Every MP4 in my entire movie collection no longer plays... your help is now requested

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dustintheweb Offline
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Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012
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Post: #1
Today is a sad horrible nightmare and I can really use some help / advice.

For the last several months I have been tediously converting my movie collection to MP4s. 120 or so, working great, all done as of last week. Today, I go to watch one and discover that it wont play. Then I discover that none of them will play. No love from VLC, XBMC, etc.

After spending all day in research mode, it sounds like my problem may have something to do with broken mp4 headers. This is merely an educated guess (which if true, I'd have to attribute to one of the media organizer apps that I had tried in the last week).

To correct this, I've tried several apps & scripts to demux/ remux/ resave/ export the mp4s to get them to work... but so far, nothing has been able to play the actual video file within.

Everything about these files looks like they should work. I have no idea what happened, but the properties of the container & the media within look good as far as I can tell.

Can anyone help me? I'm pretty much at the end of the road.

Exact symptoms:
  • I try to play an MP4 from my within Movies folder, via multiple players, but the files simply won't work.

System:
Things I've tried that have failed:
  • codec replacement - shark 007 update/ re-install
  • ffmpeg - a simple acodec/ vcodec copy
  • mp4box - demux/ remux
  • mp4creator - demmux/ remux
  • AVIDemux - open/ export
  • YAMB - demux/ remux
  • Grau GbR Video Repair Utility - open/ export

Other interesting tidbits:
  • Any MP4 not in my Movies directory plays perfectly, on all players.
  • I'm no newb, but I certainly feel like one.
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Ned Scott Offline
Team-Kodi Wiki Guy
Posts: 22,508
Joined: Jan 2011
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Location: Arizona, USA
Post: #2
Run MediaInfo on one of the files and tell us what it says.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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dustintheweb Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012
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Post: #3
General
Complete name : F:\MEDIA\Video\Movies\Back to the Future (1985)\Back to the Future (1985).mp4
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID : mp42
File size : 1.78 GiB
Duration : 1h 56mn
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 2 196 Kbps
Encoded date : UTC 2012-03-18 16:41:39
Tagged date : UTC 2012-03-18 20:22:38
Writing application : HandBrake 0.9.6 2012022800
Xtra : WM/MediaClassPrimaryID

Video
ID : 1
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : High@L3.0
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 1h 56mn
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 1 581 Kbps
Width : 720 pixels
Height : 464 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 1.85:1
Original display aspect ratio : 1.85:1
Frame rate mode : Variable
Frame rate : 23.976 fps
Minimum frame rate : 17.120 fps
Maximum frame rate : 29.970 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.197
Stream size : 1.28 GiB (72%)
Encoded date : UTC 2012-03-18 16:41:39
Tagged date : UTC 2012-03-18 20:22:26
Color primaries : BT.601-6 525, BT.1358 525, BT.1700 NTSC, SMPTE 170M
Transfer characteristics : BT.709-5, BT.1361
Matrix coefficients : BT.601-6 525, BT.1358 525, BT.1700 NTSC, SMPTE 170M

Audio #1
ID : 2
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format profile : LC
Codec ID : 40
Duration : 1h 56mn
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 160 Kbps
Maximum bit rate : 365 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Compression mode : Lossy
Delay relative to video : -67ms
Stream size : 133 MiB (7%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2012-03-18 16:41:39
Tagged date : UTC 2012-03-18 20:22:25

Audio #2
ID : 3
Format : AC-3
Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
Mode extension : CM (complete main)
Format settings, Endianness : Big
Codec ID : ac-3
Duration : 1h 56mn
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 448 Kbps
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Bit depth : 16 bits
Compression mode : Lossy
Delay relative to video : -67ms
Stream size : 372 MiB (20%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2012-03-18 16:41:39
Tagged date : UTC 2012-03-18 20:22:25
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PatK Offline
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Location: Canada
Post: #4
VLC has it's own codecs built in, so if your problem was codecs... VLC should have eliminated that possibility. Do you have any (from another source) mp4's that play if moved into the movie directory, or is moving them into that folder the killer? The fact that mediaInfo see's the file in this way indicates to me the damage is slight and I note you used handbrake (that might be a better forum to approach with this issue). I'm also wondering if running it through something like MKVmerge and re-muxing it might save the day. In all this work did you not try to see if the file would play out properly... or did this just happen overnight to all of them?

Pressed against the wall with a whole load of them I'd use a binary editor to compare the headers between a working mp4, and the damaged mp4; then if you're lucky you might be able to do a cut & paste repair of the header.

Good Luck.
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-06 17:02 by PatK.)
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dustintheweb Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #5
Yeah, what's weird is that all of "affected" files were specific to my movie folder and working perfectly just a few days ago. Which is why i'm thinking it was caused by some kind of rogue action from a file organizer app (either filebot, media center master, or Ember) - Any other MP4 anywhere else on my system works fine. So that, plus the fact that they've worked flawlessly for months, means handbreak probably isn't to blame.

I'll try your MKVmerge & binary editor ideas this morning and let you know how it goes. Thanks for the feed back on this.
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whitebelly Offline
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Post: #6
I'd check my file sharing/security settings in Win 7, I've had instances where those settings seem to limit access & cause problems, particularly after moving a folder/directory.
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PatK Offline
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Location: Canada
Post: #7
Something modified those files... not sure what filebot is, but it doesn't sound nice, while MCM and Ember really don't dig into files.. but a rogue copy with bad code could do it... moving with a bad manager might leave blocks. I'm wondering if you copy them out.... of the folder, would it make any difference. Also keep in mind a hard drive error could play havoc leaving crc errors everywhere. Ensure the integrity of the hard drive first, (some sort of drive checker) then it wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility that you have a highjacker adding to each file some malicious code.. corruption of the OS is also a suspect, then focus up on your mpg4's. A lot of work... if you had another old computer to double check against, that would be best.
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Chris! Offline
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Location: England
Post: #8
Have you tried using a different computer to see if the same thing is observed?


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