Powershot SD700 IS -- Major Problem

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by alfarmer, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. I don't know if this is typical of all Powershot cameras or just the SD700, but
    in movie mode it spits out some bizzarro version of an .AVI file that causes
    every transcoding program (both Mac and PC) to choke. If I get an error message
    AT ALL from these programs, they're usually complaining about the audio format
    inside the .AVI file.

    The reason I'm trying to transcode these .AVI files is because none of my DVD
    burning software (Mac or PC) will recognize and work with the .AVI files spat
    out by this camera. I otherwise love the camera, but this is a deal-killer.

    Hopefully someone one this board has encountered this problem with other
    Powershot cameras or can point out some possible workflow to make this work. I
    really want to keep this camera, but one of the reasons I got it was for video
    so it needs to work...

  2. All I can tell you is that the .avi files created by my SD200 seem perfectly standard and play just fine in the Windows Media Player.

    So it's not all Powershot or even all SD series cameras.
  3. It's the mjpeg compression. There are codecs out there for it. I'm not at a Windows box to check it for you. Doesn't WMP attempt to find missing codecs on the internet when you try to play something you don't have support for? Hideous interface. Don't use it myself.

    A Google search on Canon avi mjpeg might turn up the answer for you, if the Media Player doesn't.

    Good Luck,

    Don E
  4. Anthony,

    Just checked on this Linux box. I've got support for Canon G3 avi. Caption reads: AVI 320X240 Motion JPEG (ffmpeg), if you need more search terms.

    Good Luck

    Don E
  5. Thanks, Don. I'll look into it.

    To follow up, both Mac and PC media players can play the files just fine. But everything breaks when you try to use ANY transcoding application (including VLC, Quicktime, Roxio, iDVD, etc., etc.).

    Thus, I can't burn the Canon Powershot .AVI files to DVD. Nor can I CONVERT them to something like quicktime, which could then be burned to DVD. Sigh, this is terrible...

  6. Anthony,

    I just took six avi's recorded with a Canon G3 several years ago and burned them to dvd with NeroVision Express 3, which is an app that came with some dvd writer awhile back. I think it is a Lite or SE version.

    Just click click click. Effortless.

    I played the dvd with Windows Media Player. No problems.

    So, maybe its your burning sw. But I can't say for certain. I don't recollect whether I might have installed a specific codec for this purpose, but I don't think so. It's possible the G3 and SD700 formats are slightly different.

    Good Luck,

    Don E
  7. I'm pretty sure the sensor and software in the SD700 is different than the G3. While I haven't tried Nero, I've never had a problem with Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Express, iDVD, and Roxio software with any other movie files. And like I said, I can *PLAY* the movies with ANY of the software. They just choke when trying to transcode the movies.

  8. Anthony,

    There is nothing wrong with your camera, nor is there anything wrong with the Motion-JPG movie files that it's producing. The Motion-JPG spec hasn't changed and is used in almost every digital point and shoot out there (with the exception of some of the 2006 models starting to use MPEG-4).

    The problem is somewhere within your transcoding methodology.
  9. I don't believe there's a problem with my transcoding methodology (I've been using it with other cameras for years). Canon has done something different with the audio in these files. It doesn't follow the standard somehow. Unless I use a hex editor to disect the file I can't tell you what they did wrong, but this is definitely a problem coming from their new camera software.

    If you can send me (or link me to) an .AVI file you created, I'll send it through the exact same transcoding process and see if it chokes. That should narrow down the problem fairly quickly...

  10. Specs on Canon SD700 movie files:

    (from dpreview.com)

    � 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps

    � 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15fps

    � 160 x 120 @ 15fps

    � AVI (Motion JPEG compression)

    � WAVE audio

    (from powershot.com)
    Movie: AVI (Image: Motion JPEG; Audio: WAVE (Monaural))

    Perhaps they have changed something, but these specs are the same as with their other cameras, including the G3

    (G3 movie specs from powershot.com)
    Movie: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG, Audio data: WAVE [monaural])
  11. Here's a small sample from my camera:


    Can your software transcode this to Quicktime or MPEG? More importantly, can your software burn the file to DVD?

  12. b.t.w. you can get tons of sample movies from reviews on dpreview.com for testing.
  13. Quoting specs is irrelevant. We need to look at actual files. I've posted mine and would appreciate it if someone else could post one that they've tested and works with DVD burning and transcoding software.

    If we want to be 100% consistent with our tests, we could all use the same software. I've used VLC (both Windows and Mac), Roxio DVD Maker (Windows), Adobe Premiere & Elements (Windows), Windows Media Player, Quicktime (Windows and Mac), Final Cut Express (Mac), iMovie (Mac), iDVD (Mac), Mac The Ripper (Mac), MPEG Streamclip (Mac).

    How can all these programs choke on the same file in the same way and the file NOT be the problem?

  14. <<How can all these programs choke on the same file in the same way and the file NOT be the problem?>>

    Maybe they're all pointing to the same codec which itself has a problem? Have you tried reinstalling your Motion-JPEG codec?

    I'm using Nero Vision and it transcoded your AVI file and the AVI file from the dpreview.com review of the SD700 without incident. I included a third file, from my Canon A80, for comparison.

    The DVD Nero produced is fine and plays great on my DVD player.
  15. The motion JPEG codecs on my Mac and PC are different, so you're saying they BOTH have some sort of problem? Where do I get another one to try? And shouldn't the ones built into Windows and OS X actually work?

    Sounds like you have purchased a third-party codec, because if you use the ones built-in like I've been doing they don't like the audio format in these .AVI files.

    Actually, there may be than two encoders involved, since Adobe Premiere, iDVD, and Final Cut Express supposedly use their own internal codecs as well as being able to use Quicktime and Windows Media Player.

    At least this is a ray of hope. If I can find a new codec that works better than the (apparently crappy) ones built into the OS's then I can keep the camera. :) I really like the camera...

  16. Anthony,

    Both Rob and I can burn Canon avi's to dvd using Nero software and play back the dvd. I haven't burned your avi. Not on a box, at the moment, that can do that. It is likely I'd have the same result.

    Good Luck,

    Don E
  17. <<Sounds like you have purchased a third-party codec, because if you use the ones built-in like I've been doing they don't like the audio format in these .AVI files.>>

    I have not purchased any codecs. Perhaps Nero comes with its own internal set of codecs, I'm not sure. But I've done nothing directly to the base install of Windows XP in terms of audio or video codecs.
  18. I just downloaded this software:


    And it has the same problem. It has it's own MPEG codec, so it's not using the one in Windows. There's another one...

    Can you try using some software besides Nero? Apparently Nero is the only software on the planet that will transcode these files...

  19. Anthony,

    Have you tried any of the sample movies from dpreview.com from other Canon cameras or even other manufacturers?
  20. Anthony,

    I'm playing your avi now using another freebie (Ulead dvd MovieFactory 3 SE) that came with some other hw. Perhaps that strengthens the case for a codec rather than changing the burning sw. Burned to dvd and played the dvd. Cute baby. Only sound besides the ambient is the baby's little gaspy breath.

    First hit on google: "motion jpeg" codec


    Free version, and a "full version" for 19$.

    That's not where I got any codecs. I haven't a clue what WMP or I might have picked it up.

    Good Luck,

    Don E
  21. The "AVI to MPEG" software you linked to transcoded your sample AVI file without incident on my computer.
  22. Correction, the audio in the MPEG file it produced is no longer in sync with the video. But I didn't receive any error messages during the transcoding process and it did complete.
  23. I guess I didn't make it clear enough -- I can PLAY these movies fine. I just can't convert them to any other format using any other software on either Mac or Windows.

    Perhaps it's a Quicktime issue? Do either of you have Quicktime installed on your computers? Maybe it takes over all transcoding functionality or something. That would be something common between my Windows and Mac machines.

    Apparently my computer is the only one on the planet that won't play these files. I guess I should just kill myself and get it overwith...

  24. Anthony,

    You've made yourself perfectly clear. However, I will ask again: have you tried transcoding any of the sample movie files available on dpreview.com from either other Canon cameras or other manufacturers. If this is truly a problem with the files being produced by your SD700 IS then that should be born out with these sample files.

    I have Quicktime 7.1 installed.
  25. I tried the file from DP Review and it has the same problem.

    I also tried the trial version of this other MPEG encoder (above) and that helped Adobe
    Premiere (Windows) with the file. It didn't help Roxio's DVD or movie editors, though.

    I'm beginning to suspect Quicktime more, since that and the Windows XP standard stuff
    are the only codecs I've installed. Also, Premiere asked me which converter to use when it
    converted to MPEG. Roxio did not, so I presume it used the default and perhaps that's

    I think the drivers for my nVidia video card contain a DVD DEcoder as well, but I wouldn't
    think that'd have an effect on anything other than playback, since it's not a transcoder.

    So at least focusing on Windows it would appear that this other MPEG encoder works. But
    then why doesn't the one built into Windows XP work? Apparently it works for others, so I
    can only presume my OS is using something else -- which is why I suspected Quicktime.

    Is there some way to show all the codecs that are installed?

  26. You could try uninstalling Quicktime, couldn't you? Or maybe you could just uncheck the AVI box under "File Types" in preferences?
  27. AVI files aren't associated with quicktime in the "file types" dialog. Everything in there is associated with Windows Media Player. I'm not sure how applications like Roxio choose which encoder to use, but Adobe Premiere Elements puts them in a list for you to choose. So I'm thinking somwhere there's an application that will show what's installed. No luck finding it so far, though.

  28. I'm using a G4 PowerBook. That sample video from the 700IS (TestSample.avi) crashes
    QuickTime Player when I try to open it. It seems to playback just fine in VLC. Unfortunately
    but not surprisingly, many Mac application simply use QuickTime to work with video, so
    they all suffer the same fate (i.e. they crash).

    It seems other people have similar problems with the AVI files from digital cameras (see
    http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20060505122748893 ).

    Sorry I can't help further, just wanted you to know that it's not just you! :)
  29. Oh, never mind. I got your clip working on my G4 PowerBook. One of the plug-in
    components in my /Library/QuickTime folder was causing problems. Once I removed the
    component, entitled "AviImporter-r7 (ppc).component", I was able to open the AVI in
    QuickTime Player, play it back, and transcode it to another format. (I've now deleted that
    file, as it really was unnecessary.)

    Perhaps you should try temporarily removing all your QuickTime plug-ins to see if any of
    they are the culprit. This means moving everything in /Library/QuickTime (at the root of
    your hard drive) and ~/Library/QuickTime (in your user directory) somewhere else where
    QuickTime can't find them. Then, restart QuickTime Player and try working with your AVI.
    Remember to move all the plug-in files back to their proper place when finished testing
    this out.
  30. 1ev


    I had the very same problem with the Powershot Pro1 where all the usual transcoders failed on the audio stream. On the Powershot the audio is sampled at 11024 Hz in 8 bit and this might be too unusual.

    I now use mencoder a command line tool shipped with mplayer to transcode the Canon AVI files. Also I force the audio sampling to 11025 Hz to get rid of the annoying background high pitch noise.

    Here the command I use:

    mencoder -o video-encoded.avi -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -srate 11025 -channels 1 -af-adv force=1
    -lameopts preset=medium -lavcopts vcodec=msmpeg4v2:vbitrate=600 -mc 0 video-toencode.AVI

    It also works fine with your sample. The quality is very good with 600 bit rate and the files are about 1/10 of the original size. I never tried mencoder on Windows or OSX but it flies on Linux/FreeBSD.

    I hope I could help.

  31. Thanks everyone. Here's some new info. to add to the mix.

    1. I called Canon and they offered no assistance, saying that their
    AVI files are industry standard. This is patently false, however,
    because they aren't standard AVI files, they're Motion JPEG. In
    addition, the audio stream is atypical and screws up most software
    unless one installs specialty transcoders.

    2. That aside, Quicktime Pro seems to handle the transcoding fine on
    my Mac. The problem, at least in my case, was I'd installed a WMV
    decoder called Flip4Mac and it took over .AVI files as well. And
    of course it completely chokes on Canon's MJPEG files. After
    removing Flip4Mac, the files were again handled by Quicktime and
    works fine.

    3. Windows is a completely different story. I've still not found a
    good solution, but the key thing is THERE IS NO transcoder for
    MJPEG files built into Windows as standard. There's a DEcoder for
    viewing, but no transcoding ability. That ability seems to come
    with each individual application (Quicktime, Roxio, etc.)

    4. If you have Windows XP and Canon Powershot .AVI files, I believe
    the best solution is purchasing Quicktime Pro. It's "only" $30
    and should work as smoothly as the Mac version. I've not tested
    this theory, however, as I don't plan to buy two copies.

    5. Outside of that, I'm hoping the latest version of Vegas Video or
    Roxio will deal with these MJPEG files appropriately. I'm most
    concerned about converting to DVD MPEG, however, so there may be
    some freeware out there that works well enough for everyone in my
    family to use and I'd prefer that. If it were just me, the command
    line tool would be okay, but it's not that simple. :)

    6. I presume this stuff applies to ALL Canon Powershot cameras that
    spit out .AVI files. It's really too bad they didn't pony up the
    extra FEW bucks and crank out Quicktime files like Panasonic does.

    I relaly like my Lumix camera too, but it suffers from being VERY underpowered when it comes to CPU & memory. One of the reasons I'm upgrading to the SD700 is because the Lumix totally chokes when writing video about half the time. And unfortunately, all data recorded to that point is lost. My wife is VERY unhappy with it, so this SD700 helps out a lot there. I just need to streamline post-production on her Windows XP machine.

    Again, thanks for the help everyone.

  32. I ran your file through Divx Doctor II, which can sometimes clean up non-divx files as well
    as divx. Then I used Quicktime Pro to convert it to h.264, mpg, avi, and dv stream formats.
    They all work fine.

    My dvd burner is broken right now, so I can't help you with that. But I did manage to
    convert it into many different formats with no problems and retain the audio.
  33. As mentioned previously, I was able to convert the file on my Mac using Quicktime Pro and therefore assume that would work on the PC as well. I've just been told repeatedly that Windows handles this type of file automatically, so I'd like to get it working without spending any more money.

  34. Interesting...

    I just tried Pinnacle Studio (an older version) and it handled the AVI files fine on my machine. I presume that means it uses its own internal processing for MotionJPEG files, while the other applications are relying upon the OS for that functionality.


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