Video Vampires

Works on one computer, but not another. Why the hell not? Want to see hours upon hours of your weekend sucked away… try working on video on a desktop PC.

April 2009

If you benefit from any of this, please let me know…

Audra’s mom went into the hosptial on Friday just before Easter with a kidney stone, changing the course of our weekend dinner plans with the family. Not knowing if we’d need to make an emergency run anywhere, I needed a project that I could walk away from if necessary this weekend. So I chose to work on some video ideas.

I used to do all of my video work on Audra’s laptop. It always worked well, but the problem is it ties up the machine. So when she has things to do, I really can’t do any video work. I’ve gradually been getting my studio PC ready for this type of work instead.

This Friday I recorded a 30-min clip (Windows Media Video) in the studio with my web cam. It was just an experiment with some effects pedals to work out some things to make some better YouTube clips. The recording process was fine, adding some titles and text was easy, but reducing the file to make it web-ready has been a two-day chore.

Here’s a brief summary of my setup.

Software: Adobe Premiere elements 3.0.2
PC: Quadcore, 3 GB, Win XP, huge amounts of HD space, large virtual memory setting.
Camera: Logitech Quickcam USB, recording to WMV format.

Part way through the rendering process early Saturday, I got a Microsoft error that didn’t let me continue.

All I was trying to do was make a 640 x 480 WMV file, 128 bit, 44 khz audio. Simple. So I restarted, even reinstalled. Still have the problem.

The stab in the back is that the same project will render on Audra’s laptop just fine. And her machine is only a dual core, 2 GB RAM, and even less HD space.

So now I am trying to look for differences in the configurations. There is no clear/good reason why this shouldn’t work. Just another example of how sofware designers continue to waste the consumer’s time. Here’s just a few of the things that I’ve tried:

Turned off autosave.
Windows update (found a new video driver, but no luck)
Repaired Premiere install, reboot.
Reinstalled Premiere, reboot.
Switched hard drives that I’m using (internal vs external)
Changed rendering options (nothing seems to work).
Created a brand new project file.
Changed audio sampling rate, reboot.
Checked antivirus settings.
Uninstalled Quickcam drivers/software (in case they were conflicting), reboot.
Downgrade to Windows Media Player 10, 11 SDK reboot.
Shutdown, restart.
Uninstall Premiere, reboot, Re-install Premiere, reboot, Register, reboot.
Repair Premiere.
Uninstalled two VST audio plugins that appear to be problematic (though they aren’t even used by the current project)
Uninstall Premiere, reboot, reinstall, reboot.
Even export to Quicktime doesn’t work.

Hours upon hours. That’s where I left things Sunday night, after two days. I was still questioning the install and whether or not it was clean… removed some VST plugins that appeared to be causing the install process to not complete smoothly (VST plugins that also were not on the laptop that was working fine). Still, this appeared to be a long shot.

Some of these are things recommended by Adobe’s site, but for the most part their support is useless on this topic. Other people have had the same issue, but none of the forums have an answer, so I didn’t even bother to post there. Better off making this part of the content on my own site.

Each install/reboot takes about 30 minutes. The house gets pretty clean during projects like this because I can do little chores in between. There is something wrong with the WMV codec of the original file that Premiere doesn’t like…

And no, I do not enjoying any of this… that is the point of this blog. What do the non-technical users out there do? When will consumers have enough of this? If the luxury of producing our own video going to become a thing of the past because the technology to do so just isn’t reliable on this level?


At least another reinstall, some more reboots.
Tried downgrading to Windows Media 9.1.
Noticed that Media Player 11 was not 100% uninstalled, even though I was seeing 10 when I opened it.
Uninstalled again, reboot.
Tried running my project to a WMV file as before.
Guess what? It appears to be ^*&^%^&%$-ing working!!


Yes, it worked. Here’s the deal. The laptop (which worked all along) had a Windows Media (audio) codec of 9.1, but my desktop still had 9.2. It appears that my desktop was still holding on to it when I had Media Player 11 installed, and even when 10 was installed. So the first question is: why the inconsistent numbering on the versions?

Premiere will not work with the Win 9.2 codec! If Adobe and Microsoft checked this, users wouldn’t have to waste their time. When will software be truly intelligent?? OK, less sarcastic – why does’t Premiere tell you that it’s not going to work and why, and then close gracefully (or not at all)?

All of the other nonsense with the VST plugins, I suspect, was a red herring, but now I have to waste yet MORE time putting those back and making sure that a) my audio projects aren’t messed up, and b) that Premiere STILL works. Unbelievable.

If you benefit from any of this, please let me know.

PS: To the Macheads out there… I know, I know… in due time. This experience may have pushed me over the edge.


By jjdeprisco

Sonic explorer, sound artist, guitarist in Fricknadorable, software designer.

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