This is how to get videos to work in Ableton Live if you are using a 64 bit Windows Operating System!
I went to try my hand a some robot sound effects the other day. I wanted to see if I could make it sound like Transformers were transforming and wanted to do it with a short clip of one of the Michael Bay movies. There was a problem though. Ableton Live wasn’t allowing me to import the video clips even though they were .mov.
I kept getting the same error, which you are probably seeing if you are reading this post.
ERROR MESSAGE: “The file … could not be read. It may be corrupt or not licensed”
Turns out that error can be a bit misleading. What you need to do is a couple extra things if you are running Live on a 64bit Windows setup.
Ableton Live Video Formats
Live can import movies in Apple QuickTime format (.mov) to be used as video clips. Movie files appear in Live’s browser and can be imported by dragging them into the Live Set.
Note that Live will only display video for video clips residing in the Arrangement View. Movie files that are loaded into the Session View are treated as audio clips.
First a bit about video files as described by Ableton Staff
A digital video file (e.g. .mov, .mp4 or .avi) is basically a container that encapsulates one or more video and audio streams. Each of these streams again is encoded using an industry standard codec (e.g. mp3 or aac for audio, H.264/AVC or MPEG-2 for video).
To be able to play back such a video file on a computer, both a suitable demuxer for reading the container file and a matching decoder for each audio and video stream must be installed.
The most frequently used codec with acceptable performance and good quality is H.264 (also called AVC). As container file format, the best choice is .mov (Quicktime) or .mp4.
The 64-bit version of Live can use any DirectShow compatible demuxers and decoders that are available on the computer, but on a fresh Windows system, only a limited number of video codecs is installed by default. That’s why you might need to install additional codecs.
In practice, some decoders are more suitable than others. Live is tested with the following two solutions that you can install on your machine to enable proper video support with the 64-bit version of Live.
Recommended by Ableton – a free solution, with good performance and a wide range of supported codecs and file formats (please install both components):
- Demuxer: Haali Media Splitter (also known as MatroskaSplitter, download directly)
- Codec: ffdshow 1.3.4531 (H.264, DV)
After you have downloaded them install them. That should be it.