choose Clip > Video Options > Scale to Frame Size.
- If an imported video file appears squeezed too narrow or stretched too wide, then Adobe Premiere Elements could be misinterpreting the file's pixel aspect ratio. You can assign the correct pixel aspect ratio by using the Interpret Footage command. For instructions, see "Adjust pixel aspect ratio for a still image or source clip" in Adobe Premiere Elements 7 Help.
- If an imported video file plays too fast or too slow, or if its playback is stuttered after you've rendered previews, it's possible that Adobe Premiere Elements isn't interpreting the file's frame rate correctly. You can assign the correct frame rate by using the Interpret Footage command (right-click a file in the Project view and choose Interpret Footage).
Note: Playback is stuttered if the video was recorded at a low frame rate (approximately 15 frames per second or less).
- If an imported interlaced video file plays with jagged edges or thin horizontal lines ("combing") on moving objects, or if it plays with a flicker, it's possible that Adobe Premiere Elements isn't interpreting the file's field order correctly. You can assign the correct field order by using the Interpret Footage command (right-click a file in the Project view and choose Interpret Footage). Additional tools for correcting field-order problems are available in the Field Options dialog. For instructions on using the Field Options dialog, see "Set field options for imported interlaced video" in Adobe Premiere Elements 7 Help.
Troubleshoot file formats and codecs
Video-recording devices and video software applications encode files in a specific file format, such as AVI, QuickTime (MOV), Windows Media (WMV), and so on. For a list of the file formats that Adobe Premiere Elements 7 supports, see Supported file formats in Premiere Elements 7 (kb409040).
Some video file formats--including AVI and MOV--are container file formats. The data inside these container files is encoded according to a particular codec. Codecs are algorithms for compressing video and audio data. Many different codecs exist.
For example, an AVI file can be encoded with any of the following:
- the DV codec (used by camcorders that record to miniDV tapes)
- a commercial codec (such as DivX)
- a Motion JPEG codec (used by some still-image cameras that have "movie" modes)
- any one of the many other codecs.
Adobe Premiere Elements isn't always able to decode video files that were created with a poorly designed codec or a codec that is not installed on your computer.
Knowing the format and, when applicable, the codec of the files you are working with assists you in using the following solutions. To gather this information, do one or more of the following:
- Open the file in Apple QuickTime Player and choose Window > Show Movie Inspector.
- If the file is from a camcorder, camera, or other video-recording device, then see the device's documentation. Or locate the device's specifications on the manufacturer's website.
- Open the file in a third-party application that analyzes media files, such as MediaInfo or GSpot 2.70.
Some video files are encoded with codecs (DivX, Xvid, 3ivx, and so on) that are not installed by default with Windows or Apple QuickTime. You can download and install additional codecs on your computer. For example, to play DivX-encoded AVI files, you could download and install the DivX codec.
Installing a required codec usually enables you to use media-player applications, such as Windows Media Player, to play files that were created with that codec. It can also enable correct playback of those files in Adobe Premiere Elements.
However, installing a codec doesn't necessarily resolve problems in Adobe Premiere Elements that occur when you import or play files created with that codec. The technical requirements for editing video files are more stringent than the requirements for playing video files. You sometimes have to transcode problematic files (see Solution 6).
Codecs are available from codec publishers' websites.
Important Note: Only download codecs from established, verifiable software publishers. Avoid downloading "codec pack" software. Installing a new codec can cause some video or audio files to become unreadable. Back up all your files before you begin.
If you experience problems importing or playing files of the same format but from different sources, then the problem could be a poorly designed codec. It could also be because multiple codecs are installed for the same video format. These situations can cause codec conflicts.
To resolve codec conflicts, disable or remove third-party codecs.
To remove some third-party codecs--particularly "codec pack" downloads--use Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel (Windows XP) or Programs and Features in the Control Panel (Windows Vista).
Not all codecs can be removed using the Control Panel. For instructions on how to disable or remove other installed codecs, see these TechNotes:
Use other software to transcode (convert) video files that cause problems when you try to import or play them in Adobe Premiere Elements. Then import the transcoded files.
You can transcode a file within the same format (for example, transcode a 3ivx-encoded AVI file into a DV-encoded AVI file). Or, transcode it into a different format (for example, transcode a VOB file into an AVI file).
To preserve image quality when you transcode a video file, choose an uncompressed or low-compression output option in your transcoding software.
Below is a list of some of the Windows applications that can transcode video files. Other transcoding applications are available and can be better suited to your workflow.
Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support third-party software and provides this information as a courtesy only. For assistance using third-party software, contact the software publisher or see the software's documentation.
- AVI files: VirtualDub; Microsoft Windows Movie Maker.
- QuickTime (MOV) and MPEG-4 files: Apple QuickTime Player for Windows with QuickTime Pro.
- MPEG-2 and VOB files: MPEG Streamclip; Apple QuickTime Player for Windows with QuickTime Pro and MPEG-2 Playback Component.
Notes about specific kinds of video files
MPEG-2 files are highly compressed. VOB ("video object") files--which are used on DVDs--are variants of MPEG-2.
To improve the smoothness of playback of MPEG-2 or VOB clips on the Timeline or Sceneline, render previews of them (see Solution 2).
MPEG-2 and VOB files can be encoded with settings that vary greatly. Not all imported MPEG-2 or VOB files play correctly in Adobe Premiere Elements 7. Transcode problematic MPEG-2 or VOB files (see Solution 6) and then import the transcoded files.
Many digital still-image cameras have "movie" modes that create video files (commonly AVI or QuickTime files). However, these video files generally do not compare favorably to the video recorded by digital camcorders. Many still-image cameras use lower frame rates and smaller frame sizes than camcorders.
If you are working with video files from a still-image camera, then see the camera's documentation. Or, contact its manufacturer for details about the video files that its creates.
If you cannot import or play files from a still-image camera, then you sometimes have to install a codec (see Solution 4). Many digital still cameras encode video with a Motion JPEG ("MJPEG") codec. Motion JPEG codecs are available from several publishers.
Note: Motion JPEG uses a relatively low level of compression, so you can experience slower than usual performance or warning messages about low memory if you work with large Motion JPEG video files in Adobe Premiere Elements. Transcode Motion JPEG files (see Solution 6) to resolve these problems.
If you cannot import or play files from a still-image camera that does not use a special codec for video, then transcode the files (see Solution 6). Import the transcoded files.
Ultra-compact tapeless camcorders--including Aiptek, Flip Video and Sanyo Xacti models, and the Kodak Zi6--record video in various formats. Some ultra-compact tapeless camcorders also use special codecs to encode video.
If you are working with video files from an ultra-compact tapeless camcorder, then see the camcorder's documentation. Or, contact its manufacturer for details about the video files that its creates.
If you cannot import or play files from an ultra-compact tapeless camcorder, then you sometimes have to install a codec (see Solution 4). For example, some Flip Video camcorders encode video with a 3ivx codec. If the camcorder doesn't use a special codec, then transcode the files using software bundled with the camcorder (if any) or with other software (see Solution 6). Then import the transcoded files.
If you are able to import files from an ultra-compact tapeless camcorder, then work in a project with appropriate settings (see Solution 1).
Video files that are purchased from online stores, such as the iTunes Music Store, generally include copy protection or digital rights management ("DRM"). You cannot use these files in Adobe Premiere Elements.