avi with no image
April 16, 2007 7:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to open an .avi movie someone sent to me. I get sound but no image. I tried quicktime, then divx, but no luck. Anyone know any sure-fire ways to play it successfully? (for an iBook G4)
posted by jgballard to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If VLC doesn't play it, it's probably not playable.
posted by the dief at 7:10 AM on April 16, 2007

Seconding VLC. It's the standard answer to these types of questions.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 7:17 AM on April 16, 2007

Response by poster: doesn't work for VLC either... thanks to 'the dief' and 'kinghoeshome' all the same!
posted by jgballard at 7:18 AM on April 16, 2007

The problem with .avi files on a Mac is that there are a plethora of old audio and video codecs that simply are not supported in OSX.
VLC supports the largest number of codecs on Macs, but not all of them. open the file in VLC and then do a Window>Information>Advanced Information and see what codecs are being used in the streams.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:27 AM on April 16, 2007

If you try mplayer, what does it say the video stream's fourcc is? That will tell you which codec you need to install.
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 AM on April 16, 2007

VideoInspector will tell you what codecs are required and where to get them.
posted by fire&wings at 7:35 AM on April 16, 2007

I'm betting it's an old IV50 codec. That one pops up regularly in questions on the VLC boards. There's nothing for OSX that will play it.

There's always a chance that the QuickTime player that comes as part of Classic might play it. In OS9, QT could play that codec (along with all the old Indeo codecs) but nothing in OSX can.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:42 AM on April 16, 2007

If you just need to see & hear the thing, there's a trick for this: Upload it to youtube or google video. They'll convert it to flash video which you'll be able to play with no problem.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:46 AM on April 16, 2007

Wolfdog, that's a really clever idea. I'd have never thought of it.
posted by 6550 at 8:40 AM on April 16, 2007

If you're on an Intel mac, I'd expect mplayer will let you play anything you can play on Windows, because it can use Windows-style dll codecs as well as native ones.

This listing from my Ubuntu box shows the Indeo codecs I have available, and I'd be surprised if you couldn't use them all in OS X too.
stephen@jellyfish:~$ mplayer -vc help | grep indeoffindeo3    ffmpeg    working   FFmpeg Intel Indeo 3.1/3.2  [indeo3]ffindeo2    ffmpeg    working   Indeo 2 native decoder  [indeo2]indeo5ds    dshow     working   Intel Indeo 5  [ir50_32.dll]indeo5      vfwex     working   Intel Indeo 5  [ir50_32.dll]indeo4      vfw       working   Intel Indeo 4.1  [ir41_32.dll]indeo3      vfwex     working   Intel Indeo 3.1/3.2  [ir32_32.dll]indeo5xa    xanim     working   XAnim's Intel Indeo 5  [vid_iv50.xa]indeo4xa    xanim     working   XAnim's Intel Indeo 4.1  [vid_iv41.xa]indeo3xa    xanim     working   XAnim's Intel Indeo 3.1/3.2  [vid_iv32.xa]qtindeo     qtvideo   crashing  Win32/QuickTime Indeo decoder  [QuickTime.qts]stephen@jellyfish:~$
The ir50_32.dll codec supports IV50.
posted by flabdablet at 9:27 AM on April 16, 2007

a href="http://homepage.mac.com/major4/">ffmpegX brings together various unix tools into a single gui interface for media file conversion. It includes the above mentioned mplayer. I've found that it's useful for, first identifying the codecs used in the file I'm looking at, and second, for doing the format conversions. I've been able to put just about any file on my ipod after processing it with ffmpegX.
posted by putzface_dickman at 9:41 AM on April 16, 2007

Oops. ffmpegX
posted by putzface_dickman at 9:42 AM on April 16, 2007

ffmpeg is another OS X resource you can use not only to determine the codecs, but also to then convert the video into something watchable. the presets are fairly decent, but you may have to tweak settings a few times to get something that works. it's Open Source software.
posted by kuppajava at 10:04 AM on April 16, 2007

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