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Some videos not playing in Quicktime but WILL play on VLC Player

4388 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Oct 21, 2013 6:53 PM by Jon Walker RSS
jrc362 Calculating status...
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Oct 18, 2013 5:48 PM



All of a sudden, some of my video files will not play on Quicktime. OT reads the length of the movie but when I click play, all I get is a black screen and no sound even though the progress bar rolls per usual. When I open the videos in my VLC Player, the play just fine. This is not with all of my movies. Some movies play fine in Quicktime. Also, if this helps, Final Cut X will not recognize these movie files for import. Am using Quicktime 10.1.


Thoughts? Help? Anyone?




Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 8 Level 8 (47,320 points)

    Normal that VLC will play files that QuickTime will not. It supports more formats and codecs than QuickTime.

  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)

    Thoughts? Help? Anyone?

    What you want to do is unclear. As QTKirk already pointed out, VLC contains its own built-in set of codecs (which support a wider range of file containers and compression formats than QT) while QT only supports those file containers it is programmed to recognized using the codecs which you have installed in your system's codec component folders. If all you want to do is play the files and have no specific desire to play them in the various QT-based apps, then use the VLC media player to play them. If you want to play the files in the QT X and/or QT 7 media players, then go through your files and list the file container types (file extensions), compression format, and player combinations that are causing problems. Post that information here. Once you can categorize the problem it should be easy to find a solution if one is available.



    iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5), 3.4 GHz Quad Core i7, 12GB 1333 MHz
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)

    From what I can tell the files that will not play are the ones that have DV-NTSC, 720 x480 listed twice in the Format section of the movie inspector. Does this help at all? The files are a bit older but I have never had any issues playing them before.

    Well, that's certainly a kick in the head! DV-25 and DVCPRO-25/50 (both PAL and NTSC, 4:3 and 16:9 aspects) are supposed to be supported by the basic codec component configuration installed by your Mac OS X system installer. If these files do not play then you definitely have a problem. Normal problems include—corrupted system software, corrupted PLIST file(s), or some sort of a codec component conflict.


    Since you previously implied that the problem was affecting multiple QT apps, it would seem to indicate this is not likely to be a PLIST problem but please confirm that the prolem affects QT X player and/or QT 7 player, as well as, FCP. Also, to avoid other possibilities, please confirm the file container type. Since you indicated that DV was list as both the video and audio compression format, I would normally expect the extension to be DV or MOV in most cases. (If you multiple user accounts on your system, you could also try logging in to another account and see if the same problem exists there—i.e., determine if the problem is local to your own user account or global to your entire system. In most cases, if the problem is local, it imples the issue may be a corrupted PLIST file.)


    If the problem is global, the I would normally grab a spare external drive, re-format it, install a pristine version of your current basic operating system, boot up the newly created drive with non-essential peripherals disconnected, and test your file. If the file plays normally, then you will likely have confirmed that the issue is in your current system—either corruption or some sort of a conflict with additional user installed software. Unfortunately, if the problem is corrupted software, the normal procedure would be re-install the system software. (Conflicts are a bilt more problematic and and would notmally require additional "trial & error" conflict tests.)



    iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5), 3.4 GHz Quad Core i7, 12GB 1333 MHz
  • sfgiants4ever Calculating status...

    Is there another (preferably free) program like VLC Media Player that can play many formats? I had this same problem where .mov files didn't play on QuickTime (7.7.4), but did using VLC Media Player. Using VLC worked fine, but now I'm not allowed to use it anymore (I had it on a work PC (Windows 7) and it's not allowable software so had to delete it). My file format is XDCAM EX. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)

    A lot to go through. First I am not having this issue with all of my .dv files. In fact, most of them play fine. I am only having an issue with the ones that have the following format info:


    The .dv videos that will play look like this:



    Does this help you at all?

    Look like what?


    In answer to your questions, the video will not play in QT X or FCP but to clarify, "not playing" means the the screen is black, there is no sound BUT the progress bar moves along as if the video is playing.

    This normally indicates the compression format is recognized but the codec component cannot be accessed for one reason or another.



    Also, when I imported the file into my older iMovieHD, guess what? It plays fine. I exported it back out of iMovie and now QT X will play it fine. ???!!

    What kind of project did you create? (I.e., was the data transcoded during the import process?) By definition, export implies transcoding of the data being output. To what compression format did you export the data?



    You asked about container file type and I don't know what that is. Sorry. Would be glad to send that to you once I know!

    Compressed data can be stored in different types of file containers just as milk, water, or coffee can be placed in a cup, a glass, a goblet, a thermos, etc. Some file containers are only supposed to hold specific types of data while others are generic and can hold any kind of data or only specific kinds of data as might be recognized by one QT media player but not another QT media player. These file types (file containers) are normally identified by the file extension attached to the name of the file. (E.g., MOV, MP4, M4V, MPG, MPEG, TS, M2TS, MKV, WMV, AVI, FLV, M2V, VOB, etc.) Unfortunately, users can also "lie" to their systems by manually changing a file extension—i.e., tell their system that the data is in one type of file when it is actually in another type of file and, thus, prevent the file from being properly process by a particular player app. That is why it is sometimes important to know both the file container and the app being used to try and play the data in the file.



    Pleae let me know if you need any more info from me or is we are at the end. My last resort would be to do a reinstall of OS X, I guess. Yes?

    The fact that some files play and others do not would seem to indicate that the proble is not generic for the DV compression format. It would be nice to examine a non-playing file before recommending that you re-install the system (which, as previously noted, you could determine on your own if you wanted). Do you have access to online storage space to which you could upload a sample file?



    iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5), 3.4 GHz Quad Core i7, 12GB 1333 MHz
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)

    The .dv videos that will NOT play:



    I suspect you may have a number of problems here. The first is having elementary DV and PCM audio streams in a DV stream file container. (I.e. DV/DV audio and video stream data is normally stored in the DV file container while DV/PCM data is normally wrapped in the MOV file container.) The second problem is the fact that the DV video seems to be missing the aspect ratio "aware" information. As you can see from the playing file, the format line should read either


    720 x 480 (640 x 480)




    720 x 480 (853 x 480)


    Based on this, I am wondering how old this file may be and/or how it was captured. (I.e., the playback problem may be due to file container not being compatible with the QT X player which, in fact, relies on an embedded aspect ratio parameter rather than the QT 7 embedded "Current Size" setting and is not expecting PCM audio to be contained in a DV stream file container.


    In addition, there is a question (at least for me) as to whether the DV video streams are embedded sequentially or as alternative video tracks. (I.e., if you have QT 7 Pro installed, please post a copy of the "Properties" window.


    Not sure if this will work, but if I had a copy of the non-playing file, the first thing I would try would be to open the file in MPEG Streamclip and re-save the data to a "real" MOV file container to see if it would then be playback compatible with the QT X player app.


    Could I be missing the codec component? Is there a way to check?

    Not very likely if any files play have the same video compression format. Had the non-playing files been encoded with one of the HD DV codecs, then yes, that might have been a possibility whould could have been checked.



    Exported out to a .dv file. Format exact same as the working one above. Plays fine.

    Of course. You exported the audio and video as a DV compressed data in DV stream file container. Thus, both the file format and compression format are now QT X compatible.



    The container is a .dv. I did rename it to .mov at one point to see if that helped but got the same result.

    Of course. Changing the file extension is like calling a cup of coffee a glass of coffee—i.e., the coffee is still in a cup. Basically, this only works if the data in the container is already compatible with the file container and the container is compatible with the player. For instance, H.264/AAC compressed data will play in either QT 7 or QT X players whether it is in an MOV, MP4, or M4V file container. On the other hand, "muxed" MPEG-2/AC3 data won't play in the QT X v10.2 player with a VOB file extension but will play if you change the extension to TS or MPG. On the other hand, the VOB or MPG file (with the QT MPEG-2 playback codec component installed) will play in both QT 7 (without audio) and MPEG Streamclip while the TS file won't open in the QT 7 player but plays fine with audio in MPEG Streamclip.



    I do have a DropBox folder.

    If you also have an online DropBox account, then yes, that would be a good method for posting large files. You then only have to post or email the URL to the people you want to have access to the data.



    iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5), 3.4 GHz Quad Core i7, 12GB 1333 MHz
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)

    These videos are older (almost 10 years old) and they were edited in iMovie HD.

    That may explain why the aspect ratio info is missing. If i remember correctly, the project established the aspect.



    Installed QT 7 and videos play fine. No issues. I don't have QT7 Pro.

    This tends to confirm that the inability to play the DV/PCM in DV file containers is limited to QT X based apps.



    Tried Streamclip and it will save as MOV but the size changes (from 640x480 to 720x480 and I get a stretched look. OT X will play it however. Tried to "export" using differrent formats but with mixed results. Sometimes I got sound but no video. I will continue to fiddle with settings but it doesn't seem like a reliable path to go down.

    As previously indicated, there is an aspect ratio problem. Was hoping that if the data was placed in a real MOV file container that the data would be interpreted as having a 640 x 480 (4:3) default aspect like widescreen files that lose the aspect values. Instead, the 720 x 480 encode matrix is assumed to be the display dimensions (1.5:1.0 aspect).



    Would your answer be the same now that we know QT7 plays the videos without any issues?

    No. If any of the DV files play, then the DV codec component is present.



    True. One of the issues is that I want to re-edit some of these files which means I need to get them into FCP. I know there is a workaround, i.e. importing them into iMovie like I did and then spitting them out again so they will play but I feel like I am losing quality that way. Aren't I? This was before I started saving projects so I could always go back into them. Plus, I really want to preserve the original files for backup sake.

    You have already lost the original quality. The only thing you can do here is to try and retain as much of the current quality as possible. Convert the files to a "Pro" or other favored codec in which you might wish to edit your video in FCP using MPEG Streamclip (since you don't have QT 7 Pro). You should have several options. I would probably try ProRes, AIC, or Photo/Motion JPEG as a starting point dependent on storage/quality needs.



    iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5), 3.4 GHz Quad Core i7, 12GB 1333 MHz


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