Adventures in editing Droid videos with Adobe Premiere

Last Updated:

  1. UncleChuck

    UncleChuck Member

    I'm trying to edit videos shot with a Droid 2 and with a Droid 3 using Adobe Premiere Elements 9, a very powerful editor that among other things lets you apply Photoshop-like corrections to your video.

    Sadly, the editor has trouble with cell-phone video and often the time sync of the audio drifts very badly with respect to the audio. Visualize someone singing, and the audio varies from synch'ed to two seconds out-of-sync and back.

    Not much luck on the Adobe forums, it appears that Adobe's codec for this sort of highly compressed VBR video does a lousy job mapping it to individual frames with good time sync. I'll share what I know, and let's see what else people have encountered.

    Droid 2 produced 720x480 AVCHD video square pixel with variable bit rate up to 30 fps, with fixed-rate AAC audio at 44.1 KHz stereo. File type is .3gp.

    Droid 3 produces 720p or 1080p AVCHD square pixel, VBR, same audio. File type is mp4.

    Using MediaInfo I see:
    - Video codec: avc1 (both Droid 2 and Droid 3)

    The time skew problem shows in the preview window of Adobe Premiere Elements 9 (PE9), and shows in output rendered as AVI, FLV, MP4. This is independent of whether any edits have been applied. I have verified that the audio is correct and the video is the problem.

    Incidentally PE9 picks the wrong pixel aspect ratio, so I use Interpret Video to force square pixels.

    The raw video looks fine in QT (3gp files) or WMP (mpeg4) and looks fine if uploaded to YouTube, but without my desired edits. It looks fine in Windows Live Movie Maker preview, have not tried to render from there since it is useless as an editor.

    Changing frame rate settings for source input (Interpret Video settings in PE9) and/or for the rendered output target did not fix anything.

    I used Free Video Converter to transcode to a variety of different formats that might be more editable; Mpeg, AVI, with a variety of codecs and settings. Certain AVI versions looked mostly better in the preview but no different in the rendered output.

    This should just work. It very thoroughly doesn't.

    Any ideas?

  2. Usta

    Usta Well-Known Member

    I see two choices:
    1) Transcode the video with H264 at constant bitrate (like 3000kbps) and wrap it in a mp4 container. The audio can simply be copied without any conversion. This might make it more "Premiere" compliant. You will probably loose a bit of video quality though.
    Use MediaInfo to be sure that the video is indeed encoded at CBR, because some software encode it still at vbr despite selecting a specific bitrate.

    2) Search for another editor. I don't know how much editing you want to do, but perhaps some other software can do that for you. For example, try Avidemux.
  3. Premiere, and other editors, always have problems editing highly compressed video, especially from cell phones. If the videos aren't too long, try converting to uncompressed avi. It will be a big file, but it will allow the editor to properly see the video and audio.
  4. UncleChuck

    UncleChuck Member

    Thanks. Next challenge is finding tools to try this. I've tried with Free Video Converter, FoxTab 3gp converter, and Miksoft mobile3 3gp converter. No luck so far, two not capable and one runs away and never completes. My test video is 8 minutes long. Can either of you suggest tools that will support those transcodings?
  5. You should be able to open the video in Premiere, then export it as an uncompressed avi. Then re-import that to edit.
  6. UncleChuck

    UncleChuck Member

    Sitlet- that sounded reasonable (I mean, just crazy enough to work), so I tried it. I saved the file using the Uncompressed UYVY422 8-bit codec using PE9.

    My 8 minute file expanded from 225 MB to 10 GB. The video quality was extremely poor, and the video drifted slowly out of sync with the audio.

    Usta- tried the same using PE9 to transcode using H.264 Blu-ray preset. Took about 45 minutes on an i7 CPU. Resulting file expanded to 1.3 GB. Video/audio sync is still not perfect, but it is improved, at a loss of video quality. MediaInfo says it is variable bit rate.

    What puzzles me is that the players, and whatever transcoders are used at YouTube, all seem to handle the codec fine and produce a stream of frames that lines up with the audio from the original 3gp file. Why can't PE9 do that from the same information?

    Might just be hopeless.
  7. If you have the paid version of Quicktime Pro, that will let you export to many editable formats. Since 3gp is technically a quicktime codec, you shouldn't have a problem
  8. Usta

    Usta Well-Known Member

    There are ways to re-sync audio with video, but that might be a cumbersome job.
    It looks like the issue is PE9, so I wouldn't use it for conversion. Only for editing, if you must.
    Since the conversion works for Youtube video, one way to handle this would be to download the Youtube video (in the highest quality available, without further conversion) and edit it. You will have to accept the quality loss.

    Or, use other converters as suggested before: try Handbrake, Xmedia Recode, Format Factory, Avideux, etc. After the conversion, start the editing without further conversion. Again, you will have to accept the quality loss.
  9. UncleChuck

    UncleChuck Member

    Synchronicity here...I just uploaded a batch of raw videos from the Droid 3 unedited to YouTube, and even they couldn't transcode and maintain audio/video sync on two of them. I was directed to a page Audio/Video sync issues with .MOV and .MP4 videos - YouTube Help which says, in essence, to run the video through some Apple product that uses the Quicktime codecs.

    At this point I need a working transcoder just to upload some of these videos. So it looks like QT Pro is in my future here. I did try export-to-QT from Premiere but no luck there. Stay tuned...
  10. vanmartin

    vanmartin New Member

    First off apologies for the thread necromancy. I ran into the same problems as the op and others and discovered this thread in my google searches. I tried what felt like every video converter available on the internet with no luck. Same sync issues as above. Desperate, I then downloaded a video converter app from the Google Play store and lo and behold it worked - no video/audio syncing issues. Problem though was that the conversion process was understandably slow when run on a phone.

    A simple investigation revealed that the underlying conversion library used by the Android app was FFMPEG. A windows search lead me to WinFF (I can't post links yet, so just Google the site) which is a Windows GUI for the converter library. It works like a charm!

    Using the WinFF you can convert 3GP videos to MP4, MPEG2, WMV and a whole host of other formats with no video/audio sync issues. Even better is that WinFF also comes in a portable version - so no need for installs!

    Hope this helps some others experiencing the same problem!

Share This Page