Troubleshooting guide

Note: The solutions below are for Windows XP, Vista and 7, Mac OSX up to v.10.7 and for Firefox. We recommend using Firefox as your browser and VLC Media Player to watch the clips. They can be found for free at http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/ and http://www.videolan.org/vlc/.

The solutions offered here only apply if you have the most recent versions of the programs recommended above. If you encounter a problem while using a different browser, try these solutions before contacting the web support team.

Troubleshooting FAQs

  1. When I try to download a video, it attempts to play in a browser and stops working.
  2. I can only view a video online, and cannot download it.
  3. I have downloaded a clip and I cannot play it.
  4. I have downloaded a transcription and it only opens in Notepad or Internet Explorer.

1. When I try to download a video, it attempts to play in a browser and stops working.

This may be because your internet connection is not fast enough to support streaming, or because the video player that works within your browser does not support the file type. There are two solutions here, depending on whether you want to save the video or simply watch it.

1.1 To save the video:

You will need to tell the browser that it should download, not stream, the clip.

  1. In Firefox, open the Applications menu
    Windows: Tools/Options/Applications.
    Mac: Firefox/Preferences/Applications.
  2. Select the ‘Applications’ tab. You will see a list of all the types of media that Firefox plays. In the table below, you will see a list of the file types in the Digital Collections service. Find the type you are trying to open, and in the drop-down menus, select ‘Save File’.
    File type Firefox application name
    File type MPG Movie Clip (video/mpeg)
    Movie Clip (video/x-mpeg)
    File type MP4 MPEG-4 Movie (audio/mp4)
    MPEG-4 Movie (video/mp4)
    MPEG-4 video
    Quicktime player document (video/mp4)
    File type Quicktime Quicktime movie
    Quicktime player document (video/mov)
    QuickTime Player document (video/mpeg)
    File type FLV [Coming soon]
    File type Windows Media Windows Media Audio/Video file (video/x-ms-wm)
    Windows Media Audio/Video file (video/x-ms-wmv)
    File type MP3 MP3 Format sound (audio/mpeg)
    MP3 Format sound (audio/mpeg3)
    MP3 Format sound (audio/x-mpeg)
    File type WAV Wave Sound (audio/wav)
    Wave Sound (audio/x-wav)
  3. Now click the link again. If the problem is not fixed, try changing the settings of other related applications. Remember to select ‘Save file’ for all iterations of the file type in the applications menu.

For more help, see the relevant Firefox help pages.

Please note that you are not able to change these options in Internet Explorer. We recommend Firefox as a more versatile browser. Download it here: http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/

1.2 To play the video in the browser:

First, make sure that Firefox is set to play the application, rather than download it. Follow the steps for 1.1, but this time select ‘Use QuickTime plugin X.X.X (in Firefox)’ in place of ‘Save file’.

If this does not work, you will need to download the latest codecs. The best codec pack to use is FFDShow. Most Digital Collections files play using the FFDShow codecs. Download it from http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffdshow/, open the downloaded file and follow the instructions there. FFDShow does not support MP4 files, but VLC will play them.

If downloading and installing FFDShow does not help, you may want to try searching for a specific codec by file type on http://www.free-codecs.com/.


2. I can only view a video online, and cannot download it.

You browser is automatically playing clips rather than giving you an option to save them. Follow the steps listed in 1.1 above.


3. I have downloaded a clip and I cannot play it.

This may be for three reasons: The clip may be corrupted, the player may not recognise it, or you may not have the correct player or codec for the clip. You may want to read all three solutions before trying any of them, to save time and effort. If the problem persists after all three solutions have been attempted, contact your departmental IT support.

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING, you will need to be able to see the icons that the computer selects for your files. These can be obscured if you have chosen to view stills from videos as thumbnails. In the folder that you keep your videos in, select ‘View’ and then choose ‘Icons’ or ‘List’.

3.1 Firstly, the clip may be corrupted

This would happen if, for instance, the service was interrupted while you were downloading. To rule this out, select another clip of the same file type and try to play it. You can ask your computer to display the file types of all your clips by opening Windows Explorer (by pressing WINDOWS+E on your keyboard).

  1. Open the ‘Tools’ menu.
  2. Select ‘Folder Options’. This will open the Folder Options menu.
  3. Select the ‘View’ tab.
  4. In the list under the heading ‘Advanced Settings’, UNCHECK the option ‘Hide extensions for known file types’. This will cause the file extension (for example, .MP4 for an MP4 file) to display at the end of every filename.

Now you can check if your clip is corrupted by trying to play a different clip with the same file type. If this works, download the file again. (If you cannot download a working version of the clip, but you can play other files of the same type, contact the person listed in the catalogue as the owner of the data.

3.2 Secondly, the player may not recognise the clip as one that it should play.

You will need to tell the computer what player to use to play the clip. You may notice that the icon that windows displays for the file looks like this:

Unrecognised file icon

This is the ‘Unrecognized’ icon, and it means that the computer does not know what to do with your clip.

Right click on the clip and select ‘Open With >’. You will see a list of programs that Windows thinks that you may want to use.

All the videos will play in Windows Media Player, QuickTime, or VLC Media Player (available free at http://www.videolan.org/vlc/). If these do not display in the short list, select ‘Choose Program...’ to see all the programs you might use.

The table below shows which files tend to play in each player, although this will vary depending on which version of each player you use. Try to play your clip in all three players if it does not work at first.

PLAYER File type MP3 File type WAV File type MPG File type MP4 File type Quicktime File type FLV File type Windows Media
Windows Media Player        
QuickTime      
VLC
Firefox (Quicktime plugin)

Once you have found a player which will play your clip, you need to tell your computer to play all files of that type in the right player.

  1. Right click on the file and select ‘Properties’. This will open the Properties menu.
  2. In the top third of the page you will see a line of text saying (for example) “Opens with: QuickTime Player”.
    1. If this is correct, press ‘OK’ to leave the Properties menu.
    2. If it is incorrect, press the button marked ‘Change...’. A new menu will open. Here you can select the correct program from the list.
      Once you have done so, press ‘OK’ to leave the list, and then ‘Apply’ to leave the Properties menu. All the icons of similar files should now change to that of your chosen program.
3.3 Thirdly, you may not have the correct player or codec for the clip.

If the clip does not play in any of the players, you may see an error message that says, for instance, “Windows Media Player cannot play the file. One or more codecs are needed [...]”, or similar messages for the other two players. This solution will also help you if you can hear sound but not see the video, or vice versa.

Before you try to change your codec, download VLC media player. VLC is the most versatile of the players, and the one that we recommend.

If you do not have one of the players listed above, you can download or buy it. To get Windows Media Player or QuickTime, contact your department’s IT support or try the alternative players at the following addresses. The alternative players are free and streamlined, but may not have all the features of the commercial versions.

Windows Media Player Ask your IT support
Windows Media Alternative http://www.free-codecs.com/download/media_player_classic.htm
QuickTime Ask your IT support
Quicktime Alternative http://www.free-codecs.com/download/quicktime_alternative.htm
VLC Media Player http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

If the video does not play, you may need to download a new codec to play the clip (A codec is an information file that tells the player how to turn the digital information in the file into a series of images and sounds).

The best codec pack to use is FFDShow. Most Digital Collections files play using the FFDShow codecs. Download it from http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffdshow/ , open the downloaded file and follow the instructions there. FFDShow does not support MP4 files, but VLC will play them.

If downloading and installing FFDShow does not help, you may want to try searching for a specific codec by file type on http://www.free-codecs.com/.


4. I have downloaded a transcription and it only opens in Notepad or Internet Explorer.

You have probably downloaded a transcription in CHAT format ( CHAT icon ). You will need CLAN to make full use of the transcription. Download CLAN from http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/clan/. More information about CHILDES, CHAT and CLAN can be found at http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/.

If a transcription file in Microsoft Word format does not work, check your version of Word or write to the contact for the project you are trying to access.