The most common video problem

May 26, 2010
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Without any doubt the single most common problem people have today with Fast video indexer are codec related crashes.

Lets start with the technical bit and and the end of the text I will give you a practical tip on how you can solve your codec issues the easy way.

Windows has a really awesome, but at the same time, very complicated system for programming videos applications, called direct show.

There are other alternative programming interfaces but if you want the best of features and speed you need to go the direct show way. That is what Fast video indexer and Windows medial player uses.

Direct show allow an application to create a graph that the video file data flows through. Each node in the graph is called a filer. A simple graph would have a filter to read the input data from the video file. That filter would pass on the data to a filter that splits the stream into a video stream and an audio stream, the video stream would go into a decoder filter (a codec) and finally the decoded video stream would go to a render filter to display it on screen.

The type of graph needed depends on the type of video file and the content in that video file.  So for each file you watch this graph has to be created and the application needs to figure out what filters to create and how to connect them.  To futher complicate things each of the filters are run as an independent thread, this is really good performance wise since we can make use of more than one cpu core. But, it also makes writing the filters correctly much harder. Filters that may appear to be correct can infact have timing bugs that only appear on some computers with some configurations.

When fast video indexer crashes, 9 our of 10 times it is because the video uses one or another codec that has a bug in it.

If you have a huge batch of videos that all require different types of codecs you are really running a huge amount of code and a bug in any of it can cause the program to crash right away or to cause problems with videos later in the queue.  If Fast video indexer crashes when you are capturing it will try to pick up from the place where it crashed when you restart it. If the crash doesn’t happend again the problem was most likely with one of the videos that was captured earlier, just that the problem did not show up right away.

So what can you do to reduce codec problems?

Professional users should decide on one (or at least a limited number of) tried codecs and stick to that one. In that way you reduce the problem significantly and you will very very seldom see crashes.

If you are having problems from time to time start by Downloading the codec tweak tool and run it on your computer. This tool will go through your computer and find registry entries that are broken, codecs that have known issues and:

  • Scan the registry to detect and remove broken references to codecs and filters.
  • Generate a detailed log of all installed codecs and filters.
  • Enable/disable more than 200 codecs and filters (if they are installed).

If you need many different codecs on your computer consider the latest version of the k-lite codec pack

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