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Movie Maker 2 - Importing MPEG Files

MPEG files are common, as are issues you can run into when trying to use them in Movie Maker projects. The most common search of this website is for the phrase...

"...An interface has too many methods to fire events from..." a geeky term which translates to "... you're trying to use an MPEG-2 file in Movie Maker and it won't import or work...".

The simple answer is to stop trying and convert the file to an AVI or WMV file that will work. There are many ways to do conversions and my usual ones are on this page.

MPEG-1 is the standard for VCDs. They should import and work well in Movie Maker. MPEG-1 files are optimized for coding progressive 352x240 images at 30 fps - with no provisions for interlacing.

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Personal Comments

MPEG-2 files are problematic when trying to import or use them in a project.... sometimes they appear to work, but then act up someplace during the editing or saving movie steps.

You should convert them into another file type before using them in a Movie Maker project.

I prefer importing them into MM1 or MM2 (MM1 is often better at handling it than MM2) as a single clip, immediately saving the full video as a DV-AVI or high quality WMV file, and then using the new source file in my Movie Maker projects.

That avoids the occasional issues that occur during editing or saving of the movie.

If MM1 or MM2 won't import the MPEG-2 file and save it to a new movie file, I'll use VirtualDubMPEG2 to convert it to a DV-AVI file.

MPEG-2 is much higher quality than MPEG-1. MPEG-2 extended MPEG files to interlaced scanning, larger pictures, and higher data rates. They are widely used for digital television, DVDs, camcorders that record to DVD discs and hard drives, and HDTV. But they don't work well with Movie Maker and should be converted to AVI files before importing and using as source files.

MPEG-4 was developed to cover the full range of little files for portable players to High Definition TV. They often use the AVI file extension instead of MPG, and might use other file extensions. See the AVI page if needed. And the MP4 page for specialized MPEG4 files from iPods and other places. And the AVCHD page for a oommonly seen implementation in camcorders and cameras.

The rest of this page will focus on converting MPEG-2 files, not just to playable files but to ones that work fine in Movie Maker projects.

Converting MPEG-2 Files

MPEG-2 files are common, as they are the standard file types for SVCDs and DVDs. Some cameras also record directly to the format. But there's a licensing fee associated with using an MPEG-2 codec, so the codec is not commonly distributed. If you try to import an MPEG-2 file Movie Maker will attempt to go through the process but, in the end, you might get an error message like the one in the figure below. Another error message I've seen is "...the file is empty."

MPEG2 Import Error Message

Sometimes it'll import the clip, but then cause problems when trying to preview it, use it in a project, or render a movie from it. A common symptom is the file acting as an audio file after it's imported.... the audio file icon for the thumbnail, hearing audio when previewing but not seeing video, and going only on the Audio/Music track of the timeline when moving it into a project.

If these kinds of issues are happening with the file, you should convert the file to an AVI, using a compression codec that will result in a source file that works with Movie Maker.

Converting MPEG-2 Files

Newsletter #50 was an updated one about converting MPEG-2 files to AVI. Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 50

MPEG-2 files are typically high quality... so when I convert one to another source file, I'll use the DV-AVI file type for the new one, to preserve the quality. Here are my two primary tools.

Use Movie Maker...

This might seem strange, but Movie Maker is my conversion tool of first choice.

If I can import the file as a single clip, and move it to the Video track of the timeline, I'll try rendering it to a DV-AVI file to be used as the replacement source file. Movie Maker might crash at any point in the rendering. If it does, I'll restart it and try again. If it crashes 5 times in a row, I'll give up and use another tool to do the conversion, starting with.

VDubMod or VirtualDub-MPEG2

When it comes to handling MPEG files, the two are about the same.

To convert an MPEG-2 file to a DV-AVI file with VDubMod or VirtualDub-MPEG2, you'll need to resize it to the appropriate size of a DV-AVI file (720x480 pixels for NTSC), and have an installed DV codec that will work with it. The resizing is done by VirtualDub(Mod or MPEG2) > main menu > Video > Filters > Add > resize. Enter the new size of 720x480 if you're using NTSC.

For compression use the Panasonic DV codec. From the VirtualDub main menu it's Video > Compression, and select the compression codec. If you've installed it, the Panasonic DV CODEC will be in the list.

Selected Posts - Converting or Importing MPEG-2 Files

11/5/08 - newsgroup post '...successfuly converted the mpg files to AVI.... ' using MPEG Streamclip....

12/26/05 - ... I've been trying to ... get MM to edit my tv programmes that were recorded by my nova-t pci (older version) card which saves in mpg 2. The solution: 2 filters from Roxio... Roxio Mpeg Demuxer (dll) 136kb V, and Roxio Mpeg Video Decoder (dll) 700kb V I manually registered them using regsvr32.exe and now I can edit them.

11/6/05 - ... SmartSoft Video Converter... worked 'champion' the first time -

3/25/05 - ... I use a program called 'AVS Converter'... you get it from I think it cost $30 or so....

10/10/04 - Rehan: VirtualDubMod is my tool of choice for such conversion (MPEG-2 to AVI).

9/19/04 email... convert MPEG-2 files to others using FlaskMPG, a utility developed by an open source project.

7/27/04 - When I loaded My DVD 5 on to my computer WMM stopped taking MPG video on the video stream, it thinks it is a sound file > The Ligos MPEG Filters installed by versions of MyDVD greater than 4.01 cause problems playing MPEG-2 in MCE, and importing MPEG-2 in MM2. So copy the filters that were installed by the 4.01 Installer in the system32 folder to the MyDVD folder:

copy /y C:\windows\system32\ "C:\Program Files\Sonic\MyDVD\"

copy /y C:\windows\system32\ "C:\Program Files\Sonic\MyDVD\"

copy /y C:\windows\system32\ "C:\Program Files\Sonic\MyDVD\"

12/30/03 - I have MPG movie files with sound that I recorded using a SONY DSC-V1 digital camera. I import them into MM2 and they play fine from the "Collection" but once I add them to the "StoryBoard" and I play them, the video plays fine but the sound is like twice as fast as the video and then there is silence while the video finishes up. I suppose there is some weirdness in the way MM2 is looking at the different sample rates between the video and audio? > Your problem sounds like the problem I was having.... (someone) suggested uninstalling WinDVD 4. I did it, and the problem with the StoryBoard is now gone! Apparently something in WinDVD 4 is in conflict with MM2... this solution does have a drawback: having uninstalled WinDVD 4, I no longer have a DVD decoder on my laptop, so I can't use any DVDs (unless I re-install WinDVD 4). The suggestion I referred to did say that InterVideo WinDVD 5 does not have this same problem with MM2. > ...this worked!

12/2/03 - I can't get WMM to import either a VOB nor an MPEG-2 file (they're the same, really). Windows Media Player will play them however (albeit if I change the VOB extension to MP2, it thinks it's only 5 seconds long). A new codec, if required, does not "download automatically". I'm using Studio 8 which also has MPEG-2 support. Is there something else I need to buy/install to work with MPEG-2/VOB clips in WMM? I looked at the LIGOS website but it wasn't plain what I'd need for WMM, and I'd like to avoid paying more for a "licensing fee" if possible (I'd like to be able to use WMM on all my computers). My source is one of the new SONY DVD camcorders being advertised. It writes directly to a mini-DVD in a VOB format.

5/29/03 - I have had this problem for a long time and the only solution I was able to find is: A.) Install Adobe Premiere, B.) Get the MainConcept MPEG-2 encoder. Note both are expensive solutions to a problem that never should have existed. > If I had the money to buy Adobe Premiere, I wouldn't even be wasting my time trying to use MM2.

On 5/27/03, I posted to a couple video forums, asking what software tools they used to convert from MPEG-2 to DV-AVI (for importing into MM2). One person's Swiss Army Knife to do it is Premiere 6.5. Another said "Perhaps the lack of response may be due to the fact that people are not converting MPEG to AVI files so much?... for one, the quality loss using this procedure is really unacceptable. The... Pinnacle Studio 8 app will convert from MPEG to AVI in order to edit on the timeline,... as will the Ulead editing apps,... but as I mentioned,... appreciable quality loss results from this procedure.

5/9/03 - I receive the message when importing MPEG-2: An interface has too many methods to fire events from, or I do get the MPEG-2 imported and when I drag it to the time line only the audio shows up on the timeline, but not the video.

5/2/03 - The Sony DCR-IP5 is a "MicroMV" model - it's an MPEG-2 device, which isn't supported for capture by MM2. You can use the Sony-provided software to rip the video into your PC.

3/3/03 - I ran into this problem also, or the ability to import MPEG-2. I tried to convert the MPEG-2 file to AVI with little success until I used DVD2AVI version 1.74 which I already had installed previously. I changed the mpg type to a vob type file so the program would recognize it and ran the program. It created an AVI file and an audio MPA file, both of which I could import into MM2. The video and the audio matched perfectly when placed into the timeline video and audio tracks. From there you can save the file to import in other projects.

3/3/03 - MM allows me to import mpeg-2 videos, and I can play them in the preview player. But, when I try to drag & drop them into my movie, MM hangs and I need to kill it using Windows Task Manager. Is MPEG-2 a supported format for importing?

2/23/03 - I can capture OK using the ATI capture utility. It makes an MPEG-2 file that ATI can play back, but MM2 says is empty when importing.

1/28/03 - When I try to import a mpeg2 file that was created from Dazzle's Movie Star program, I get the following error: "The file D:\Clip314.mpg cannot be imported because the codec required to play the file is not installed on your computer. If you have already tried to download and install the codec, close and restart Windows Movie Maker, and then try to import the file again". I have CyberLink's PowerDVD installed and the MPEG-2 file will play in Windows Media Player 9.