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

If an imported video file exhibits basic playback issues, go to Troubleshoot sequence and file-interpretation settings. These issues include stuttered or flickering playback, or video that appears blurry, fuzzy, pixelated, stretched too wide, or squeezed too thin.

Serious playback issues

If an imported video file exhibits more serious playback issues, go to Troubleshoot file formats and codecs. Serious playback issues include upside-down video, no video, no sound, video distorted with colored blocks or stripes, or playback that ends prematurely.

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.

Specific video files

If you are working with MPEG-2, VOB, MOD, or TOD files, video files recorded with a digital still-image camera, video files from an ultra-compact tapeless camcorder, videos files from Apple Final Cut Pro, or video files purchased from an online media store, see Notes about specific kinds of video files.

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 nonwidescreen 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:

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4

  1. Choose File > New > Sequence.
  2. In the Sequence Presets pane of the New Sequence window, select the preset that matches your file or files. If no preset is an exact match, then select a preset. Go to the General pane of the New Sequence window, and adjust the settings. (To set a custom frame size, choose Desktop from the Editing Mode menu.)
  3. Type a name for the sequence and click OK.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and later

  1. Find the clip that you want to create a New Sequence for in the Project panel.
  2. 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 Sequence presets and settings (Premiere Pro CS4), or see Create and change sequences for later Premiere Pro versions.

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 Work Area on the Timeline, do one of the following:

  • Press Enter.
  • Choose Sequence > Render Work Area.

For more information about rendering previews, see Previewing sequences (Premiere Pro CS4), or see Rendering and previewing sequences for later Premiere Pro versions.

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 it's possible that Adobe Premiere Pro is misinterpreting the file's pixel aspect ratio. You can assign the correct pixel aspect ratio by using the Interpret Footage command. For instructions, see Correct individual aspect ratio misinterpretations (Premiere Pro CS4) or Working with aspect ratios for later Premiere Pro versions.
  • If an imported video file plays too fast or too slow, it's possible that Adobe Premiere Pro isn't 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 a file (Premiere Pro CS4), or see Change the frame rate of clips for later Premiere Pro versions.

    Note: 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, it's possible that Adobe Premiere Pro isn't 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 (Premiere Pro CS4), or see Change the field order of a clip for later Premiere Pro versions. 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 (Premiere Pro CS4). Or, see Create interlaced or non-interlaced clips for later Premiere Pro versions.

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). For a list of the file formats that Adobe Premiere Pro supports, see File formats supported for import (Premiere Pro CS4). Or, see Supported file formats for later Premiere Pro versions.

Note: Not all formats are available on both Mac OS and Windows platforms. See the related Help links above for specific information about which platforms are supported for each format.

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 Adobe 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: Install a required codec.

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'slikley that the required codec also enables correct playback of those files in Adobe Premiere Pro.

However, installing a codec doesn't necessarily resolve problems in Adobe Premiere Pro that occur when you try to import or play files that were created with that codec. The technical requirements for editing video files are more stringent than the requirements for playing video files. Sometimes it's necessary to transcode problematic files. (See Solution 6.)

Codecs are available from codec publishers' websites.

Caution: 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.

Solution 5: Remove one or more installed codecs (Windows).

If you experience problems importing or playing files that are all the same format but are 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 the Add or Remove Programs item in the Control Panel (Windows XP) or the Programs and Features item in the Control Panel (Windows Vista).

Not all codecs can be removed via the Control Panel. For instructions on how to disable or remove other installed codecs, see these documents:

Solution 6: Transcode problematic video files.

Use other software to transcode (convert) video files that cause problems when you try to import or play them in Adobe 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.

See the following list of some of the Windows applications that 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

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 Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. Transcode problematic MPEG-2 files (see Solution 6) and then import the transcoded files.

VOB files

VOB ("video object") files--which are used on DVDs--are variants of MPEG-2. Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 (with all updates applied, choose Help > Updates) and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and later support 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 6) and then import the transcoded files.

MOD and TOD files

Some tapeless camcorders (including some Canon, JVC Everio, and Panasonic models) record standard-definition video as MOD files or record high-definition video as TOD files. MOD and TOD are variants of MPEG-2.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 does not natively support import of MOD or TOD files. Transcode these files by using the software that was bundled with the camcorder (if any) or by using other software (see Solution 6). Then import the transcoded files.

Video files from still-image cameras

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 its creates.

If you cannot import or play files from a still-image camera, then it's probably necessary 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. Therefore, 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 Pro. 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.

Video files from ultra-compact tapeless camcorders

Ultra-compact tapeless camcorders—including Aiptek, Flip Video, 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 it could be necessary to install a codec (see Solution 4). For example, some Flip Video camcorders encode video with a 3ivx codec. If the camcorder does not use a special codec, then transcode the files by using software that was bundled with the camcorder (if any). Or use other software (see Solution 6) to transcode the video. Then import the transcoded files.

If you can import files from an ultra-compact tapeless camcorder, then work in a sequence with the appropriate frame size, frame rate, and field settings. (See Solution 1.) If you are using files from a tapeless camcorder that records progressive video (such as 720p), then work in a progressive (no fields) sequence. If you're using files from a tapeless camcorder that records interlaced video, the files are likely to have a field order of upper fields first.

Video files from Apple Final Cut Pro

Some Final Cut Pro workflows create QuickTime files encoded with the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC), which is not available for Windows. Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 for Windows, therefore, cannot read AIC-encoded QuickTime files.

To resolve this issue, use Final Cut Pro to transcode AIC-encoded files into files encoded with a QuickTime code. The codec is available for both Mac OS and Windows.

Video files from online media stores

Video files that are purchased from online stores such as the iTunes Music Store generally have copy protection or digital rights management (DRM). They cannot be used in Adobe Premiere Pro.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License  Twitter™ and Facebook posts are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.

Legal Notices   |   Online Privacy Policy