I have an MP4 file, and I've tried importing it into Windows Movie Maker, iMovie and Final Cut Pro. In all three programs, the video seems to import just fine, but I can't preview it. It appears in a black bar in the timeline, and the preview window stays black even while it 'playing'.

The video was shot on a Sony PMW-EX1R, and I transferred the contents of the SD card straight to my computer, and I am now attempting to work with the MP4 file that was on the card.

I understand that this is not the correct way to do it and the camera probably uses a codec not supported by the programs mentioned above, but the MP4 file plays just fine in VLC, and all three video editors work with .MP4 and .MOV video shot on my Nikon D3100.

So, how can I get the files to play nice with my editor? Do I need to convert them? Change a setting somewhere?


Under the 'more info' option in finder, where the dimensions of the video would normally be, there's nothing.


Here's the results of mediainfo:

Complete name                            : Documents/Removable Disk/BPAV/CLPR/184_0028_01/184_0028_01.MP4
Format                                   : MPEG-4
Commercial name                          : XDCAM EX 35
Format profile                           : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID                                 : mp42
File size                                : 923 MiB
Duration                                 : 3mn 31s
Overall bit rate mode                    : Variable
Overall bit rate                         : 36.5 Mbps
Encoded date                             : UTC 2015-06-19 18:52:18
Tagged date                              : UTC 2015-06-19 18:52:18

ID                                       : 1
Format                                   : MPEG Video
Commercial name                          : XDCAM EX 35
Format version                           : Version 2
Format profile                           : Main@High
Format settings, BVOP                    : Yes
Format settings, Matrix                  : Custom
Format settings, GOP                     : M=3, N=12
Codec ID                                 : 61
Duration                                 : 3mn 31s
Bit rate mode                            : Variable
Bit rate                                 : 35.0 Mbps
Width                                    : 1 920 pixels
Height                                   : 1 080 pixels
Display aspect ratio                     : 16:9
Frame rate mode                          : Constant
Frame rate                               : 25.000 fps
Standard                                 : Component
Color space                              : YUV
Chroma subsampling                       : 4:2:0
Bit depth                                : 8 bits
Scan type                                : Progressive
Compression mode                         : Lossy
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)                       : 0.675
Stream size                              : 884 MiB (96%)
Language                                 : English
Encoded date                             : UTC 2015-06-19 18:52:18
Tagged date                              : UTC 2015-06-19 18:52:18
Color primaries                          : BT.709
Transfer characteristics                 : BT.709
Matrix coefficients                      : BT.709

ID                                       : 2
Format                                   : PCM
Format settings, Endianness              : Big
Format settings, Sign                    : Signed
Codec ID                                 : twos
Duration                                 : 3mn 31s
Bit rate mode                            : Constant
Bit rate                                 : 1 536 Kbps
Channel(s)                               : 2 channels
Sampling rate                            : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth                                : 16 bits
Stream size                              : 38.8 MiB (4%)
Language                                 : English
Encoded date                             : UTC 2015-06-19 18:52:18
Tagged date                              : UTC 2015-06-19 18:52:18
  • Paste the results of Mediainfo for the file. Use View -> Text mode and edit it into your question using the code formatting.
    – Gyan
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 13:49
  • Transcode your MP4 to MOV and try. Download 32-bit static build of ffmpeg for Windows. Run ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -c copy output.mov from a command line where 'input' is the filename of your MP4.
    – Gyan
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 14:09
  • @Mulvya I have a Mac. Are there any similar utilities for Mac?
    – Ryan Krage
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 14:12
  • Try the Mac version: evermeet.cx/ffmpeg
    – Gyan
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 14:13
  • @Mulvya How long should ffmpeg take? There's just a '>' prompt in my terminal and the process doesn't seem to be using any system resources as I imagine a file conversion would.
    – Ryan Krage
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 14:19

2 Answers 2


I used handbrake to re-encode the video as .MOV, and then it worked just fine.

I suspect ffmpeg would work too, but I couldn't find the output so I can't be sure.

  • The output will be in the same folder as where you unpacked the ffmpeg binary or the same folder as the input (depending on whether the ffmpeg is in the Mac equivalent of the path variable).
    – Gyan
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 15:55

You probably have to install or update Pro Video Formats on your mac. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202252

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