John McGowan's AVI Overview: Authoring and Related Topics

How can I play an AVI file?


On DOS, the shareware program QuickView by Wolfgang Hesseler can play AVI files (including sound). QuickView 1.03 is available through the simtel sites such as You can get the latest version of QuickView (2.30 on 6/6/98) from Wolfgang Hesseler's Home Page

Microsoft Windows

Windows Media Player

Windows 3.x, Windows 95, and Windows NT are usually configured so that double clicking on the icon for an AVI file will invoke an AVI player application. Video for Windows includes an application known as Media Player that can play AVI files as well as other multimedia data types. ActiveMovie 1.0 inclues an ActiveMovie ActiveX control that can play AVI, QuickTime, and MPEG video as well as other multimedia data types. On Windows 3.x, Media Player is MPLAYER.EXE. This is a 16 bit Windows 3.x application. Windows 95 can run both the 16 bit Media Player and a 32 bit Media Player. There is also a Media Player on Windows NT 4.0 This is MPLAY32.EXE MediaPlayer can be invoked by typing mplayer.exe at the DOS command prompt or through the Run... item in the Windows 3.x Program Manager or the start menu for Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 The ActiveMovie ActiveX control on Windows 95 is amovie.ocx. This can be executed as a standalone application using the commands Rundll32 amovie.ocx. ActiveMovie is only available for Windows 95. It will not work on Windows 3.x Windows NT 5.0 should add an ActiveMovie implementation. ActiveMovie 1.0 is shipped with the Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2. ActiveMovie has been renamed DirectShow.

Woldo's MCI Video Player for Windows 95/98/NT

Wolfgang Doehler distributes a free alternative to Windows Media Player for 32 bit Windows platforms:

Power Macintosh

On the Apple Macintosh, Apple's QuickTime 3 Pro includes a QuickTime Internet Plug-In that can play AVI video. The QuickTime Internet Plug-In is available for: o Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and 4.0 for Macintosh o Netscape Communicator 4.0 for Macintosh o Netscape Navigator 3.0 for Macintosh On the Macintosh, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (Web Browser) can play AVI files directly. There is also an application AVI->QuickTime that can convert AVI files to QuickTime .MooV files on the Macintosh. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3.01 (on 6/4/97) for the Macintosh may be downloaded from the Microsoft Web site at: MacZilla is an inexpensive shareware Netscape Navigator Plug-In for the Macintosh that plays QuickTime .MOV, Video for Windows AVI, and MPEG-1 files. MacZilla can also play Sun Audio .AU, Microsoft .WAV, and MPEG Layer 2 Audio .MP2 files. If you pay the fee, MacZilla will send you a STANDALONE player (not a Netscape Plug-In) for the Macintosh. The MacZilla URL is: NOTE: I personally experienced a lot of crashes with MacZilla on my Macintosh. (6/4/97)


Xanim by Marc Podlipec is a free X Windows based AVI Player for Unix. Much of Xanim is available as source code!! The Xanim home page is: XAnime 2.80.1 was released on March 21, 1999. This is a minor release with some changes to XAnim 2.80.0, described below. XAnim 2.80.0 was released on March 14, 1999. According to the XAnim Web site: XAnim 2.80.0 is now ready for consumption. In addition to several new video codecs, the new revision also supports dynamically loadable video decompression libraries. This means you no longer need to recompile xanim each time a new video codec is released or upgraded. There are currently dll's for: Creative CYUV, Radius Cinepak, Intel Indeo 3.2, Intel Indeo 4.1, Intel Indeo 5.0, CCITT H.261 and CCITT H.263. Mark Podlipec writes (PREVIOUSLY): Below is some up-to-date information about XAnim, the unix X11 AVI player. Thanks, Mark ---- Latest revision: XAnim Official Web sites: AVI Video and Audio Codecs Supported: + AVI Video Codecs supported: + IBM Ultimotion (ULTI) + JPEG (JPEG) + Motion JPEG (MJPG) + Intergraph JPEG (IJPG) + Microsoft Video 1 (CRAM/WHAM/MSVC) + Radius Cinepak (CVID) + Intel Indeo R3.1 (IV31) + Intel Indeo R3.2 (IV32) + Intel RAW YUV9 (YUV9) + Creative CYUV (CYUV) + Uncompressed (RGB ) + Run length encoded (RLE8) + Editable MPEG (XMPG) + AVI Audio Codecs supported: + PCM (0x0001) + MS ADPCM (0x0002) + ULAW (0x0007) + DVI/IMA ADPCM (0x0011)

Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX/VMS

On VAX/VMS, Xanim (see above) has been ported and works on VMS.


MooVId (and) PIV-MooVId AVI/MOV Player for the Amiga *** MooVId (shareware) *** MooVId AVI/MOV player with GUI and INDEO support for Amiga computers Last version: 0.50b (13.09.1998) Required hardware: Kickstart 3.0 (3.1 Recommended) MC68020 or better (68040 recommended for bigger AVI/MOVs) ECS or AGA chipset (on ECS the playback is only 16 grayscale) 1 MB of free memory Required software: Reqtools.library CyberGraphX or Picasso96 for GFX-Board playback Recommended hardware: MC68040/060 and ZorroIII graphicsboard (for bigger animations), but MooVId can play 240x180 truecolor AVI/MOV at 15FPS (without skipping) in perfect (!) colors on 030/50 AGA. MooVId features: AVI (Video for windows) and MOV (Quicktime) player in one file Support INTEL Indeo 3.1 & 3.2 (IV31 & IV32) 100% assembly coded (fast & short) Buffered I/O handling (direct playback from CD-ROM or HDD) Timer Based frame skipping method FULL AGA support (256 color/gray or ham8) Bugfree "18bit" gfx on AGA Amigas Special (fast & very good ham8) STORM dither on AGA Amigas ECS Support (16 grayscale) 16 grayscale Window playback Full support of the CD32 akiko chip Synchronized audio playing On-fly selectable frame rate Fully system friendly Direct p96 support (no CGFX "emulation") Direct CGFX support Accelerated decoders for ZorroII gfxboards Full GUI (check the screenshoot) Supported codecs: Video for Windows (.avi) Supported video encoders: Codec Name FourCC code Depth Intel Indeo IV31/IV32 24 bit Microsoft RGB RGB 8/16 bit Microsoft Video 1 CRAM/MSVC 8/16 bit Radius Cinepak CVID 24/32 bit Run Length Encoded RLE 8 bit Supported audio codecs: Audio format Channels Bits PCM MONO/STEREO 8/16 bit MS-ADPCM MONO/STEREO 4 bit (16bit) Quicktime (.mov, .qt) Supported video encoders: Codec Name FourCC code Depth Apple Video RPZA 16 bit Intel Indeo IV31/IV32 24 bit Radius Cinepak CVID 24/32 bit Supported audio encoders: Audio format Channels Bits RAW MONO 8/16 bit TWOS MONO 8/16 bit Other codecs (like JPEG and IMA audio) is in progress *** END of MooVId *** PIV-MooVId AVI/MOV player with GUI and INDEO support for PicassoIV graphics board Last version: 0.991b (27.11.1998) Required hardware: Kickstart 3.0 or better MC68020 or better (68040/060 recommended) PicsassoIV graphics board (other graphicsboard NOT supported!) 1 MB of free memory Required software: Reqtools.library Picasso96 1.38 or better (latest version recommended) Recommended hardware: MC68040/060 and PicassoIV in ZorroIII mode PIV-MooVId features: The FASTEST AVI/MOV player for Amiga Support the video layer of the PicassoIV All decoders (espec. Cinepak and Indeo) are video layer accelerated AVI/MOV playback in a resizable window (up to fullscreen), without slowdown! AVI (Video for windows) and MOV (Quicktime) player in one file Support INTEL Indeo 3.1 & 3.2 (IV31 & IV32) 100% assembly coded (fast & short) Buffered I/O handling (direct playback from CD-ROM or HDD) Timer Based frame skipping method Synchronized audio playing On-fly selectable frame rate Fully system friendly Full GUI Supported codecs: This part is same as at MooVId! Plus: Codec Name FourCC code Depth Cirrus Accupak/PalomAVI videocapture format CLJR 24 bit *** END OF PIV-MooVId *** TapAVI 1.5 Picasso AVI Animation Player AVI Player for 020+ KS2.0 Picasso-II (variety of Amiga) There appears to be an Amiga version of the XAnim AVI Player. The TapAVI documentation in fact says that in general XAnim is better but TapAVI is better for certain uses. xanim for the Amiga is available in a file xanim6.lha and other files from Aminet. Aminet is an archive of Amiga public domain, freeware, and shareware software. The primary Aminet site is at Washington University in St. Louis: Many mirror Aminet sites exist.


OS/2 has built-in support for AVI files ... up to a point. OS/2 has had built-in AVI support since OS/2 2.0 in 1992. However, it cannot play all Windows style AVI files. Practice Corporation markets an extension for OS/2 called AnPoCODEC which adds support for playback of Windows-style AVI files, including AVI's compressed with RLE (Microsoft RLE), CVID (Cinepak), and MSVC (Microsoft Video 1). Practice also markets QUickMotion which adds support for playing QuickTime video files. At least two other programs exist that are claimed to be OS/2 AVI Players. Calliope DMP 1.41


There are reportedly at least three AVI players for the Atari: - Animator ( - Aniplayer ( - Mplayer ( All these are 100% assembly code written, so they are fast. They also support many codecs. Return to Top

How to capture screen to AVI Files

Microsoft Camcorder

Microsoft distributes a free screen capture utility called Microsoft Camcorder (sometimes abbreviated MSCamcorder). Camcorder can save screen captures as AVI files or a .EXE file.


See the following posting from Greg Kochaniak dated 5/10/97 from the newsgroup. I have uploaded to Simtel.Net: 251872 bytes HyperCam v1.19 AVI screen capture for Win95,NT HyperCam v1.19 captures the action from Windown 95 or NT screen in any graphics mode, including cursor movements and sound, and saves it to standard AVI movie files. Perfect for demonstrations, presentations and tutorials. Special requirements: Windows 95 or Windows NT. Changes: Fixed two problems: starting recording in 256 color mode would produce sometimes invalid AVI files (when, upon minimizing HyperCam window for recording, another window with a different palette would come to front and realize its palette). The other problem: selecting AVI file name with Browse button would not always work correctly. has replaced Shareware. Uploaded by the author. Greg Kochaniak, Hyperionics


TechSmith Corporation markets a Microsoft Windows product called SnagIt which can capture the screen to AVI files. SnagIt also can capture the screen to still image formats such as BMP. Return to Top

Authoring Tools to Create AVI Files

A wide variety of 2D and 3D animation applications as well as other multimedia authoring tools generate AVI files directly. This is especially true for Windows versions of applications, since Microsoft provides an API for creating AVI files. A list of applications that can create AVI files follows.

LightWave 3D 5.5 for Windows 95 and Windows NT

LightWave is a popular 3D modeling and animation program widely used in broadcast television. LightWave can do almost anything and supports third party plug-ins to add features that it lacks. NewTek Note: According to product literature on the NewTek Web site.

Caligari Truespace 1,2, and 3 for Windows

Caligari TrueSpace is a popular low-end 3D modeling and animation program. Traditionally, TrueSpace has been polygon based limiting its usefulness for modeling organic forms. TrueSpace 3.0 adds some organic features. Caligari Corporation Note: Confirmed from personal use of Caligari TrueSpace.

Fractal Design Ray Dream Studio for Windows

Ray Dream Studio is a suite of 3D modeling, animation, and rendering tools. Fractal Design Note: According to product literature on Web site.

Macromedia Director 6.0 for Windows

Macromedia Director is a widely used authoring tool for creating interactive 2D animations such as presentations, multimedia for kiosks, prototypes of user interfaces, and similar uses. Director can also produce straight 2D animations appropriate for AVI files. Macromedia Note: According to product literature on the Macromedia Web site.


Corel's CorelMOVE animation software can export AVI files. Return to Top

How to create AVI files from analog video:

Video Capture Cards

On Intel based PC's, use a video capture card to convert analog video from video tapes or video cameras to AVI files. A PC video capture card is typically either a 16 bit ISA bus card or a 32-bit PCI bus card that plugs into the 16 bit ISA or 32-bit PCI slots in your PC motherboard. 32-bit PCI bus cards are steadily replacing 16-bit ISA bus cards. Most video capture cards have either a composite video connector or both a composite video and an S-Video connector. Most video capture cards perform compression of the video in hardware or firmware on the video capture card before tranferring the compressed video over the ISA or PCI bus to the PC hard drive. Most video capture cards only capture video. They do not contain audio capture. Audio capture is done through the audio or sound card of the computer. It is increasinly common to have the audio input and output hardware built into the motherboard. The computer may not have a physically distinct sound card. Sound cards usually have a Microphone input jack, a Speaker or Headphone output jack, a Line input jack, and a Line output jack. Line input and the microphone input are not interchangable. The jacks use different electrical signals. Most users will use the microphone for input and speakers or headphone for output.

Video Capture in Video for Windows

Under Microsoft Windows, video capture cards come with a Video for Windows capture driver (CAPTURE DRIVER). The capture driver exports standard functions (including some dialog boxes for user interaction) that any Video for Windows software application can call. Any Video for Windows video capture application, including video editing applications that support video capture, can and must use this Video for Windows capture driver to capture video. Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51, and Windows NT 4.0 all use Video for Windows capture drivers. ActiveMovie 1.0 for Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 does not provide a mechanism for video capture, only video playback. Video for Windows continues to be the software component for video capture. The capture driver may consist of a single file or multiple files. The capture driver is identified by the name MSVIDEO (in the SYSTEM.INI file in Windows 3.x and Windows 95 for example). In Windows 3.x and Windows 95, the SYSTEM.INI file will contain a line such as MSVIDEO = C:\PROSHARE\ISVRPRO.DRV ISVRPRO.DRV is the name of the video capture driver used by Intel's Smart Video Recorder Pro in the Intel ProShare video-conferencing system. where MSVIDEO points to the top-level file that exports the standard Video for Windows functions for the capture driver. This file may in turn invoke other separate files that form the rest of the video capture driver. For example, the installation program for the miroMEDIA PCTV TV Tuner and Video Capture Card installs eleven (11) different files to support the Brooktree Bt848 video capture chip on the card. This card consists of some connectors, a few resistors and capacitors, and the Bt848 chip. In Windows 95, users can view and configure the video capture driver by selecting System in the Windows 95 Control Panel. Then select the Device Manager tab. System | Device Manager is actually a user friendly interface to the Windows 95 Registry which contains all of the information about a device such as names and locations of driver files, hardware resources used, and other data in a complex database. The Device Manager contains icons representing all the devices installed on the computer. The video capture card and associated driver will appear either in the "Sound, video and game controllers" category or "Other Devices". Each device has "Properties". Users can view and change the properties either by: (1) Click once on the device icon in System | Device Manager to select the device. (2) Click once on the Properties Button in System | Device Manager. OR (1) Double-click on the device icon in Device Manager. The Device Properties usually have a General, a Driver, and a Resources tab. The Driver and Resources Tabs may be absent in some cases. Users can usually determine the version of the device driver from the Driver tab of the Device Properties in System | Device Manager. The Driver tab usually lists all of the files installed on the system that make up the device driver. Use the Driver tab to install or update the video capture driver. The Driver tab contains a Change Driver... button. Clicking on the Change Driver... button will bring up a list box with the devices and drivers known to Windows 95. The relevant video capture card and driver may be in this list. The user may need to provide a disk or CD-ROM with the drivers and a Device Information (INF) file. If the driver is not on the list of available drivers, the user must click on the Have disk... button to load the drivers from the disk or CD-ROM using an INF file. The INF file contains the information telling Windows 95 how to install the capture driver, including which files to install where on the hard disk and what changes to make to the Windows 95 Registry and the INI files. Use the Resources tab to view and change the hardware resource settings: the IRQ levels used, the DMA channels used, and the I/O addresses used by the video capture card. It is not uncommon for a newly installed video capture card to have an IRQ conflict with other devices on the system. Often Windows 95 will detect the conflict but fail to resolve it. Windows 95 automatically assigns resources such as IRQ levels to devices such as video cards. Windows 95 is supposed to select IRQ levels that do not conflict. This does not always work. To fix, try deleting the device from the Device Manager and restarting Windows 95. TO DELETE A DEVICE FROM DEVICE MANAGER (0) Make sure that you have the installation CD-ROM or disks with the device driver software for the device BEFORE you delete it!!! (1) Click on the device icon in Device Manager. (2) Presss the delete button on your keyboard or click the Remove button on System | Device Manager. When Windows 95 restarts, it will again automatically detect the hardware, install the necessary drivers, and configure the hardware. If Windows 95 does not have the necessary drivers it will prompt the user for a disk or CD-ROM with the needed drivers. As above, the disk or CD-ROM will need a Device Information or INF file to tell Windows 95 how to install the needed drivers. On a second or third try, Windows 95 may get it right. Users must delete the device before restarting Windows 95 to force Windows 95 to auto-detect, otherwise it will simply use the information currently displayed in Device Manager. If deleting the device from Device Manager and restarting Windows 95 fails to fix the problem, the user can manually set the IRQ level and other resources through the Resources tab in the Device Properties in System | Device Manager. Uncheck the "Use automatic settings" check box. Then, the user can manually change the IRQ, DMA, and I/O settings. Note that this disables the automatic configuration of the device and can cause other problems. In some cases however there is no choice but to manually set the resources. In Windows 95, users may also view and configure some video capture device information by selecting the Multimedia icon (applet) in the Windows 95 Control Panel. Then select the Advanced Tab. Then select the Video Capture Devices icon from the icons in the Advanced Tab. This will show the installed Video for Windows capture drivers. The IRQ, DMA, and I/O resources usually cannot be set through the Multimedia icon; users must use System | Device Manager in the Control Panel. Typically, when a user installs the software for a video capture card, the installation will install the Video for Windows capture driver for the video card, Video for Windows if needed, non-standard Video for Windows compression drivers, and some video capture and editing applications. Microsoft shipped a simple Video Capture application called VidCap, a 16-bit application, with the original 16-bit Video for Windows (full, not run-time). There is also now a VidCap32, a 32-bit video capture application. Many other applications such as Adobe Premiere support video capture. The video capture drivers provide a Video Source dialog box for selecting the analog video input format, connectors, and other options. The Video Source dialog box varies from video card to video card. It can include options to adjust the brightness or color of the video image. The capture drivers also provide a Video Format dialog box for selecting the color format (image format or pixel format) of the image, the image size to capture (such as 320x240 or 160x120), whether to utilize hardware compression built into the video capture card, and miscellaneous other features. Users can access the Video Source and Video Format dialog boxes through their video capture software application. In VidCap, select the Options menu. Then Video Format... to get the Video Format dialog box. Video Source... to get the Video Source dialog box. See below for further discussion.

Analog Video Formats

Composite video signals are analog signals that combine luminance and chrominance (color) information in a single analog signal that can be transmitted over a single wire or stored in a single track on an analog magnetic tape. The NTSC video signals used by commercial television sets in the United States and Japan are an example of composite signals. Composite video is particularly prone to errors in reproducing exact colors due to the overlap of the color and luminance signals. Video professionals jokingly refer to NTSC as Never The Same Color. S-Video video signals separate the luminance and chrominance information into two separate analog signals that can be transmitted over two separate wires or stored in two separate tracks on an analog tape. S-Video is generally superior to composite video in reproducing colors correctly. The S-VHS and Hi8 video tape standards use S-Video. Ordinary VHS video tape uses composite NTSC signals. Thus, in general, using an S-VHS or Hi8 video camera with S-Video output to provide the analog video signal to the S-Video input of a PC video capture card will provide better video quality. A third type of video signal is component video. In component video, the luminance (Y) and two color difference signals (U and V or I and Q) are separated into three separate analog signals that can be transmitted over three separate wires or stored in three separate tracks on an analog tape, or digitized separately. Component video is used in professional video production and provides the best quality and the most accurate reproduction of colors. The professional Betacam SP video cameras use component video. The current generation of widely used PC video capture cards do not provide component video inputs.

Capture with Motion JPEG Compressed Video

Typical PC video capture cards store the digitized compressed video as an AVI file using Motion JPEG compression. Motion JPEG is used instead of other compression schemes because each frame is compressed separately. This allows frame accurate editing of the AVI file after capture. If a compression scheme that uses frame differencing - where a frame is stored as the differences between the frame and a previous frame (such as MPEG) - is used, it is difficult to edit the video. Typical PC video capture cards are bundled with non-linear video editing software such as Adobe Premiere which can be used to edit the Motion JPEG compressed AVI file and ultimately compress the edited AVI file using compression such as Cinepak using frame differencing for maximum compression. PC video capture cards usually compress the video using a lossy compression scheme such as Motion JPEG or MPEG because uncompressed video places very high demands on the bandwidth of the ISA or PCI bus and on the bandwidth to the hard drive. In addition, uncompressed video can fill even very large hard drives very quickly.

Capture with Uncompressed Video (Color Formats)

A number of video capture cards such as those based on the Brooktree Bt848 and Bt848a video capture system chip save uncompressed video in alternative color formats to the common 24 bit RGB color format. Such as the 15 bit RGB color format or YUV9 color format. These formats represent a pixel with less than 24 bits, reducing bandwidth and storage requirements. Color formats may also be known as IMAGE FORMATS or PIXEL FORMATS. 24 bit RGB is almost universally supported. Other color formats may not be supported by graphics software, video editors, or playback drivers. Beware problems such as inability to play an AVI file or view a BMP may occur with AVI files or BMP still images created with some color formats. Color Formats Section PC video capture cards are usually bundled with application software and drivers to perform video capture such as Microsoft's VIDCAP.EXE (16 bit) or VIDCAP32.EXE (32 bit) or Intel's SMARTCAP.EXE or other similar software. Video capture drivers may provide the ability to select different color formats for uncompressed AVI video, such as RGB15 or YUV9. With Vidcap and Vidcap32, select Options | Video Format ... to set the color format for a video capture session and file. Video Format ... invokes a Video Format dialog box provided by the video capture driver; this dialog box differs from capture card to capture card. Users can usually use the Video Format dialog box to select the size (resolution) of the captured video (such as 320x240 or 160x120 pixels). Users usually can select the color format which may be identified as IMAGE FORMAT or PIXEL FORMAT. NOTE: Windows 95 and Windows NT require different device drivers. Most video capture cards have drivers for Windows 95. Only some have Windows NT drivers. Video capture cards that have Windows NT device drivers and therefore can be used under Windows NT are listed at the end of this section.

Recent Video Capture Cards (PCI)

Some current (1/11/97) popular PC video capture cards that generate AVI files are: Digital Processing Systems (DPS) makes high end video capture cards for the broadcast and studio markets. Some of these cards can capture video on the PC. Some of these cards are designed for Windows NT and include Windows NT device drivers. FAST AV Master PCI 60 field/60fps with Motion JPEG, Includes Ulead's Media Studio Pro digital video editing application. FAST Web Page Truevision Bravado 1000 50/60fps 32-bit PCI video capture board with Motion JPEG, Includes Adobe Premiere 4.2 Full Version Truevision Web Page MiroVideo DC30 PCI, complete non-linear video and audio editing for Windows 95, Includes Adobe Premiere 4.2 Full Version miro Web Page Azeena Vision 500 640x480 30 fps Motion JPEG PCI Capture Card Up to 3:1 compression. Azeena Web Page Hauppauge WinTV PCI TV-tuner and Video Capture Cards. This is a family of TV-Tuner and Video Capture cards. Built around the Brooktree Bt848 video capture chip. Hauppauge Web Page Winnov Videum AV, Half size ISA card, composite and S-Video input, claims to capture 352x240, 24 bit, AVI videos at 30 frames per second (must be compressed to fit across ISA bus - JFM) Winnov Web Page Intel Smart Video Recorder III, a 32-bit PCI card that uses Indeo video compression. Includes a composite (NTSC) video input and an S-Video input, RCA and S-Video cables, Asymetrix Digital Video Producer and Asymetrix WebPublisher. Intel Page U.S. Robotics markets the Bigpicture Video capture card and NTSC camera for about $249.99 (7/22/97). The video capture card is a PCI half card with a single RCA jack for the NTSC composite video in and a +5 Volt, 1 Amp power output jack for the NTSC camera. The video capture card uses the single Brooktree Bt848 chip, a complete video capture system on a single chip. Personally, I was impressed that they could get the entire video capture system on a single chip. More information on the Bt848 can be found at: Brooktree Bt848 Press Release Bigpicture can capture NTSC composite video at 30 frames per second at 320x240 or 160x120 resolution. Bigpicture also comes in versions with U.S. Robotics modems. The idea is that this can be a PC video phone. Bundled software includes Kai's Power GOO Special Edition, Asymetrix Digital Video Producer to capture and edit video, VDONet's VDOPhone (trial edition), and VDONet's VDOLive player. MINI-REVIEW I intalled the Bigpicture video capture system under Windows 95b (OEM Service Release 2) on a 200 MHz Pentium with MMX, 32 MB RAM, two Western Digital IDE hard drives (2GB and 5 GB), and a 12x CD-ROM. The installation was difficult due to resource conflicts. At first the video capture card appeared to conflict with the SupraExpress 336i PnP modem in my PC. After reinstalling a few times, the video capture card started to work, but the modem stopped working. A conflict between the modem (an ISA card modem) and the COM1 serial port was reported in the Windows 95 Device Manager (Control Panel | System | Device Manager tab). I fixed this by disabling the automatic settings on the modem and changing the IO address. I left the COM1 port (which I don't use) and the modem using the same IRQ (Interrupt Request) level. While the documentation provides some pointers on these conflicts, I found the problem frustrating and difficult to fix although I am moderately familiar with PC installation and configuration. Once fixed, the camera and video capture card worked fine. My modem seems to work fine. I can capture video and use the modem at the same time. U.S. Robotics 7770 North Frontage Road Skokie, IL 60077-2690

Old Video Capture Cards (ISA)

Some widely used older, 16-bit ISA cards, are: Video Spigot from Creative Labs - 16-bit ISA Card - RCA Jack for Composite (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) Video Input - S-Video Connector - Windows 3.x Drivers (16 bit) Media Vision Pro Movie Studio - 16-bit ISA Card - RCA Jack for Composite (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) Video Input - S-Video Connector - Windows 3.x Drivers (16 bit) Intel Smart Video Recorder Pro - 16-bit ISA Card - RCA Jack for Composite (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) Video Input - S-Video Connector - Windows 3.x Drivers (16 bit) - Version 2.20.061 (known to run under Windows 95) The Smart Video Recorder contains chips to accelerate and implement Intel's Indeo 3.x and YVU9 proprietary formats. These allowed it to capture video with Indeo compression on 486 machines even though Indeo encoding is very compute intensive. The special chips on the board encoded the video instead of the PC's CPU. Intel is no longer supporting the Intel Smart Video Recorder (Oct. 1997). Drivers and other support information are still available at the Intel Web site. I've successfully installed and used the Intel Smart Video Recorder Pro on two different machines under Windows 95 with Driver Version 2.20.061 of the drivers for this card.

Video Capture through PC Parallel Port

A few products enable video capture through the parallel port of your PC. In principle, this eliminates the difficulties of opening your PC case and installing a video capture card. A parallel port capture system consists of a camera and/or adapter that plugs into the parallel port of your PC and some associated software - usually Microsoft Windows drivers and applications. Alaris QuickVideo Transport Alaris QuickVideo Transport is an adapter that plugs into a PC-compatible Parallel Port with 25-pin connector. QuickVideo Transport accepts analog video in NTSC, PAL, and SECAM from RCA plug/composite and S-Video sources. It can be used with Camcorders, Digital Cameras, and VCR's. Alaris Corporation 47338 Fremont Boulevard Fremont, CA 94538 (800) 317-2348 (Voice) (510) 770-5700 (Voice) (510) 770-5769 (FAX) Connectix QuickCam Color QuickCam is a small solid-state camera that plugs into the PC parallel port.

What to do about horizontal tearing in the video?

In horizontal tearing, part of the video is displaced horizontally from where it should be. For example, a flag pole might be displaced to the right creating a zig-zag or even a break in the pole. In the diagram below, think of each line as a video scan line: ------------------------------ | | | | | | | | | | (tearing begins here) | | | | | | | | (more here) ------------------------------ Tearing is a common problem when capturing video from the output of an analog video tape such as a VCR. It can happen in other contexts as well. Analog video such as NTSC, PAL, and SECAM composite video has a sychronization signal at the end of each horizontal scan line and a vertical synchronization signal at the end of each frame. The motors and mechanical parts in the transport mechanism of a video tape player can slip slightly, causing the analog signals and horizontal synchronization signals to arrive at slightly incorrect times. Video monitors, capture cards, and other video equipment have a tolerance for jitter in the timing of the synchronization signals. Tearing occurs if this tolerance is exceeded. Digital video capture cards can be very sensitive to the timing jitter in the output of video tape players. Tearing will occur because the synchronization is off. Capture cards are frequently more sensitive than analog video monitors and other analog video equipment which are better designed to handle timing jitter in the analog signals. Devices called Time Base Correctors (TBC) can adjust for jitter in the timing of the analog video synchronization signals and other distortions of the analog signals. TBC's are available as plug-in cards for PC's and as black boxes inserted between the video source and the video capture card. Time Base Correctors are available from: Prime Image Inc. Return to Top

Hard Drive Video Capture Issues

Digital video capture requires writing data to the PC hard disk at sustained very high data rates. The higher the resolution and quality of the digital video, the higher the data rate the hard disk must handle. 1. Defragment the hard disk. This allows the PC to write the digital video (the AVI file) to contiguous disk sectors without stopping to skip the drive head over used regions. 2. Scan the disk and fix any bad sectors if possible. 3. Conventional hard drives pause the drive heads for thermal recalibration which slows their ability to write data to the hard disk. Special AV (Audio/Video) hard drives (which cost more) disable the thermal recalibration during data writing. This supposedly allows an AV hard drive to capture higher video data rates. Note that you can capture video onto conventional hard drives. People do this all the time. But for very high end video capture, you may need a special AV drive.

Video Capture Cards with Windows NT Drivers

The DPS (Digital Processing Systems) Perception ISA video capture card. The DPS PVR-2500 Perception Video Recorder (PCI-bus) for Intel and DEC Alpha Windows NT workstations. An optional AD-2500 real time video capture daughter card adds component, S-Video, and composite video inputs to this high-end product. The AD-2500 is the actual capture card in this product which is a "digital video disk recorder system". The DPS HVR-2800 Hollywood Video Recorder (PCI and ISA). The PCI version is available for both Intel and DEC Alpha Windows NT workstations. The Hollywood is also a "digital video disk recorder system", more than a simple video capture card. DPS makes PC video products aimed at the studio and broadcast production markets. The Truevision Targa 2000 video capture card. The Osprey 100 PCI Video Capture Card works under Windows NT as well as Windows 95. The Osprey Systems Division of Multimedia Access Corporation makes a line of video capture cards, all or some with drivers for Windows NT 3.51 and NT 4.0 The Osprey 100 is a PCI board based on the BrookTree Bt848 single-chip video capture device. The version of the Osprey 100 that I have seen has one S-Video input and two composite (NTSC or PAL) video inputs. The Osprey 100 has software and drivers for both Windows NT 3.51 and Windows NT 4.0 The NT software for the Osprey 100 (10/8/97) consists of the VidCap32 video capture application, a Video for Windows Capture Driver, and a Windows NT Device Driver for the Osprey. There are at least two versions of the software: 0.93(beta) and 0.95(beta). On 10/7/97, the 0.95(beta) was available by anonymous ftp from Osprey. The anonymous ftp site also contained directories for a 1.00 version of the software that could not be downloaded (10/7/97). The 0.95(beta) software from Osprey is a single Windows executable that easily installs VidCap32 and the drivers, also updating the NT taskbar, registry, and so forth. The Osprey 100 with the 0.95(beta) drivers captures video under NT 4.0 with both VidCap32 and the Progressive Networks RealEncoder software. At least in some of my experiments, VidCap32 exhibited some problems although it was possible to repeatedly capture AVI clips. Problems included flawed updating of the VidCap32 window and sluggish performance of the NT system until rebooted. The problems appeared intermittent. System Tested: (Micron Millenium PC) Intel Pentium 132 MHz with 48 MB RAM Phoenix BIOS Version 4.04 M-M Windows NT 4.0 (Build: 1381 Service Pack 2) Osprey 100 PCI Video Capture Card with 0.95(beta) drivers for Windows NT Diamond Multimedia Stealth64 Video 2001 PCI (2MB RAM) Creative Labs Vibra 16 ISA sound card with NT 4.0 Drivers Intel 82557 based 10/100 Ethernet PCI Network Interface Card (NIC) IDE CD-ROM (ATAPI 1.2) Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller Inexpensive NTSC video camera (bundled with LiveLan videconferencing product) Return to Top

How to Create AVI Files from Television

To create an AVI file from your favorite television program, there are two approaches. Television is transmitted over radio frequency (RF) waves. The NTSC, PAL, or SECAM composite analog television signals are modulated onto high frequency radio waves to create the familiar television channels. In the United States, television channels 2 through 69 cover the range from 54 MHz to 806 MHz. An NTSC channel uses about 4 MHz of frequency range. Traditional analog Cable Television (CATV) works much the same except that the RF is sent over coaxial cables instead of the open air. A device usually referred to as a tuner can demodulate the television radio frequency signal and extract the NTSC, PAL, or SECAM composite analog signal. Television sets, Video Casette Recorders (VCR) and cable television set top boxes contain a tuner. The easy way to turn your favorite television show into an AVI is to record the show to a videotape using a VCR. The VCR can output the composite analog video signal to a video capture card in your PC (see the section on creating AVI from composite analog video). A number of companies market TV tuner cards for PC's. In this case you can feed the television radio frequency (RF) signal into the TV tuner card which will demodulate the NTSC, PAL, or SECAM signal. Use an associated video capture card to convert the demodulated composite analog video to an AVI files. ATI Technologies, for example, markets a PC TV Tuner. It is probably simpler to use a VCR than a PC TV Tuner card. A VCR circumvents the often painful installation problems with PC hardware. Return to Top

How to Create Morph Effects for AVI

Morphing is a technique for progressively transforming one image into another image, or one video sequence into another. For example, a video producer might morph one face into another. STOIK Software markets a tool called Morph Man for Windows 95 Morph Man can create AVI files with a still image morphing into another still image, or one video sequence morphing into another. STOIK provides a demonstration version of Morph Man for evaluation purposes. Return to Top

How to compress the audio sound track in AVI Files

AVI files include support for compressed audio although they are frequently generated with uncompressed PCM audio. The Windows Multimedia system includes a component called the Audio Compression Manager (ACM), an audio counterpart to the Video Compression Manager (VCM). The ACM enables installable audio codecs. Unfortunately not all authoring applications access the full ACM. For example, the free VidEdit application from Microsoft, a simple video editor, only permits selection of various PCM audio encoding. There is no way to compress the audio in an AVI file through VidEdit, although the Windows operating system, through the ACM, and the AVI file format do support audio compression. Historically, AVI files were frequently authored with video compression, usually Cinepak, and uncompressed PCM audio. The size of the audio track could be reduced by using 8 bit mono (one channel) PCM audio at a 11 KHz sample rate as the "audio format". Microsoft VidEdit, for example, allows this. AVI was used for compressing video on hard disks and CD-ROM's. Hard disks and CD-ROM's have plenty of room for uncompressed audio but an uncompressed video quickly exceeds their capacity. Thus audio compression was not as critical as video compression. With the advent of the Internet, with typical bandwidth of a few Kbits/second, audio compression has become more important. AUTHORING TOOLS SUPPORTING AUDIO COMPRESSION (INCOMPLETE) Adobe Premiere 5.0 for Windows AUTHORING TOOLS *NOT* SUPPORTING AUDIO COMPRESSION (INCOMPLETE) Microsoft VidEdit 1.1
Return to Top

How to change frame rate of AVI files

You may want to change the frame rate of an AVI. For example, you may want to convert a video captured at 30 frames per second (NTSC) to 15 or 10 frames per second to reduce the size of the file. This type of conversion throws away frames; it does not play the AVI in slow motion. Video editors usually contain this function. For example, the free VidEdit video editor can convert the frame rate of AVI files. Select Video | Convert Frame Rate ... in VidEdit For more on video editors, see Video Editors Return to Top

How to crop an AVI file

Microsoft VidEdit 1.1 can crop an AVI file, that is create another AVI file with a rectangular region of the original AVI file: Select Video | Crop ... in VidEdit Undoubtedly, many other AVI video editors can crop AVI files. Microsoft VidEdit 1.1 has the special virtue of being free and available on the Web. For more on video editors, see Video Editors Return to Top

How to edit AVI files:

Several applications exist to edit (cut, paste, etc.) AVI files. Such applications are known as video editors. Sometimes such digital video editors are called non-linear editors, in contrast to traditional videotape or film based editing. Video editors range from very simple applications to very sophisticated applications.

Video Editor Features

Common video editor features include: * cut, paste, and deleting video sequences * selecting video codec and compression settings * selecting audio codec and compression settings * converting video frame rate * converting audio sampling rate * adjusting synchronization of audio and video * converting color depth of video (24, 16, or 8 bit usually) * converting to NTSC or PAL safe colors * adding transitions and other special effects * applying image processing filters to video * adding text and subtitling * much more in high end video editors....


The full 16 bit (Windows 3.x) Video for Windows from Microsoft (not the "Run Time") shipped with a simple video editing program VidEdit. VidEdit can cut, paste, concatenate, add sound, and do many other things to AVI files. VidEdit can be downloaded from a number of sites on the Internet. WARNING: Microsoft's NetShow audio/video/multimedia streaming product includes a number of new video codecs such as Microsoft MPEG-4 and VDONet's VDOWave. The NetShow Player installation installs decode only versions of these codecs, none of which will display in the list of codecs in VidEdit, sensibly enough. The NetShow Tools install codecs with encoder capabilities. These will show in the VidEdit list of codecs. See the section on NetShow for further information. Some video editors such as Asymmetrix Digital Video Producer (DVP) 4.0 will show the NetShow decode-only video codecs in the list of codecs for compression, even though these codecs do not compress video. In fact, if these decode-only codecs are selected to compress a video clip, the AVI file is not compressed although an AVI file is generated. I was quite confused by this behavior until I understood the distinction between the NetShow codecs with encode enabled and the decode-only video codecs. VidEdit does recognize the following 32 bit Video for Windows codecs: Intel Indeo (R) Video Interactive [32] Intel Indeo (R) Video R3.2 [32] Intel Indeo Raw R1.2 [32] Microsoft Video 1 [32] Cinepak Codec by Radius [32] Indeo video 5.0 [32] VDONet VDOWave [32] MPEG-4 High Speed Compressor [32] As far as I can tell Microsoft is not currently distributing VidEdit. However, a file is bouncing around the Net. This file includes the Video for Windows run time along with a number of Video Tools including VidEdit and VidCap (Microsoft's video capture tool). Disclaimer: I am not certain what the legal restrictions on VidEdit or are.

EarthStation 1 Archive of Windows Freeware and Shareware

Microsoft's VidEdit Video Editor is also available at: EarthStation1: Recommended Shareware and Freeware Page Once you have reached the EarthStation 1 page, click on the Graphics section. VidEdit is in this section which is also identified as the Graphics Editors section. Scroll down a few pages to find VidEdit or use the find string on this page feature of your Web browser. Click to download VidEdit. There is or was also a mirror site at: This link was not working as of Feb. 14, 2000.

Alchemedia Inc. Shareware Page

The Alchemedia Inc. shareware page contains a file with VidEdit.

Personal AVI Editor

FlickerFree markets an inexpensive/shareware avi editor for Windows called Personal AVI Editor. Personal AVI Editor ($49.95 + Shipping and Handling)

MGI VideoWave

MGI Software Corporation (Toronto, Canada) markets a PC video capture and editing program called VideoWave. VideoWave supports AVI, QuickTime, and MPEG. Suggested price: $99

Corel Lumiere Suite for 32-bit Windows

Lumiere is a new contestant in the PC video editing game. (May, 1997) Corel Lumiere Suite for 32-bit Windows List Price on Corel Web Site: $89 (US) Corel Corp. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (800) 772-6735 (613) 723-3733 FAX: (613) 728-9790 Corel's Lumiere Web Page

Ulead Media Studio Pro

Ulead's Media Studio Pro ( around $300 )

Asymetrix Digital Video Producer

Asymetrix's Digital Video Producer (DVP) Typical Retail Price: $69.95 (Sept. 1997) A simple digital video capture and editing program for Windows 95 and Windows NT. DVP is bundled with many video capture cards and is also available retail. More information is available at the Asymetrix Web site.

Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere is the reigning king of desktop video editing programs. Versions exist for both the PC/Windows and the Macintosh. Adobe Systems Premiere ( around $500 )


in:sync produces SpeedRazor Mach 3.51 (5/16/97), a professional non-linear editing (NLE) video editor for Windows NT for the Broadcast industry. This can handle AVI as well as other formats. Speed Razor (not cheap) Return to Top

Fast Movie Processor

October, 1998. Fast Movie Processor, version 1.41 Copyright 1997,1998 Robert Tibljas and Zeljko Nikolic ABOUT FAST MOVIE PROCESSOR (FMP) The program's purpose is to convert and process image sequences and movies. While converting it can apply many image filters and functions like emboss, brightness, contrast, gamma correction, blur, sharpen, mirror and others. Invaluable if you need to construct an AVI movie, change resolution of images or perform quick changes and adjustments. Program is easy to use and highly optimized for speed. Disk usage is reduced to the minimum. DISTRIBUTION This program uses shareware distribution concept. If you intend to use Fast Movie Processor only for non-commercial purposes you are not obligated to register. However, if you are using it for commercial purpose you must register it before. E-mail: Home page: Return to Top

Peck's Power Join

A program to join AVI files end to end. Return to Top

Editing and Converting WAV files

AVI and WAV files are closely related. WAV files are the sound file format, and frequently provide the source for the sound tracks in an AVI file.

CoolEdit (PC)

A good shareware sound editor and sound file format converter is Syntrillium Software's CoolEdit (Cool96) for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. This supports many common sound file formats such as Apple's .aiff and Next/Sun .au files.

GoldWave (Windows 3.1/95/NT)

Another shareware sound editor and sound file format converter is GoldWave.

Macromedia's SoundEdit16 (Macintosh)

Macromedia markets a sound editor for the Macintosh called SoundEdit16 + Deck II. SoundEdit can open and save in WAV format. For further information on SoundEdit, see the Macromedia Web site:

Sound Forge

Sonic Foundry markets a digital sound editor for Windows called Sound Forge 4.0 (5/16/97) Sound Forge includes support for importing AVI video and editing the sound to synchronize with specific frames in the AVI file.

SpeedRazor (Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0)

in:sync produces SpeedRazor Mach 3.51 (5/16/97), a professional non-linear editing (NLE) video editor for Windows NT for the Broadcast industry. SpeedRazor can read and write WAV audio files. It has sophisticated multi-track stereo audio editing and mixing features. Speed Razor (not cheap)

Editing and Converting Sound Files on the Macintosh

A Macintosh shareware utility SoundHack by Tom Erbe can read, write, and modify sound files on the Macintosh including Microsoft WAV format and AIFF. Macintosh users can use SoundHack to convert AIFF and other Macintosh sound files to the WAV format for integration in AVI. Return to Top

How to output an AVI file to videotape:

AVI files generated with a video editor such as Premiere or a 3D Animation program such as Caligari TrueSpace can be output to videotape (e.g. a VHS tape) using a hardware device known as a scan converter. A scan converter converts the VGA signal intended for the computer monitor into an video signal, typically NTSC or S-Video. The video signal can then be input into a videotape recorder such as a VHS VCR. A scan converter may be a small box which resides between the computer and the monitor. It may be integrated into a video card. For example, ATI's new 3D XPRESSION+PC2TV video card includes NTSC and S-Video output as well as output to a conventional computer monitor. Configure the PC graphics in one of the modes supported by the scan conversion hardware and play the AVI file in full screen mode. Some manufacturers of scan converter (or similar) hardware: ATI Web Page VideoLogic Web Page PC Video Conversion claims to make a high quality scan converter called HyperConverter that converts from SuperVGA to broadcast quality NTSC/PAL video. Less than $5000. PC Video Conversion Return to Top

The Phantom Final Frame when Viewing an AVI

When playing or viewing an AVI with a number of Microsoft Windows applications, you will see a "phantom" final frame. The "phantom" frame may appear as a blank frame or a duplicate of the last frame depending on the Windows application. For example, if you have a one second AVI file with 30 frames and you view this AVI file with Microsoft VidEdit 1.1, VidEdit will display positions that it numbers 0-30. The 30 position will appear as a blank frame. Note that 0-30 means 31 total positions; there is a "phantom" final frame. If you view the 30 frame AVI file with Microsoft Media Player, there will also be positions 0-30. In this case, position 30 is a duplicate of frame 29. What is this? The MCIAVI driver has a concept of the "end" or "position after the last frame in an AVI". In the 30 frame AVI example above, positions 0 through 29 are the actual frames in the AVI file. 0 is the first frame, 1 is the second frame, and 29 is the last (30'th) frame. Position 30 is the "end" or "position after the last frame in an AVI". The Microsoft Windows application, such as VidEdit 1.1 or Media Player, decides what to display for this "end" position. You can see this feature of the MCIAVI driver through the Media Player. Open an AVI file through Media Player. Then, type Ctrl-F5 to invoke a dialog box for entering MCI (Media Control Interface) string commands. set time format frames status length (would return 30 for the example above) seek to start status position (returns 0) seek to end status position (returns 30 - this is the "phantom" frame) seek to 29 (this is the true last frame in the AVI file) seek to 0 play status position (returns 30) In conclusion, the "phantom" final frame represents the position after the last frame in the AVI file. It is NOT a frame in the AVI file. Return to Top

Binary File Editors for Viewing and Editing AVI Files

Occasionally, you may need to view or edit an AVI file at the down and dirty byte level. Use a binary file editor for this. Many binary file editors, including quite a number of free ones, exist.


Harmony Systems offers HexEdit, a free binary editor for Windows NT and 95, that can be downloaded from their Web site:

SimTel Archives

The SimTel collection of ms-dos software includes a section with many binary file editors. There are many mirrors of the SimTel site. One is:

HEdit 2.1

Trial versions of HEdit, a binary file editor, both for Windows 95/NT and Windows 3.1 are available at:

GNU Emacs (Unix)

The GNU Emacs editor from the Free Software Foundation has a hexadecimal mode. The GNU Emacs command to invoke this mode is hexl-mode. In GNU Emacs, type the META Key (ESC-x) Type: hexl-mode at the command prompt. The current buffer will switch into (Hexl) mode. On my Unix system (Sun), I found the Hexl mode a little sluggish at times. Sometimes I had to wait several seconds to get a response to scrolling or jumping to the start of the AVI file. Emacs modes are usually implemented in interpreted LISP; this may be the reason.

beav (Unix)

beav, a binary file editor and viewer, is available for Unix. beav displays the contents of a binary file as both hexadecimal and ASCII in side by side views. beav can edit as well as view binary files such as AVI files. Unix Prompt% beav file.avi

od (Unix)

od is a common Unix command. It is NOT an editor. od stands for Octal Dump. od file.avi | more (Octal Dump of AVI File) od -x file.avi | more (Hexadecimal Dump of AVI File) od -a file.avi | more (ASCII Dump of AVI File) Return to Top

RIFF and AVI Parser/Viewers


VidTrace is a 32-bit Windows console application for Windows 95 and Windows NT that I wrote to parse and display RIFF and AVI files. VidTrace displays the RIFF Forms, LISTS, and CHUNK. VidTrace also understands the AVI header format, audio stream header format, and video stream header format. Sample output of VIDTRACE some-file.avi RIFF (139086) AVI LIST (2004) hdrl avih (56) Microseconds Per Frame: 33333 30.000300 Frames Per Second Maximum Bytes Per Second: 1727488 Pad to Multiples of This Size: 6050647 Flags DWORD (hex): 710 FLAG: (AVIF_HASINDEX) AVI File Has 'idx1' chunk FLAG: (AVIF_ISINTERLEAVED) AVI File is Interleaved Total Frames: 239 Initial Frames: 23 Number of Streams: 2 Suggested Buffer Size: 57582 Width in Pixels: 160 Height in Pixels: 112 Scale (MAY BE UNUSED): 0 Rate (MAY BE UNUSED): 3220642425 Samples Per Second (MAY BE UNUSED): 3220642425 Start of AVI File (MAY BE UNUSED): 27920 Length of AVI File (MAY BE UNUSED): 4294967295 LIST (116) strl strh (56) Stream Type (Four Character Code): 'vids' 'vids' is Four Character Code for Video Stream Installable Compressor (Four Character Code): 'vdow' 'VDOW' is Four Character Code for VDONet VDOWave Video Codec Flags (hex): 0 Priority (MAY BE UNUSED) (hex): 0 Language Code (MAY BE UNUSED) (hex): 0 Initial Frames: 0 Scale: 33333 Rate: 1000000 Start: 0 Length: 239 Suggested Buffer Size: 1340 Quality: 0 Sample Size: 0 Frame (MAY BE UNUSED OR ABSENT): 0 0 0 2170023936 strf (40) Windows Bitmap Header Number of Bytes Required by Bitmap Structure: 40 Width of Bitmap in Pixels: 160 Height of Bitmap in Pixels: 112 Number of Planes: 1 Number of Bits Per Pixel (1,4,8,16,24, or 32): 24 Compression Mode (hex): 574f4456 COMPRESSION: Custom Compression 'VDOW' Size of Image in Bytes: 53856 Horizontal Resolution in Pixels per Meter: 0 Vertical Resolution in Pixels per Meter: 0 Number of Color Indices Actually Used by the Bitmap: 0 Number of Color Indices Considered Important to Display Bitmap: 0 LIST (92) strl strh (56) Stream Type (Four Character Code): 'auds' 'auds' is Four Character Code for Audio Stream Installable Compressor (Four Character Code): '' '' is Four Character Code for Uncompressed Audio Flags (hex): 0 Priority (MAY BE UNUSED) (hex): 0 Language Code (MAY BE UNUSED) (hex): 0 Initial Frames: 23 Scale: 1 Rate: 11025 Start: 0 Length: 87512 Suggested Buffer Size: 368 Quality: 0 Sample Size: 1 Frame (MAY BE UNUSED OR ABSENT): 0 0 0 2170023936 strf (16) Windows Waveform Audio Header Waveform Audio Format Type (hex): 1 Audio Format (WAVE_FORMAT_PCM): Microsoft Pulse Code Modulation Audio Number of Channels of Audio: 1 Samples Per Second: 11025 Required Data Transfer Rates (Bytes Per Second): 11025 Block Alignment in Bytes: 1 Bits Per Sample: 8 Size of Extra Format Information Appended to End of WAVEFORMATEX Structure (Bytes): -15736 vedt (8) JUNK (1688) LIST (104908) movi LIST (380) rec 01wb (367) LIST (380) rec 01wb (368) LIST (380) rec 01wb (367) . . . LIST (16) rec 00dc (4) idx1 (11840) DISP (21) DISP (20268) Download VIDTRACE

Microsoft RIFFWALK

Microsoft distributes a command line utility called RIFFWALK with the 16-bit Video for Windows 1.1e Development Kit that parses the structure of RIFF and AVI files, displaying the file structure in RIFF Forms, LISTS, and CHUNKS. Sample output of RIFFWALK some-file.avi 00000000 RIFF (00021F4E) 'AVI ' 0000000C LIST (000007D4) 'hdrl' 00000018 avih (00000038) 00000058 LIST (00000074) 'strl' 00000064 strh (00000038) 000000A4 strf (00000028) 000000D4 LIST (0000005C) 'strl' 000000E0 strh (00000038) 00000120 strf (00000010) 00000138 vedt (00000008) 000007E8 LIST (000199CC) 'movi' 0001A1BC idx1 (00002E40) 0001D004 DISP (00000015) 0001D022 DISP (00004F2C) 00021F56 The Video for Windows 1.1e Development Kit is included with the 16-bit SDK's in the Microsoft Developer Network CD-ROM's.

Bill Luken's RIFFSCAN

RIFFSCAN is another DOS console application that prints out a human readable ASCII trace of RIFF and AVI files. Return to Top

Size limits on AVI files

An AVI file cannot be larger than the disk partition that contains it. Different filesystems have different maximum sizes for disk partitions. Under the 16 bit FAT (File Allocation Table) filesystem used by DOS, disk partitions are limited to a maximum size of 2GB (Gigabytes). In DOS, a hard disk is divided into 512 byte sectors. DOS Version 4 added support for 32 bit sector numbers. 2 raised to the 32 is roughly 4 billion, multiply this times 512 bytes in a sector to get the 2GB limit. FAT16 partitions are limited to 2GB, necessarilly limiting AVI files to a maximum size of 2GB as well. DOS versions prior to DOS 4 limited disk partitions to 32MB (Megabytes). These earlier versions of DOS used 16 bit sector numbers in all I/O routines. 2 raised to the 16th power is 64K, multiply this by 512 bytes in a sector to get the 32MB limit. Partitions using other filesystems such as the Windows NT File Systems (NTFS) may not be subject to the 2GB limit. The new FAT32 filesystem available with Windows 95 permits partitions larger than 2GB. Unfortunately, a 1 or 2 GB file size limit is hard wired into some of the code for the Microsoft Video for Windows. In particular, the RIFF parser code and MCIAVI (the MCI driver for AVI files) contain a 1 GB or 2 GB limit hard wired into them. Microsoft's Active Movie, which replaces Video for Windows, allegedly contains fixes for the 1-2 GB size limits hard wired into Video for Windows. Microsoft's OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2) incorporates FAT32. Earlier OEM releases and the retail version of Windows 95 (as of 2/15/97) do not include FAT32. Microsoft sayeth: "Neither MS-DOS 6.x nor retail versions of Windows 95 will recognize a FAT32 volume". To see if you have OSR2, go to the Control Panel, select the System icon, and click the General tab. It will say "4.00.950b". If there is no trailing letter or "4.00.950a", then you do not have OSR2. OEM versions of Windows 95 cannot be purchased separately as off the shelf software. They are bundled on systems created by companies like Dell, Compaq, and so forth. The retail version(s?) of Windows 95 can be purchased at software stores or through software resellers. I believe that there was some sort of beta release of FAT32 prior to OSR2, either a special version of Windows 95 or a way to install FAT32 in versions of Windows 95 that did not come with FAT32. OSR2 and FAT32 seem to have some problems. Some applications such as Corel's Paradox 7 fail on FAT32 volumes. See: Bug Net Web Site or search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for the keyword OSR2. The header for an AVI file includes a 32 bit AVI file length, imposing a restriction of 4GB on the AVI file size.

How to get around the 2 GB Size Limit on AVI Files

OpenDML AVI File Format Extensions The Open Digital Media (OpenDML) Consortium has defined OpenDML AVI File Format Extensions to add support for professional video functionalities to AVI. This includes a fix for the 2/4 GB limit. The OpenDML AVI File Format Extensions are used by some professional video capture and editing products (See VirtualDub below). Microsoft has claimed to have incorporated the extended OpenDML version of AVI into ActiveMovie 1.0 (now DirectShow) from Microsoft. This may be an example of Microsoft vaporware. VirtualDub 1.2 a is a (free) open software video capture and editing program. Quote from VirtualDub web page: VirtualDub can read and write AVI files with hierarchical, 64-bit indexing specified in the OpenDML 1.02 standard and supported by both ActiveMovie (Windows Media Player) and QuickTime. This means you can capture and process files beyond the infamous 2-gigabyte barrier, and work on video in one segment. Known Versions of VirtualDub: VirtualDub 1.2a (available January 2000) VirtualDub 1.1 OTHER WORKAROUNDS AVI_IO is a product that is a workaround for the 2GB limit on AVI file sizes in Video for Windows. It accomplishes this by supposedly seamlessly storing longer AVI files in a series of AVI files. For example, a 6 GB video clip would be stored in three (3) 2 GB AVI files. There is a free trial available at: Return to Top

How to Fix Problem with CorelMove4.0 AVI Files

CorelMove 4.0 exports AVI files that cannot be played using Video for Windows 1.1 or the Windows 95 Video for Windows or ActiveMovie 1.0. Corel has a fix file that can be downloaded from their software library. The file is called "cmvfix.exe." The URL is... Description text from the Web page... Title: CMVFIX.EXE For CorelMOVE 4.0 AVI export correction CMVFIX.EXE by Corel Corporation 1994 contains these compressed files: CMV4FIX.EXE is a compressed file that contains fixes for CorelMOVE 4.0's AVI file exports. These are new replacement .DLLs. AVI4FIX.EXE is a Windows application that will allow you to correct older CorelMOVE 4.0 AVI files to work with MS-Video For Windows 1.1. If you create an AVI file AFTER installing the CMV4FIX update that accompanies this fix, then you will NOT be required to run this application. This will change the RLE compression in the CorelMOVE AVI files. Return to Top

DV Video Data and AVI

DV, which appears to be an abbreviation for Digital Video, is a digital video format for use in digital video cameras. It is similar to Motion JPEG. Microsoft has specified a scheme for incorporating DV video data in AVI files.

What is Type 1 DV AVI?

There are two types of AVI files containing DV digital video data. A Type 1 DV AVI file stores the DV digital video in a single AVI stream called "ivas", which stands for "interleaved video/audio stream". IVAS is the four character code used to identify the stream. The IVAS stream contains the native DV video format which contains interleaved video and audio data using the video and audio encodings specified by the DV standard. Type-1 DV AVI files are not compatible with Video for Windows and cannot be used with Video for Windows (VfW) based video editors. Microsoft currently states that it will provide DV encoder and decoder filters for DirectShow only. As of January 24, 2000, Microsoft posted a description of DV Video Data and AVI Files at:

What is Type 2 DV AVI?

There are two types of AVI files containing DV digital video data. A Type 1 DV AVI file stores the DV digital video in the "vids" video stream. The audio data is also stored in the "auds" audio stream. "vids" and "auds" are the standard AVI video and audio streams used in most AVI files. This Type 2 DV AVI file format is backward compatible with Video for Windows. As of January 24, 2000, Microsoft posted a description of DV Video Data and AVI Files at: Return to Top

How to make AVI NTSC (or PAL) Safe

AVI files can represent colors that are not supported by the NTSC or PAL analog video standards. These colors correspond to synchronization and control signals in the NTSC or PAL video. Such AVI files cause problems if translated to NTSC or PAL video. Equilibrium's DeBabelizer Pro for Windows 95 and NT 4.0 reads and writes about 90 common and not so common image file formats as well as AVI files. In addition to translating between all of these formats, DeBabelizer Pro has a number of image processing functions. DeBabelizer Pro can remove colors from AVI files that are excluded by NTSC or PAL to create an NTSC or PAL safe AVI file. Equilibrium has a demonstration version of DeBabelizer Pro on its Web site. This is a demonstration version. The demonstration version adds the words Equilibrium (very large words) to all images and video that it processes. DeBabelizer Pro ($595 Suggested Retail Price) Equilibrium 475 Gate Five Road, Suite 225 Sausalito, CA 94965 1(800)524-8651 or (415) 332-4343 Return to Top
© 2000 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D. Disclaimer