What's up with the unplayable, non-standard file format? (.mp4)

I think I've made a big mistake buying (directly from GoPro) the HD Hero (and back screen). I had no iIdea that it is apparently impossible to simply play the HD files back on a PC!!! Nowhere in the advertising I saw was there any mention of this. I couldn't care less about hooking up to a TV, and I'm sure a lot of people who would use this camera don't even own one. I have among other computers a nearly new Alienware M17 and a fairly hot HP desktop both running Win7, and neither will play whatever weird mutation of MP4 the GoPro produces, no matter which of several players are used. Only after coughing up nearly $400 did I see buried in the so-called "support" section a note about this mess, with the advice to download a particular freeware player. Well, I did that and the files still don't play. I own a Nikon P7000, a Canon T1i and a Pentax W90, and none of my computers have any problem playing their HD files. BTW, the HD files play fine on the BacPac. And yes, I'm angry.

Even if some player exists that will actually render these mutant files, it will be crippling to not be able to play them on another PC without going through a huge hassle. That severely limits the utility of this camera for me. It makes it impossible, for example, to have a look at things in the field, except on one's own computer (and that's presuming that this is possible at all, which I have yet to see). So at best zero true portability. It's just incomprehensible that someone would market a digital camera of any sort that is not instantly and seamlessly compatible with a high-horsepower Windows computer. What in the world are these people thinking?? It makes an otherwise really nifty camera (my second one, by the way, I also own one of the early SD models) next to worthless.
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  • 2
    MP4 is a standard format for HD videos. The fact that your computer can't play them easily means one of two things. Either you have an older computer, or you don't know what you are doing. Try downloading the latest codecs or use a free player like VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/) or QuickTime Player (http://www.quicktime.com).
    • I have a macbook pro and its pretty new. I am also having the same problem. I am wondering if its because its too long of a file.
    • today I have recorded 15min video in the morning cycling to work. on a 1080, 12mpx,30, settings, everything was alright. later on, by coming back, the video didn't succeed to record. and in the evening, i went to ride around city for a half an hour, made epic route, and when I came back, than it start to show that video cannot be played, i tried on Mac, on WIndows 7 , with vlc, wmp, quicktime, i tried taking pictures , doesn't show up as well, can it be done something in the settings?
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  • I’m Amused at mr hotpipes
    1
    The best part about this post is Mr. Hotpipes calling MP4 files "mutant files". I think the issue here lies with your PC. Most likely the HD video is having a hard time communicating with your binary code. Please, for the sake of everyone at gopro never having to hear you complain again, either use the 30 day money back guaranty or just get a Mac.
    • view 1 more comment
    • Totally agree with Michael. New PC with Windows 7, downloaded new version of GoPro Studio and I get a white screen after converting vid to AVI in the editing console. Seriously! Go buy an Apple is your solution. Seriously returning this POS if this if there is no other very simple fix.
    • just to add to the constuctive critism, i dont own a gopro, and dont have any problems with them.
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  • I am getting this error with Windows Media Player:

    Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file. VLC and several Linux media players refuse to play the files as well.

    Am thinking it is for large files only as I have some shorter videos that work OK.

    Could this be an SD card formatting issue?
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  • Dear Hotpipes......if you are not running a computer with a processor fast enough for HD, your video will choke and not play. You can run your camera on the R1 setting to produce Standard Def video. That will run thru your computer eaiser until you can upgrade your system. Another great (and free) program to log and trim your footage on PC, is "Mpeg Streamclip" Google it online and download the program, it is super awesome.
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  • My vote is for "He doesn't know what he's doing and just made and ass of himself on the internet"
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  • i recently bought a go pro motorsports hd hero, well today in fact, just testing out everything, and when i connected the sd card to my mac (running Mac OSX 10.6.8) its a 2.2 GHZ, 4GB RAM 17" model, so no cheap shit, i couldn't play the go pro footage. I shot it in pal @ 720p at 60fps, haven't bothered trying any other frame rates or resolutions as of yet.

    The problem: Initially tried playing in imagebrowser-unplayyable, noticed it was a .mov file yet its supposedly an mp4 file so i'm a bit confused about that one, but nonetheless i tried playing in quicktime-no (unrecognized file format, etc), as a last resort i opened up VLC, and even that miracle worker didn't play it, and that usually plays everything!

    I then tried using mpeg streamclip to convert it, but even that couldn't recognize the file type, neither could handbrake (another video converting software program)... any ideas people? i mean wtf
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    • do you have perian installed, it will add video codecs so your media players will play it. Just tested the playback of various files and all work on both VLC and Quicktime Player. Even the 2704x1440 @23.9fps plays smoothly. I have a 27" i7 iMac with 8GB of ram. SO as I said try installing perian
    • I had the same problem .gopro files are very high quality . you can use the camera with hdmi adapter and power to play on tv ,or do what i did -buy a raspbery pi computer ,sd card -follow simple instructions and use the xmbc software to play it -it will play my 3.06 gb files no problem-i shot them at 1920 by 1440 pal-you need a raspery pi, sd card4/8gb, usb hub,beefy 5v power supply,usb mouse,usb keyboard (opt). The pi is about Au $36 dollars. some computer experince helps but it is really like lego . I use it with my external usb 1.5tb drive-make sure the power supply is good .I expect lower resolutions will play better -peter b
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  • I solved my problem by changing to a faster grade of SD card. Slower SD cards cannot cope with the high bit rate created by full HD video on a GoPro.
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  • 1st everyone capping on hotpipes saying his computer is old or to slow ,didn't read that he has a new Alienware duh , and it's all over the internet about people having trouble playing these files there's more people in this thread having trouble than not and if you download the file from your sd card to your computer, having trouble playing on your computer wouldnt be the sd cards fault

    ok how about this one, i can play the file off the gopro connected to the computer with quicktime but when i download the file to my computer and play it on quick time it looks all choppy and green lines and crap, and in downloaded it many times won't play on any other player (tryed 5 different ones ) it should be choppier thru the camera! i build my own machines i know computers and i have 2 other cameras that i can get to play fine on any of the other 8 computers i have here at home

    is there something that changes in the file if you take it off the sd card from the camera??
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  • here straight from gopro

    "Windows Media Player or Movie Maker (download the latest HD-capable version and also download a H.264 decoder to update media or movie maker). CoreCodec CoreAVC is one company that offers a codec pack for h.264. VLC media player. Download this free video media player that supports .mp4 h.264 files: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ For other PC based editing programs, we have had several customers give good reviews of the Pinnacle Studio HD editing software which is compatible with the MP4 files. Adobe Premier Elements PC based program that is compatible with MP4 files. If you have an existing program that does not support MP4 files, you also have the option of using a file conversion software such as Squared5 or VLC Media Player to convert your files into a format compatible with your particular editing program."

    mp4 maybe standard hd file jason, so whats a" mp4 h.264" ? is that standard ?

    see all these instructions just to view your movies ,,,, why could they just make it work with the standard windows media player that everyone one the planet as (less mac people) istead of " stand on your head spin around 3 times stop on your right foot! don't forget it!!! " LOL, (a little spongebob humor) the aveage joe is going to have trouble with these instructions and im having a hell of a time downloading VLC , is that some pirate web site , hit download 10 times , and nada

    why couldn't gopro send a player with the camera, naaaa thats a silly idea,

    while were here , nice addition with the bacpac lcd screen addon , , i dont know i was kinda likeing, mount the camera, go ride , remove the camera, bring it inside hook it up to a computer , view the recording, opps not in frame , back outside , mount the camera, etc, repeat 5 times , great got it ! oh crap the sun went down

    i do like it though, recomended it to a lot of people i can see some people with ittle patience having trouble with aimind it with no bacpac and the back and forth button pushing,
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  • MP4 is not some weird non-standard format, even my phone (not the iPhone) plays that. I edit MP4 files with Pinnacle Studio or Sony Vegas, I use VLC player to watch them. The computer must have the necessary codecs, though.
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  • My PC plays the file fine using VLC and many other codecs but whenI drag a file over 2gb it won't play. Smaller files will.

    I'm talking Sony Vegas 8
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  • It's absolutely the SD card. I began by using a class 10 SD that wasn't a named brand and had this same problem (I'm a film editor by profession). I use a Macpro set up for 3D graphic design, so I knew it wasn't my computer. Besides which Final Cut Pro couldn't recognise the files (even if it were my pc FC would still recognise the files and I could still edit them).

    I put my Sandisk ExtremePro 16gb card in it and the gopro recorded the longer files properly, no problems at all. And they played perfectly fine in my pc.

    To be honest, 1080 plays in my old old laptop running windows XP without any problems, and that thing only has 1 gb of RAM...so you would have to be running and damn OLD pc for it not to work!

    Cheers Nix
    • view 4 more comments
    • I was reading when I had this problem before in google and I find that the sd cards is not always stable with the read or write speed independent from the brand or the sd card. The most stable sd was the sandick in the reviews. I really don't know if your samsung sd is the problem but I am pretty sure that the sd cards are one of the biggest nightmare for the gopro. As I had the same problem with unbrand sd card, today I have record two video of 15 min with the sandisk and was playing just fine. Also I think as much time you recording there will be problems. I am not sure if I will record for half or an hour will work even with my sd card. The thing is the sd cards that we have to have for the gopro. It has to be very fast and the good cards are expensive as much as a proffesional save card for cameras, even if this for videos or photos. Hope that Helped you!!
    • Thanks for answering :) i accidentally found a sandisk card in the house today, and it actually worked! I had NOT forseen that. Good thing whatsoever :) but that means my 3 last cards were fucked up.. Thanks anyway!

      Go sandisk!
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  • I see, thank you.
    so I'm guessing it hasn't written onto the card properly, therefor it isn't recoverable footage.

    cheers
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  • As I said before, for a mac install perian. Just did a 2704x1440 test with a file size of 3.38GB and it played smooth as silk on my iMac. I am also running class 10 32GB no name card.
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  • I’m pissed
    1
    This is the same problem I am having with my Hero 3. Some of my files are viewable, but the issue im having is that the higher resolution videos are only playing audio. AND the lower resolution videos are not converting on my cinepro, which means that have to remain MP4 files. I would like to be able to just bring in all of my videos , convert them, edit them, burn them or send them. I am using a Sandisk Ultra 32 gb class 10, My computer is running a quad core processor. the video card is watching other high resolution videos not made by me. I have reason to believe this is not a computer issue, please any advice?
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  • I'm having a problem with mine too. The last video I took on my hero3 stopped mid way because the sd card became full. The video shows up on the card but can't be played by any player on my macbook (vlc, quicktime or anything else). I really want this footage. Anyone have any ideas?
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  • I ran into a problem with the Hero3 Black in the WP case recording 7+GB files that were totally unreadable as video but WMP shows them as music files. Note that the camera did not write the LRV file for these recordings. We found that by shimming the camera away from the bluetooth button, the files wrote fine. Not sure exactly what is happening but think the button is pressed because of motion or in my case maybe water pressure from the outside. After shimming, we had no problems with short oe long recordings.
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  • returning Hero 2 after way to many issues. Cant download Cineform and get any upgrades. Video cuts in and out with HDMI hook up to TV. Cant play back any video on computer.
    Absolute piece of junk and way too confusing. Getting any decent support from gopro is futile.
    Purchase some other product that is more user friendly.
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  • Although GoPro HD Hero series like HD Hero 3, HD Hero 2 cameras can take high quality video, but there is some problems such as not showing the video only audio, unsupported file type when playing & editing GoPro HD video in MP4 format.

    I wanna import my GoPro HD MP4 files into Pinnacle Studio, but no luck. Well, I found the solution from a forum to change the MP4 file type for easy editing. In a similar way, if you wanna import GoPro videos to FCP, convert MP4 to Apple ProRes, encode MP4 to MPEG-2 for Adobe Premiere Pro...

    Source from: http://lydia-file-transferring.jimdo....
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  • I’m frustrated
    i can see that getting help from GoPro is a bit futile... but here goes any way,

    like the original post i am unable to play the files from GoPro,and of course like him i suspected that these particular MP4 files are mutants, cos i could play pretty much everything else, including HD video from several Nikon and Canon SLR and Sony HD Broadcast camcorders.

    MP4 is just a container so i went through the trouble of checking what was in the container, it turns out it its in some kind of JVT format not the usual QuickTime h.264.

    i am using windows 7

    i tried the latest Klite codec packs and VLC , no luck.

    i have QuickTime pro.

    my computer is not a high end one but if i can play HD clips of over several Gigs in size from other sources, i dont see why that would be an issue with a clip of less than a Gig
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  • i recorded a couple videos with my gopro3 and i can play all the files but only only one file plays about a minute then i get an error that says windows media player has ecountered a problem while playing the video
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  • I have a feeling it's usually coming down to one of three things.

    High bit rate is hard on many computers, 35-45Mbits/s is very high, which is desired if your system can handle it but not if it's not up to the task. Check the data rate / bit rate on the "other" HD video you can play, I doubt it's running that hot.

    Windows seems to have the most issues with things like audio but no video, video but no audio, something isn't working right on my playback, etc. Try VLC player. Try updating codec packs, etc. I use a Mac, so I don't know much about that world, but it seems those types of things happen on Windows platforms.

    Support needed. Many computers don't seem to be able to play the higher data rates these files have. If you can plug the camera into your TV, see if it plays back fine. If it can, then the issue is not with the camera. If it can't, then you may need to get a replacement through the customer support.
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  • I’m frustrated
    Ok so one more casualty to add on the list.

    I got a Silver GoPro Hero 3 and I can record and play back any video upto 10 min or less fine. These work flawlessly in both in VLC and MediaPlayer12, so my codecs are all good.

    Now here is the problem. I have a few 20min videos from my moto enduro ride yesterday and i can't view them. They wont play back. As a test I sat the gopro up in the living room just now and recorded a 26min video. Same issue, can get it to play back.

    Now for each video was recorded successfully. Ie. the battery didn't go flat and the memory card did not full up. So im sure there is no corruption in the headers as i have read other user were getting. The only issue i have is the duration and size of the file.

    Has anyone experienced this issue?
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  • I’m confident
    Still trying to figure this out. But thought i would post my findings thus far.

    So after getting an error attempting to load these videos into a converter i decided to go down the corrupt/repair mp4 road.

    So far i have had "limited" success. I found this post http://fpvlab.com/forums/showthread.p...! which mentioned he had some sucess using "HD Video Repair Utility"

    using this
    http://www.grauonline.de/cmsimple2_6/...

    Using the tool at the above link i managed to repair only 50% of the file using the free version. This is actually the limitation of the free version.

    So now I'm confident my videos are repairable...

    I would recommend this process to anyone before scrapping any GoPro videos they believe are toast.

    Now, to find a tool that will repair 100%...
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  • I recently formatted the SD card in my HDhero 3 Black edition after successfully filling it up with multiple other videos. After capturing more video I can't playback the files on my computer however I can view them with the gopro hooked up to the TV. Does formatting the SD card wipe out some code from the gopro that it needs for playback or does it change setting somehow? Files are still being recorded in MP4.
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  • Hey Everyone

    Just wanted to say that I was having this same issue with my SD Card (a 4GB one) but I realized that it wasn't the SD card or the GoPro, but in fact it was the SD Adapter I was using. I plugged my GoPro directly into my computer via the USB cord and BAM it worked!
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  • I’m happy
    After doing more investigation i have discovered in fact that my micro sd is not a class 10. The sd could not keep up with the frame rate of the go-pro thus the indexes with in the mp4 file would corrupt.

    Some footage can be recovered but i was unsuccessful is recovering all.

    I have since got my hand on a class 10 and can now recorded videos over 20 minutes in duration @ 1080 with no dramas..

    I only wish i new what class my sd was before hand...

    A friendly note to all, if you sd card is not specifically stamped with "class 10" then its not a class 10.

    Regards,
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  • to Simon Hooper

    I got the same problem. Trying a lot of stuff but no sucess. Serfing the net I find out the same problem with "HD Video Repair Utility" that repair only 50%. I only know that there is a way to double the size of your video (leagal and free) both on osx and windows and after enlarging HD Video Repair Utility will repair full of your video.
    Fallow this track. If I find direct link to "haw to do this" I write to you give my you email.

    if youll came up how to fix your video (exept by "HD Video Repair Utility" because it cant help with mine videos) send me a note please.
    my email: sztadar@gmail.com

    best regards
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  • Adam sztadar, I had basically given up.

    I haven't deleted the files but to date have only been able to recover 3 minutes.
    There was some good footage I want to recover of a few hill climbs that i still really want to see. I'm not sure how much more time I'm willing to put in to this however.

    So to answer your question, no i have not been able to recover any more footage.
    Ill post on here if i have any more luck. I would be interested in any success you might have also.

    Simmo
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  • its not funny. I have lost some once in a lifetime video because the camera freezes or locks up or is corrupted at least half the time. Tried several different class 10 cards. No software to easily edit what you may get. I bought the newest adobe premere and it IS NOT fast or easy and go-pro software is a joke.. Maybe the forum should be what other similar cameras REALLY work and their pricerange? FLAG THIS
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  • 1
    I am playing with new GoProHero3 - new toy so don't really know what it can do yet but I have discovered that free Ubuntu Linux 12.04 op sys running on cheap Acer netbook 1 gig mem 1.66 gig processor using free gnome-mplayer 1.0.5 does play the MP4 files I copy off a 32gig no class card from the camera. I am talking about only the higher mb files generated by the camera using 720p60fps. Also using other freeware on the Ubuntu system would convert the wierd GoPro mp4 files to another type mp4 file that looked as good when viewed using 32" HD tv.

    My windows vista computer will not play the gopro files with anything I have
    My windows 7 starter op sys in the Acer netbook will not play the gopro files with anything I have. I have vlc on all three and it doesn't work.

    So far only the Gnome player on the Ubuntu op system is the only player that will play these wierd files out of the box so to speak using default installation settings

    My interest is spirited motorcycle rides through crooked paved roads and the Gnome plays these just fine on my cheap PC

    I have not found any freeware yet that will render these files into a hd DVD but was able to make a 70 minute movie to standard dvd format (12hr to render)
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  • Beemerbob. That's very helpful. You've done some great work. Thanks for your post. I too have found Linux to be helpful and Windows to be problematic when viewing these videos. My work computer will chew through the videos pretty well but I don't like using it for personal stuff, its running Windows 7 and is equipped with the i5 processor with 4gb of RAM. But check this out, my Asus Transformer Tablet plays them without a glitch. It's like watching tv on it. Windows is a pig plain and simple. It chews up so much of its capacity just to boot that it has little left to offer. Unless of course you have a top end machine. But even if you do have a top end machine today in two years yours will be antiquated again.
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  • I’m happy and thankful !
    If you are having problems with the gopro files it could be the class of card .I'm a electronic tech by trade . You could also spray some contact enhancer on the card and then wipe gently to allow a film on the contacts . In a pinch you could use wd-40 or water dispersant . Yes linux is better and it's getting to the point where it is almost as easy to use as windows and a bit cheaper ! I don't work for gopro but their camera is the BEST I have had so far . I've tried the sony,jvc and their version of 1080 is just not clear enough . I used the gopro in nothern italy on my bicycle in heat,cold,raid,snowstorm and it worked flawlessly unlike me . I filmed in 1920 by 1440 using 64g class 10 and the footage is fantastic . No player device will play it but the raspberry pie computer will play my above hd video with only slight bottom of frame breakup in high movement scenes -it is quite easy to set up if you follow the instructions on the net -need 2a 5v suppy,usb powered hub,keyboard,mouse ect , if you want to keep it really simple just use a usb power supply and use your gopro as the play device -you just need a adapter for a normal hdmi cable --Peter B
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  • I’m hugely disappointed
    Can't believe a thread as important as this is still unresolved after 3 years GoPro! Have just purchased a Hero 3+ black after agonising over a Sony - and NONE of the larger movie files (over 300 MB) will play. No problem with short grabs of a few seconds here and there. Simply will NOT play anything longer. Photos fine too. Seems like a great unit but NO MOVIES LONGER THAN A FEW SECONDS. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities gone.

    Brand-new ASUS laptop with 6GB RAM, i5, Intel graphics, Samsung 64 GB class 10 micorSD card. Manual states on page 52 the camera supports this capacity/class card.
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    • That's a good suggestion. I tried reading a Samsung microSD card four different ways without success:

      1. with a Samsung microSD adapter
      2. directly from the camera via USB
      3. over wifi from the camera (using the GoPro app)
      4. with the microSD plugged into my Samsung phone (i.e. using phone as SD adapter).

      Nothing worked. Unfortunately the best solution was returning the camera.

      Only logical explanation seems to be some kind of recording instability between the camera and the card. I have always found Samsung equipment to operate reliably and to specifications, so have no reason to doubt the card (which works perfectly well in my phone and other camera equipment as needed)
    • This comment was removed on 2013-12-23.
      see the change log
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  • I’m anxious
    i have just got a present of a hero 3+ and i recorded some video today of rc racing, about 5 minutes at 800mb in 720p 50fps,

    the card i have is a 32gb sandisc extreme and my videos dont play back on my pc but play fine if i watch them via wifi on my mobile phone,

    i need to get these vids up on youtube and its bugging me like mad,

    i wonder if switching from sd to micro sd is causing this as i record the same videos in the same resolution on my gopro 1 and everything works fine

    ive just found a way around it but may lose a tad quality,

    i use win avi all in 1 video converter and convert from unwatchable, unplayable mp4 into an mp4, yes the same format, it took 11 minutes to convert a 1gb video and it turned out as a 151mb file and still stayed as an mp4,

    now the video plays perfectly with not much quality lost,

    but i shouldnt have to do this with a camera that cost £360.00

    so whats the difference between the mp4 the gopro creates and the mp4 that win avi converts it too and i think the next firmware update gopro give us should have the option within the cameras setup menu to switch between the 2 mp4 formats so it plays instantly on any pc,

    what do you thing gopro developers ??

    wow, just rang gopro about my problem saying i can play back all videos put onto my pc in all resolutions and framerates recorded on my gopro 1 right up to 1080p but cant even play back a 720p 50fps that i put on the same pc from my gopro 3+,

    i asked wy does gopro 1 offer 720, 30fps but gopro 3+ lowest fps is 50,
    if we had the 30fps option in the settings menu i'm guessing nearly all playback problems would be overcome.

    unfortunatly the guy couldnt get me off the line fast enough and then hung up on me mid question,

    great backup service
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  • Im having trouble with Go Pro Studios. It wont let me import a song. i press import and nothing appears in the media file . WTF??
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  • I’m PISSED OFF YOU ARSHOLES
    I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM WHAT A SHIT CAMERA
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  • I have just been given my White GoPro 3. I like the free GoPro software studio which enables me to remove fish eye but I then found that MP4 files output by GoPro cannot be imported into Pinnacle Studio 17 with audio. Video yes but not audio. AVi files simply can't be imported at all. The answer I found was to take the GoPro output MP4 file and convert it to another MP4 file using the downloadable free utility Handbrake. Yes I know it sounds stupid but it works. That way I get a very usable MP4 that Pinnacle can inport complete with audio and I can edit without problems.
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  • Yep sadly I'm having same issue guys, very annoying as I bought the top of the line model specifically for long video renders which I now cant use...

    Seems a bit of an unusual oversight, these aren't exactly cheap point and shoot items with some basic entry level studio/editing suite.

    GoPro techs!! -- If you read these which I'm hoping you do, please keep us in the loop, at least reply and let us know you are aware of it...?

    I am meant to be using this for my work, parts of which I now have to put on hold due to a software bug. :/

    So please comment or reply directly to the OP as we need your help and support here!!!

    Thanks!
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  • I hope this helps, I was having the same issue with my gopro 3 black, even tough I was using the class 10 card (mine was a brand new Samsung 32 gig) . I think the micro sd card was defective. So when I replace the card with a new class 10, the camera worked without problems. So I was able to watch the videos I was recording on my windows 7 laptop. My 2cents the bad sd card was corrupting the mp4 files.
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  • Hello guys and hopefully GoPro tech support.

    I wanted to put some weight on the problem. I too did buy the cutting edge camera to make some fantastic footage however at the moment the file is split at near 4 gigs , the files become upplayable. I am with 64gb samsung class 10 and I tried to play it with plenty of players. I have some experience with PC and I think that indeed the files and no recorded correctly. Probably the headers inside the MP4 container are not defined properly once the file is split.

    Please do some work and give some work-around even it is some not the most convenient one.

    THank you in advance and I hope there will be some firmware update to fix this.
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  • I recently bought the GoPro Hero+Black and had no problems playing it on WMP and also editing it with GoPRO Cineform But when i try and burn it to DVD disc the MP4 video i import into my burning programs (about 6 differnet ones) crashes all of them. Very frustrating!!!! Any ideas Anyone
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