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Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?

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Wayne Weatherford
Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 12:59:20 am

Greetings, first post.

I got an Insignia HD camcorder for Christmas. Shortly thereafter I lost the driver cd that came with it. To allow playback on my computer, I installed ffdshow with H264 support. The videos are now playable on WMP, divX player, etc. However, when loaded onto Vegas 8.0 pro, the video screen stays black while the audio plays. Is there anything I can do to be able to edit these videos on Vegas?
P.S. the videos appear in .avi format.

~Regards, Wayne


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Jon Lundgren
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 5:52:13 am

Hey,

I have a similar problem, and feel like I'm close to a solution. I have a Samsung NV24HD camera which records 720p video in the H.264 format with AAC audio, in a .MP4 QuickTime container. From what I've read, different vendors handle encoding this container differently, so it played in Quicktime but nothing else. Then I downloaded a special MPEG-4 codec called 3ivx which allows me to play the video. I can also play the video now in players that support FFDshow. It may have played in FFDshow before the 3ivx installation--I don't know.

However Vegas 7 just gives me blank (well actually green) video, but the audio works. Vegas 8 gives me an error and then crashes when I try to import the file. The crash apparently occurred in "mcmp4plug.dll". I did some more research and found that players usually use DirectShow codecs (FFDshow), while Vegas uses its own VFW codecs. This is why some files can be played but not edited. So no matter what I add or change, Vegas still uses its own H.264 decoder which happens to be incompatible with my H.264 files. Sure enough, I just looked in the Sony/Shared Plug-ins/File Formats/MCMP4 folder and found mcmp4plug.dll, the MP4 codec by MainConcept.

I then tried re-encoding the file using Quicktime Pro, basically as the same type of file (H.264, and let the audio pass-through). It then worked in Vegas. So it appears that MainConcept doesn't like the type of H.264 file my camera produces. I could re-encode every time, but this is not lossless, and it takes much time. I know the video can easily be decoded using other codecs, but don't know how to make Vegas part from its beloved MainConcept codec.

Does anyone know how to force/allow Vegas to use third party MP4 codecs? I would really just be able to utilize the FFDshow or 3ivx codecs which play the file so nicely. Or, at the least, is there a way to change the settings of the Vegas MainConcept codec?

Thanks,
Jonathan



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John Rofrano
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 2:05:16 pm

I believe you've uncovered the core problem. Vegas cannot use DirectShow codecs; it only supports the older Video For Windows codecs. You can't change this behavior (Sony has to). If you don't want to re-encode the video from your camera then you need to find another editing program to use.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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John Rofrano
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 11:58:47 am

These types of cameras are notorious for using formats that cannot easily be edited. You probably need to re-encode the video from that camera into a format that Vegas can edit. If you don't have the CD that came with it, I would just download the correct software / drivers from the manufacturer instead of loading rouge software and then trying to figure out why it doesn't work. BTW, Vegas cannot edit Xvid or DivX so don't use those formats. Try Quicktime H.264, WMV, or even Lagarith which is lossless.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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joe mantaratz
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 2:55:54 pm

It is a real travesty that the consumer is the beta testers and are the ones who have to create work around solutions. In the great race to be the first off the block we're left with having to suffer with trying to understand why applications do not work as advertised. I've said this before but it is worth repeating. Almost all of my problems have come from upgrades that promise to be the next great thing. Unfortunately buying the same brand hardware and software in the hopes of seamless integration is a dream not reality. Adding insult to injury is that is quite commonplace for their tech support to suggest researching the help forums when they cannot provide a solution. Maybe we should be on the payroll???
Joe



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Jon Lundgren
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 3:30:34 pm

John,

Thanks for the advice. I guess I can live with Vegas using VFW codecs. That shouldn't be a problem, since FFDshow allows for control of VFW codecs (I think). The problem seems to be, that at least for MP4 files, Vegas doesn't utilize just any VFW codecs available to the system. Instead, for MP4, it has its own folder (MCMP4) which is a MainConcept (MC) MP4 codec. It seems that no matter what VFW codecs you add to the system, it always uses its own MC codec. Perhaps this is because the editing process requires certain features that aren't in most codecs, so Sony requires its own proprietary one??

I've used tools like GSpot and InstalledCodecs to look at my system codecs, and a few of the MainConcept ones are available. However, the MC MP4 codec is not listed. I believe that's because it is not a general system codec available for use; it is designed to be used by Vegas only.

My question now is, is there a way to use other VFW codecs besides the MC ones used in the Sony directory? Or, if Sony does indeed *need* to use its own specialized codec, is there a way to update it or change its settings?




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Jon Lundgren
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 3:50:17 pm

Oh, one more thing. I read on another forum about using a trick that makes otherwise un-editable files editable in vegas.

Basically the way it works is, you create a simple Avisynth (.avs) script that reads something like: DirectshowSource("myvideo.file"). This script can then be opened by video players, which call upon Avisynth. Avisynth reads the script, and then opens your myvideo.file using DirectShow, and the video plays. The next step is to use VFAPI to open the script which creates a dummy .avi. The dummy .avi can be played or edited with Vegas. Apparently, when Vegas calls for a frame in the .avi, the .avi calls upon the VF codec which acts as a wrapper. In this case, the wrapper would then request that frame from your original myvideo.file using DirectShow. Hence, you would be tricking Vegas into using DirectShow to decode video.

The problem for me is that VFAPI is designed to handle only certain types of files, and definitely not MP4. Does anyone know of a way of using this type of technique to "trick" vegas into using DirectShow for MP4? It seems like the concept should work, I just need a VFAPI equivalent for MP4s. I'm not super clear on this process so forgive me if I missed something.



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John Rofrano
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 5:20:52 pm

I believe that Vegas will always use it's own codec for the formats it knows about. There is an option in the preferences to use 3rd part DV codecs but that was useful back when everyone was editing DV. Perhaps Sony needs to extend that concept to include other 3rd party codecs more generically.

The AVISynth processing you are referring to is called "frame serving" and it's a very powerful way to transfer video from one application to another (or back to itself) without having to render it first. I don't know the magic incantation to make this work for you but maybe someone else here who uses it can.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Wayne Weatherford
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 8:17:47 pm

John,

How do you re-encode into Lagarith?

-Wayne


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John Rofrano
Re: Sony vegas 8 H264 video decoding problem?
on Jan 8, 2009 at 10:30:32 pm

Obviously you must install the Lagarith codec first. Then open Vegas and load your footage onto the timeline and select File | Render As... and choose Video for Windows and press the Custom... button. On the Video tab select the Video Format dropdown box and choose Lagarith lossles codec.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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