Posts Tagged ‘codecs’

Basic software to troubleshoot end-user videos

  1. Having problems with (source – target) end-user video compatibility issues? If you just need to “git r done”, the following software has helped us for years nip those in the bud and overcome the limited built-in support for video display and troubleshooting on the MS-Windows and Mac OS X platform:
    1. VideoLan, an open-source project that amounts to much more than a player which out of the box understands most codecs, going strongly into version 2 recently. Download for Windows or Mac OS X.
    2. Still won’t play? Diagnose codec and other information from video files, so that you do not need to set your hopes into the download of dubious codec packs.
Categories: software Tags: , , ,

Moodle Metacourses, part IV: The support workflow: Transcoding audio learning materials

2011/08/31 1 comment

The MS-WMA-Voice codec features very acceptable audio quality for spoken language learning materials in a highly compressed format. It allowed me to reduce  our existing audio files collection size by about 50%.

Expression Encoder 3 crashed a few times during encoding this queue of 3.500 audio files. In addition, it took a long time to reload the .XEJ project files of such a size. It is, however, easy enough to inspect the XEJ in an XML editor:


And even easier to delete the finished media files form the queue using a text editor:expression-project-xml-textpad

I am wondering whether this queuing could be streamlined (recovery automated, and the need for human interaction be reduced) using the PowerShell Module for Automating Expression-Encoder, but so far the process is good enough.

How to view non-displaying video files on Windows XP, using VideoLan VLC player

Not an uncommon sight when trying to play video files, given that Windows XP is an 11-year old operating system:


It may come as no surprise that Windows XP  -despite a number of upgrades of its built-in Windows Media Player application -, lacks native support for newer video codecs (= what the computer needs to understand the compression of video data, does not map 1-to-1 with video file formats. Video codec support in Windows 7 has been much improved).

If you run into the common problem that, when trying to play a video on your computer, only the audio displays, try downloading, installing and playing the freeware, open-source, cross-platform VideoLan VLC player from here.

If VideoLan cannot display your video either, download, extract, start and open the video with this utility from here , to diagnose which codecs your video files uses, like so:


You may find it easier to pass only this codec information to local IT support than the actual video source file. However, before trying to install missing video codecs from unverified internet sources, make sure to consult local IT support (a lot of malware is distributed with video codec packs). 

Can’t play video?

It is unlikely that you may be missing Adobe-Flash. Not quite so unlikely: MS-Silverlight.

You may simply be missing a codec. Many of my videos use the H.264 codec.

Short of dealing with too many codecs or codec packs, try a better media player:

  1. VLC player or
  2. Windows Media Player Classic or
  3. Windows Media Player 12 (comes with Windows 7)).


Help with playing videos

  1. Some videos require special codecs to display properly/ at all.
  2. Here is info on the H.264 codec.
  3. Often, it is best to try, instead of Windows Media Player (which may be the default player that opens when you (double)click on a video, but not be able to display it without manual configuration),
  4. the free VLC player which you can download here, if you must, and install, if you are permitted. Then right-click video, “open with”, “VLC media player”, like here: