Update; Codecs and Trial Director

It has been quite some time since I first wrote about PPT / TD and codec issues, so I wanted to write an updated version. Many things have changed since the last paper I wrote on this topic. The original will be available for download at the bottom of this page.

For  simplicity sake we will only be talking about mpeg1 video and for now windows 7 (64bit).  All info should work for Windows 7 (32 bit) and Windows 8, although file location may differ from what I have below.

Back in the day, you know? Way back with Windows 2000 and XP codec issues happened all the time. A simple install of a new video program could have disastrous effects on a system, now with TD6 and Office 2013 things have changed.  I write this now not as a have to do, but more as a best practice or something to look into if you are having mpeg1 issues.

What has changed?

Trial Director no longer relies on system codecs, this is huge.  It means that a system codec screw up should not kill video playback / clip creation etc in TD.  But we should not accept this as fact and there are ways to test and fix the system codecs.

****PLEASE NOTE; This process, if done incorrectly could break video playback on the machine…. PLEASE BACKUP EVERYTHING!!!!!

With that said lets download some tools

1) GraphEdit; http://www.videohelp.com/tools/GraphEdit

2) DSFMgr; http://www.softella.com/dsfm/index.en.htm

Once downloaded open the program (either 32 or 64bit depending on your system); Drag and drop a mpeg1 video file into the program. Below is what you should see

Graphedit_mpeg1_goodThis is the graph we want to see for mpeg 1 video… If the graph does not look like this we have some work to do. First things first, what are we looking at in this graph?

-First box represents the video file

-Second box represents the video splitter (The Splitter is the main cause of issues)

-Top third box represents the video decoder

-Lower third box represents the audio decoder

-Top fourth box represents the video render / output device

-Lower fourth box represents the audio render / output device

If Graphedit does not show the same filters as the image above you may experience issues with video playback / export / editing in PowerPoint**, TD* etc.  I am not suggesting that the above is the only splitter / codec solution that will work, but it is the default windows settings for mpeg1 video.


Getting things back to the windows defaults;

Run DSFMgr as admin (right click and run as administrator);

This will allow us to edit the priority of video / audio splitters and codecs.

1) In Graphedit find the name of the splitter in the second box

2) Find the slitter name in DSFMgr.

DSFM_mpeg1My splitter is called “MPEG-1 Stream Splitter” (pink line in the middle of the above window)

3) Double click on the splitter name to show the Filter Properties

DSFM_mpeg1_splitterAs you can see in the upper right hand side, the splitters merit has been set as preferred. Lower the priority of the wrong splitter; use the slider and move it down to “Normal”.

4) Repeat the process to raise the priority on the “MPEG-1 STREAM SPLITTER” and change it to “Preferred”.

5) Run the tests in GraphEdit again. Hopefully you will see “MPEG-1 STREAM SPLITTER” as the splitter, if not the next step would be change the priority of the codec in question; rinse and repeat if you will.


So what about TD?

Yes, you can test what codec and splitter TD is using and if you really, really wanted you could revert TD back to the system codecs.  You should not have to do this but it is great to know how.

1) Click start and select run

2) Click browse

3) Locate the TD exe file (C:\Program Files (x86)inData Corporation\TrialDirector 6\TrialDirector6.exe)

4) Click “OK”

5) In the run box add the word graphedit at the end to the the TD file path. It should look like this “C:\Program Files (x86)inData Corporation\TrialDirector 6\TrialDirector6.exe” graphedit

6) Click enter

7) Drag an Mpeg1 file into Graphedit it should look like this:TD_Splitter_CodecIn the image above you can see the setup is almost the same, except for the splitter (in this case using the very fancy term Demultiplexer)

This is the splitter InData wants TD to use.  If you want to play thou it can be changed 😉

1) open Explorer (Windows Explorer) and navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)inData Corporation\TrialDirector 6

2) locate the file called “MPEG-2 Demultiplexer.svm”

3) change the file extension from .svm to .bak

4) if you have not already close the Graphedit window and re-run the Graphedit command from the run window

5) drop another Mpeg1 video into the Graphedit window

You should see something that matches the results you got from the last system (windows) test.  Below is from my tests.Graphedit_mpeg1_goodTry TD if you want. After thou don’t forget to change “MPEG-2 Demultiplexer.bak” back to MPEG-2 “Demultiplexer.svm”.  No harm no foul right…

Well there you have it, i hope this is still helpful to someone out there.


One more quick note, in DSFM there is a troubleshooting tab, it gives to option to “restore standard DirectX codecs”, I have never used this as an option.


** Powerpoint 2013 now re-renders mpeg1 video, unless you are using an older version of PPT this should not be an issue

* New codec system in TD should eliminate this issue

Original version can be downloaded here