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Dianne 03-31-2009 11:02 AM

Convert .avi to .mpeg (mini DVD and Pinnacle Studio)
I am unable to import files into Studio 12. The file was made on a mini dv and copied to a dvd and the file is a .avi about 3 minutes in length. I have tried many things to get Studio to read the file and after no success their support is recommending that I convert the .avi to .mpeg. What software best to do this?

admin 04-01-2009 07:07 AM

2 Attachment(s)

One of my subcontractors made a video on his mini dv and then sent me the file on a dvd. I have a dvd drive in my computer and work with Pinnacle Studio 12. The file is .avi and Studio is not able to read the file and Pinnacle support has recommended that I use some free software to convert to mpeg or another file format. Video is less than 3 minutes long. What free software can you recommend? Another issue, how to use Windows Media to capture shots from the video.
At the Pinnacle knowledge base, I found this:


Studio 12.0 and higher can import the following video file formats with the allowable extensions for each format noted in parenthesis:
  • AVI File - (.avi)
  • MPEG Files - MPEG-1, MPEG-2 SD & HD, and MPEG-4 - (.mpg, .mpeg, .mod, .mp2, .mp4, .m2ts, .mts, .m1v, .m2v. mpv, .tod) - HD file import requires Studio Plus or Ultimate Version 11
  • WMV Files - (.wmv)
  • DIVX - (.avi)
  • MOD (JVC Everio cameras) - (.mod)
  • TOD (JVC Everio cameras) - (.tod)
  • 3GPP Files - (.3gp)
  • AVCHD - (.m2ts, .mts) - Requires Studio Plus or Ultimate Version 11.
  • MOV (Quicktime) - (.mov)*

Now, that information is marginally useful. Their use of the term "AVI" is a bit ridiculous, because your DV camera saves video out as an AVI file. Lumping MPEG1/MPEG2 with MPEG4 is also highly stupid on their part. It comes as no surprise, Pinnacle products are very much disliked in the professional and hobby world.

The first course of action is probably to see whether or not you actually do have DV25 as an .AVI file, on that disc. We'll use a piece of video identification software called "GSpot" (yes, a silly name, with an equally silly program icon, probably created by a college kid with too much sexual tension). I've attached the setup file to this post. This software does not "install" but rather you should unzip the file to "C:\Program Files\GSpot" and run the GSpot.exe file once unzipped.

It will pull up this screen:

Attachment 182

Here you can view the Video codecs in use. What video and audio codec is shown for your video file, off that CD, the one you believe to be a DV file? Notice that the VIDEO CODEC for mine is MPEG-1 (upper right part of program window), and the AUDIO CODEC for mine is MPEG-1 Layer II (middle left part of program window). If possible consider taking a screen shot, and posting it in your reply.

Once we isolate the import source, we can look at options to import it directly, or convert once and import from there. It may honestly be something as simple as the lack of a good DV codec on your computer, something we can learn from GSpot, if needed (more on that later).


Dianne 04-01-2009 09:27 AM

GSpot Success!
If the attachment is here I'm golden. Meanwhile I can't tell if the attachment with the results of my GSpot is really there or not. Let me know if it did not make it and tell me how to attach more successfully. Thanks!

admin 04-01-2009 09:44 AM

It does not appear to be attached. See this post for help on how to attach images to posts:

Dianne 04-01-2009 03:04 PM

GSpot Encoder
I saved the picture in the paint program and that is a .bmp file which the upload does not support. Progress is slow here. How do I save the file to a format that I can upload??

admin 04-01-2009 03:24 PM

Use this web site tool:

  • Select the BMP from your computer, select the output as JPEG, and resize to 800x600. Then press the process button.
  • It works best in Internet Explorer, that site doesn't seem to work well with Firefox. It might take a minute to process the BMP.
  • Once it's done, click the little disk icon (near the middle of the page) to download the new JPEG to your computer. Then you can upload it to the forum.
Not a bad alternative versus installing image software.

Dianne 04-02-2009 07:56 AM

GSpot Decoder
1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 190

Hello out there! I think I have the screen shot you need.

admin 04-02-2009 12:28 PM

Yes, the screen shot worked that time.

This video file is no longer DV, it's been converted to another format after it was shot from the camera.

It is an uncompressed YUY2 video, with uncompressed PCM audio.

Note that is has a really tiny resolution -- 320x240 is too small for DVD, that's lower quality than a VHS tape (~352x480), and even lower quality than Youtube (~400x300). It will appear very soft and blurry viewed larger than Youtube-sized video.

I have a feeling that it is the resolution, not the file format (uncompressed AVI), that is causing the problems. Pinnacle Studio expects unmodified consumer formats, for which this is not.

This is going to take a little bit of experimenting, so I'll get back to you soon. I'm going to install a demo/trial of Pinnacle Studio 12, and then convert a video to 320x240 uncompressed, and see if I can replicate the error. If I can, I will then attempt to convert the uncompressed test file to MS DV25 in VirtualDub, upscaled to 720x480, and see if Pinnacle Studio 12 likes that.

In the meantime, if you don't mind sharing, what is the destination for this video? Are you attempting to make a DVD? If so, I highly suggest you contact the person who gave you this video, and attempt to get a better quality version, one that is the true DV 720x480 video right off the camera, instead of the low-quality downconverted video given to you on disc.

Dianne 04-03-2009 10:39 AM

The destination for this video is to be able to play it and capture still shots. The entire video is then uploaded to a secure website for our company. We do private investigations and I'm very new to the video world but will be doing this on a regular basis.

FYI -No audio is wanted/needed. your idea that the problem is not the formatting makes sense with the ? ? ? ? that come up with the file in Pinnacle. It apparently sees the file but cannot read it.

Would it be helpful to have the original mini dv to work with?

Thanks so much!!

admin 04-03-2009 10:56 PM

Yes, the original video would be optimal. The 320x240 is a tiny/lousy size, especially given the nature of the work being performed. The original 720x480 will be needed for a decent playback and still image acquisition, assuming you want to ID anybody in the video.

Rather than upsize a video, I think pursuing the original DV tape would be the most prudent course of action here. There was no reason for this video to have been down-converted to 320x240 uncompressed.

If nothing else, get the unmodified DV footage, the 3-minute segment that is needed, burned to a DVD as data (DV .AVI file) and sent to you.

admin 04-11-2009 01:52 AM

NOTE: Due to a forum snafu, some posts were lost from 4-3 to 4-6. I'm restoring posts from this thread from my e-mail digests.
Your last post said:


Originally Posted by Dianne

Thanks for your input. As soon as I have the mini dv in hand and/or an uncompressed file I will create a new post.

Once you have the higher-end source, be it DV, or another uncompressed snippet (this time in DV-resolution 720x480), then post back, and I'll be glad to help you with your project.


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