How to Solve After Effects Won’t Import MP4 files

(Updated on July 12)

We usually saw AE users encounter importing issues when attempting to edit MP4 files with After Effects CS4, CS5, CS6 even with the latest After Effects CC. Let’s see some frequently asked questions on this:

Q1: Why wont After Effects won’t import my MP4 files?
“Every time I attempt to import an MP4 video/audio file from my Sony EX3, After Effects (and all other Adobe products) tells me it’s “unsupported or damaged”. I know it’s not damaged because it plays through VLC and BS player. Strangely enough it won’t play through Quicktime though. I’ve tried reinstalling everything including Quicktime, and installing the K-Lite codec pack (which I now hear is bad for your system so I uninstalled.)”

Q2: MP4 File in After Effects CS4 Only Plays Audio
I’m having this problem that every time I import a .mp4 file in to After Effects, there’s no video just the audio. I deleted the preferences and the only way I was able to see the video was when I changed the file extension to .mov. Is there a way that I can see the .mp4 in After Effect without having to change the extension on the files?

Some people including you may be confused: After Effects says it supports MP4, but why I can’t import MP4 to After Effects? Well, this is due to MP4 file codec: After Effects prefers MPEG-4 codec instead of others while MP4 is a containder format (like AVI, MKV) can contain various video codecs. To get MP4 files to play in AE, the codec that a particular file uses must be installed on the computer. If you receive an error message or the video does not display correctly, you may need to install the codec used by the file. However, MP4 can contain various video codecs. It’s difficult for you to find and install the codec.

In fact, there is an easy way to fix the issue along with some help from the third-party program like Brorsoft Video Converter for Mac. With it, you can easily adjust MP4 to MPEG-2 codec which seamlessly fit After Effects CS5, CS6, CC without quality loss. What’s more, it also supplies powerful profiles to other NLEs, like FCP, iMovie, Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro .etc for Mac users. It has an equivalent Windows version Video Converter for PC users. Just get the right version according to your computer’s OS and follow the step-by-step guide below to convert MP4 videos to for editing After Effects.

The Steps: Converting MP4 files for After Effects

Step 1. Launch the Video Converter on your Mac, and you can either click “Add” button to import .MP4 files, or directly drag and drop the files into this program. WMV, MOV formats are the good choice as well.

Step 2. Click the format bar, and move mouse cursor to Adobe Premiere/ Sony Vegas column and select MPEG-2 (*.mpg) as output format.

Tip: If the default settings do not fit you requirement, you can click “Settings” icon to and enter “Profile Settings” panel to adjust video size, bit rate, frame rate, sample rate and audio channels.

Step 3. Finally, click “Convert” (like an arrow) button to start encoding MP4 to MPEG-2(.mpg) for After Effects CS5/CS6/CS5.5/CC on Mac OS X.

After a while, you will get the converted MPEG-2 files which are ready to be imported to AE for further editing without problems.

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