Troubleshoot issues importing or playing video files
Use this document to resolve problems that occur in Adobe Premiere Pro when you try to import video files or when you play imported video files. (Video files include AVI files, Apple QuickTime [MOV] files, MPEG files, and so on.)
Basic playback issues
Some basic playback issues include stuttering or flickering playback, video that appears blurry, fuzzy, pixelated, or stretched or squeezed. These issues may occur because of issues with sequence and file-interpretation settings.
Serious playback issues
Serious playback issues may include upside-down video, no video, no sound, or distorted video with colored blocks or stripes, or playback that ends prematurely. These issues could be because of problematic file formats and codecs.
Freezes, closures, or errors
If Adobe Premiere Pro freezes, closes, or returns an error—such as "Unsupported audio rate in file" or "Unsupported format or damaged file"—when you try to import a video file or when you try to play an imported file, go to Troubleshoot file formats and codecs.
Troubleshoot sequence and file-interpretation settings
Complete these solutions in order. After you complete each solution, test the playback of your imported video files in Adobe Premiere Pro. If your imported files still play incorrectly, go to Troubleshoot file formats and codecs.
Solution 1: Work in a sequence whose settings are appropriate for your imported files.
A mismatch between an imported file and the settings for the Adobe Premiere Pro sequence in which you are working can cause playback problems. For example, widescreen video files can appear squeezed if you use them in a non-widescreen sequence. And high-definition files can appear blurry if you use them in a standard-definition sequence.
Knowing basic information about an imported file helps you choose appropriate sequence settings. Right-click a file in the Project panel and choose Properties. The Properties window shows the file's frame size (as "Image Size"), frame rate, and pixel aspect ratio.
To create a sequence and choose sequence settings, do one of the following:
Find the clip that you want to create a New Sequence for in the Project panel.
Drag the clip to the New Item icon at the bottom of the Project panel.
A new sequence is automatically created with the appropriate resolution and frame rate that matches your source footage.
For more information about sequence settings, see Create and change sequences.
Solution 2: Render previews of clips on the Timeline.
Rendering previews can improve the smoothness of playback of imported video files that you have placed on the timeline.
To render previews of clips within the timeline, select the timeline, and then choose Sequence > Render Effects In to Out or Sequence > Render In to Out.
For more information about rendering previews, see Rendering and previewing sequences.
Solution 3: Adjust the scaling, frame rate, pixel aspect ratio, or field settings.
Use these additional methods, as applicable, to correct playback problems unresolved by Solutions 1 and 2:
- If an imported video file does not fill the frame or appears zoomed-in, then select the clip on the Timeline. Choose Clip > Video Options > Scale To Frame Size.
- If an imported video file appears squeezed too narrow or stretched too wide, then Premiere Pro may 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 Working with aspect ratios.
- If an imported video file plays too fast or too slow, Premiere Pro may not be interpreting the file's frame rate correctly. This issue also manifests as playback that is stuttered after you render previews. You can assign the correct frame rate by using the Interpret Footage command. For instructions, see Change the frame rate of clips.
Playback inevitably seems 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, Premiere Pro may not be interpreting the file's field order correctly. An incorrect field order can also cause the clip to flicker. You can assign the correct field order by using the Interpret Footage command. For instructions, see Change the field order of a clip. Additional tools for correcting field-order problems are available in the Field Options dialog. For instructions on using the Field Options dialog, see Create interlaced or non-interlaced clips.
Troubleshoot file formats and codecs
Video-recording devices and video software applications encode files in a specific file format, such as AVI, QuickTime (MOV), and Windows Media (WMV).
Not all formats are available on both macOS and Windows platforms. For a list of the file formats that Premiere Pro supports, see Supported file formats.
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 the following types of codecs, among others:
- The DV codec (camcorders that record to miniDV tapes use this codec)
- A commercial codec (such as DivX)
- A Motion JPEG codec (some still-image cameras that have "movie" modes use this codec)
It's likely that Premiere Pro can't decode video files that were encoded 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 helps you use the solutions below. 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.
Solution 4: Transcode problematic video files.
Use other software to transcode (convert) video files that cause problems when you try to import or play them in Premiere Pro. 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, you can use a different format (for example, transcode an MPEG-2 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.
The following Windows applications can transcode video files. Other transcoding applications are available and could 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.
For additional assistance with methods of transcoding video files, use the Adobe forums or VideoHelp.
Notes about specific kinds of video files
MPEG-2 files are highly compressed. To improve the smoothness of playback of MPEG-2 clips on the Timeline, render previews of them (see Solution 2).
Because MPEG-2 files can be encoded with settings that vary greatly, not all imported MPEG-2 files play correctly in Premiere Pro CS4. Transcode problematic MPEG-2 files (see Solution 4) and then import the transcoded files.
VOB ("video object") files--which are used on DVDs--are variants of MPEG-2. Premiere Pro supports import of DVD-compliant VOB files. If you have trouble importing a native VOB file, it's possible that there's an issue with the way the VOB was created. (For example, there could be problems with DVD ripping software.) It could be necessary to transcode the VOB files (see Solution 4) 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 that digital camcorders record. Many still-image cameras use proprietary compression codecs that do not conform to professional video editing standards.
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 it creates.
If you cannot import or play files from a still-image camera, then it's probably necessary to install a codec. Many digital still cameras encode video with a Motion JPEG ("MJPEG") codec. Motion JPEG codecs are available from several publishers.
Motion JPEG uses a relatively low level of compression. Therefore, you can experience slower than usual performance or warning messages about low memory if you work with large Motion JPEG video files in Premiere Pro. Transcode Motion JPEG files (see Solution 4) 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 4). Import the transcoded files.