So I'm downloading a placeholder video FLV comp from iStockphoto.com (right click, save-link as under any video preview). When adding the downloaded FLV to AE, it comes up with an import error, saying that it is damaged or unsupported.

It plays fine in VLC, so using VLC, I convert/save it to other formats, but it still will not play in After Effects. Closest I've come is by converting to MP4, which at least imports into After Effects, but shows the flat error green screen instead of the actual footage.

Anyone know how I can import an iStock comp into AE?

  • 1
    I believe FLV supports copy protection. It may be possible that there samples are protected and thus unable to be trans-coded out of flash video.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jun 20, 2013 at 20:23
  • Seems strange as they would offer it as a small watermarked download link but then they do that. I'll follow up with iStock and see if this is the case.
    – John
    Jun 20, 2013 at 20:59
  • Found a thread on istock. Seems that I'll have to use another 3rd party tool to convert the file first.
    – John
    Jun 20, 2013 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


After Effects works better with codecs that compress each frame individually (intra-frame codecs). FLV files compress across multiple frames (inter-frame), as do mp4 files. If you can get your FLV successfully converted to a codec like ProRes, it should work correctly in After Effects. FLV files are quite unreliable in conversion- there's a post here that might help - it seems most people use the (now deprecated) open source Perian codecs to get this to work:


Your best bet is probably to find source stock material in a format that is easier to work with (most videos on iStock are now mov/mp4 which should be easier to convert)

(NB - I'm not sure this is really an After Effects question.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.