Tag Archives: codec

How to Use .AVI Files on OS X


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Matt Ryan is one of the bloggers on LockerGnome. He is an expert at being a Frugal Geek – he also has great tips and tricks in many areas of technology. A community member recently emailed to ask him how to play .AVI files on QuickTime within OS X. Luckily, Matt had the answer – as usual!

There are many different applications which can be used to play back these particular files on your Mac. However, many of them are convoluted and confusing. While some of you may be uber geeks, not everyone is. What the masses need is something simple which allows them to play their files without fuss and muss.

Perian is the “Swiss Army Knife for QuickTime.” It’s an open-source (free!) project which adds support for several different file types to your installation of QuickTime:

  • File formats – AVI, DIVX, FLV, MKV, GVI, VP6, and VFW
  • Video types – MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, Sorenson H.263, FLV/Sorenson Spark, FSV1, VP6, H263i, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Snow, NuppelVideo, Techsmith Screen Capture, DosBox Capture
  • Audio types – Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, Flash ADPCM, Xiph Vorbis (in Matroska), and MPEG Layer I & II Audio, True Audio, DTS Coherent Acoustics, Nellymoser ASAO
  • AVI support – for AAC, AC3 Audio, H.264, MPEG4, VBR MP3 and more
  • Subtitle support – for SSA/ASS, SRT, SAMI

Once you arrive on the Perian site, click on the Download tab and download the file. A click on that saved file will mount it very quickly to begin the installation process. Click “Perian.prefpane” on the left and your system preferences page will be pulled up.

After choosing whether to allow access for only yourself or all users, you’ll be asked to enter your administrator password twice. The first entry allows the program to install and the second gives permission to make changes to the system. Once you’ve stepped through this process, Perian is now installed – you never have to deal with it again.

Your video files will now play seamlessly within OS X without having to grab extra codecs or software. Matt has proven once again that you don’t have to be rich to enjoy technology.

What is COM Surrogate Crash Error?


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – When I used to use Vista, I would have random crashes that were related to a COM Surrogate error. What the heck? I thought I owned my computer? You mean it’s a surrogate?.

A COM Surrogate error is caused by video codec that is not Vista compatible and when Vista tries to bring up the first frame of the video file it causes the Com Surrogate .dll extension to shut down. As we’ve discussed before, a .dll is a software component that an application links to at run time.

There are a couple of solutions that I’ve found for this problem:

  • Check DivX If this program isn’t updated to the newest version, it can cause the COM Surrogate error.
  • Check Nero Again, check out what version you have. Older versions have been known to throw out this error. Always make sure you’re updated.

Now that I’m back on XP, I’ve had the same problem once. I went through and uninstalled all of the Codecs on my system, and I haven’t encountered the problem again. If you recall, a codec is a device or program capable of performing encoding and decoding on a digital data stream or signal. So that’s something else to look into.

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Windows Movie Maker Problem

From Lockergnome reader Scott Holder:

I think I should have started with you instead of the lame support people from the manufacturer or MS. I need help with Windows Movie Maker. I have a Gateway laptop (MX6445) with a Turion 64 processor, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB HD, DVDRW, ATI Radeon Xpress 200M graphics, running XP MCE 2002. I’m having trouble with Windows Movie Maker reading and working with MPEG files. These files work fine on all my other PCs and laptops. If I import an MPEG file for editing, I can see it fine. It shows in the preview pane on the right too. However, if I drag more than one clip to the storyboard/timeline at the bottom and then press PLAY, nothing happens. The button changes indicating it “should” be playing but nothing is happening.

I contacted Gateway support twice. Both times they suggested removing Windows Movie Maker and reinstalling it. Duh! It’s part of SP2. It’s not a separate download. I use this laptop for work with video presentations through PowerPoint. Right now I’m having to create the WMV files on a different PC and transfer them to this laptop to use them. Can you provide any help? I would greatly appreciate it.

First, I’ve already established that Gateway support is beyond pathetic. Your first mistake was believing in what Gateway used to be rather than what they are today (don’t worry, I made the same mistake).

Second, I believe your problem is tied directly to codecs. Select Options from the Tools menu, then flip to the Compatibility tab. From there, remove the checkmarks from every box. Restart Windows Movie Maker (for good measure). Now, are those MPEGs happy campers? If not, you might consider converting them or editing them in another video tool altogether.

Welcome to the hell of video production.

MP4 Support in WMP11

Don’t count on MP4 playback out of the box in the next version of the Windows Media Player. I filed this “bug” a few months ago, but apparently not supporting MP4 (by default) in WMP11 is a feature: “Spend the money. Pre-install the codec. The PSP relies on it, the iPod relies on it, and Microsoft should have had its hands in one MP4 spec or another. Drop the political bullsh*t and just do it for the sake of your users who don’t know what’s going on.” Their response this morning was simple: “This is currently expected behavior.” Expected behavior? Language barrier. Perhaps Microsoft is hoping that more people install and use iTunes. I’m not sure why? Meanwhile, I’m looking at my iRiver Clix and wondering… why can’t it support the leading video format?