Troubleshooting issues with Video

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

Video playback is glitchy or sluggish in Live

If using a highly compressed video with a low keyframe amount, the CPU demand is much higher and this may result in glitchy or sluggish playback in Live. To resolve this, re-encode the video at a higher keyframe amount. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to increase keyframes to 25 fps (in case your video runs in 25 fps, set this value according to your video) using

1. Open Handbrake and select the Production Proxy preset from the Presets menu:


2. Click on the Video tab and type the number 25 into the Additional Options field:


3. Render the video and import it into Live.

Video cannot be imported (Windows)

If you receive the error message “"The file could not be read. It may be corrupt or not licensed", please uninstall all codec packs on your computer, and install only the Haali Media Splitter, as outlined in our Using Video article.

If instead the mouse cursor turns into the “forbidden” symbol when attempting to import a video file into Live, check that you are not running Live as Administrator. Running Live at a different level of permissions than Windows File Explorer can cause this Windows permissions issue, and prevent file import. Here’s how to check if Live is running as Administrator on Windows.

The "Create Video" button in the export dialog box is grayed-out and cannot be activated

Be sure to first enable the "Encode PCM" button in the export dialog box; video export requires a WAV, AIFF or FLAC file. This also means that it is not possible to export a video using only mp3 audio.

Live crashes while importing video (Windows)

Make sure to uninstall all codecs on your computer and install only the Haali Media Splitter, as outlined in our Using Video article. 

If Live still crashes when you attempt to import a video, re-encode the video file to the H.264 codec, using Handbrake. To do this, select "Production Standard" from the “Preset” menu. As the Haali Media Splitter cannot decode files with dimensions greater than 1080p (1920×1080), ensure that your video file's dimensions do not exceed 1080p in the "Dimensions" tab:


Live hangs or crashes while exporting video (Windows)

Crashes while exporting video from Live on Windows systems can sometimes occur when the audio export settings are set to a Bit Depth value other than 16. Therefore, be sure to set the Bit Depth value to 16 bit as shown below when exporting video from Live on a Windows machine: 


Video works only in the 32-bit version of Live (Windows 7)

Quicktime is usually used to decode videos on the 32-bit version of Live on Windows 7. Quicktime is only available in 32-bit on Windows 7 (and not at all on any later versions of Windows). Install one of the recommended codecs above to work with video in the 64-bit version of Live. More info in our article about the use of Quicktime and Live.

Video Screen remains black (Windows)

If the video screen remains black after importing a video but the audio plays normally, this could be happening for one of the following reasons.

1. Using Two Monitors

It may occur in certain cases that video issues are caused by the use of two computer screens. For example, the video window stays black if it is positioned on the secondary monitor, but plays correctly from the primary screen. In case the monitors are used for Arrangement and Session View, it would be an easy workaround to use TAB in order to swap Arrangement / Session view and use the primary monitor to preview the video.

2. Switch from dedicated to integrated graphics

Please make sure that your graphic drivers are updated. If the problem persists, try switching from the dedicated graphics card (e.g. NVIDIA) to the integrated card. This can be done via the NVIDIA control panel, in "Program Settings". To do this, right-click on the Desktop and select the NVIDIA control panel from the context menu. Go to “Program Settings”, and select Ableton Live (if Live does not appear in the list, click "Add" and add it). Then select the integrated graphics card:


If this still doesn't help, right-click on the Ableton icon and select the integrated card: 


3. iPhoto Slideshow Movies

Imported iPhoto slideshow movies play sound, but only show a black screen instead of video. To resolve this, slideshows have to be exported from iPhoto using the “Slideshow” tab instead of the “Quicktime” tab in the export window.

4. Aspect Ratio

In case the video has an aspect ratio other than 16:9, such as 1:1, convert the video to the 16:9 format to test if it solves the problem. You can use external video conversion tools like Handbrake.

"Video Window" is greyed out in the menu

In case you haven't imported a video, note that the video option is greyed out by default:

As soon as you insert a video, it will be available - note that this also applies to the Plug-In Window:

Please keep in mind that video use is only supported in the Arrangement View. When loading video files into Session View, Live will treat them as an audio file. Therefore, when loading a video in Session View, the Video Window option stays grayed out.

"An error occurred while rendering the video" is prompted on video export


If the message "An error occurred while rendering the video" is prompted on video export, it's likely that Live does not have write permissions for the chosen export location. Choose another export location, such as the computer's Desktop. 


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