Solving Lightroom’s “There is a problem with the video file” Error
May 10, 2013
55 comment

I backup the images and videos from my iPhone in to Lightroom, but I ran in to a situation where I was unable to import video files (MOV). Lightroom would import image files, but at the end of an import that included video files, Lightroom would display the message “There is a problem with the video file” with a list of all my video files that it was unable to import.

Lightroom Fanatic - Lightroom Problem With Video File Error

Lightroom Fanatic – Problem With Video File Error

I’m using a Mac running Mountain Lion, but searches on the error message seem to pop up on Windows 7 systems running LR, as well.

Restarting the application did not solve my problem. However, here are the steps that worked for me.

  1. Make sure you are running the latest version of Lightroom by clicking Help > Check for Updates. In talking with a few other users that were experiencing the same issue, simply updating to the latest version resolved the issue.
  2. Open Lightroom Preferences and click on the File Handling tab.
    Lightroom Fanatic - Lightroom Preferences - File Handling

    Lightroom Fanatic – Lightroom Preferences – File Handling

  3. At the bottom of the File Handling options, find the Video Cache Settings.
  4. Click the Purge Cache button.
  5. Close the Preferences dialog.
  6. Close Lightroom.
  7. Launch Lightroom.
  8. Cross fingers.
  9. Import videos!

Good luck!

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There are 55 comments

  • Andrew says:

    Thanks for the solution. It worked for me, too,

  • Tim Kelly says:

    This fixed the problem I was having importing video from my DSLRs into Lightroom 5 (running on Windows). Thanks so much for sharing the solution.

  • K.e says:

    i use LR5 on my mac
    when I click on purge cache
    it stays there for 24hours+
    i can only import photos not videos 🙁

    • dave says:

      Yikes! A few things to try:

      1. Make sure you have the latest version of LR 5 installed…I don’t think there were any updates, but maybe still check.
      2. Is the catalog an upgraded catalog from LR 4? Does it have a lot of images? If so, try creating a new catalog and see if you have the same problem. If you don’t, then maybe start with a fresh catalog and import from your old catalog.
      3. Uninstall / Reinstall LR 5.
      4. Make sure you have enough disk space. Maybe check your disk, as well, see if it has any issues.

  • Stuart John says:

    Brilliant. Solved the problem. What a star

  • Ron Robertson says:

    Dave Thanks for you effort in posting this solution, It worked for me using LR4.4 on windows 7 64 bit

  • Carlos says:

    Didn’t work for me, still can’t import any videos. I was able to do it sometime ago, but suddenly it stopped working. I uninstalled and installed LR5 but no chance…. 🙁

    Any idea?


    • dave says:


      Did you try a new catalog, just to rule out anything corrupt in that?

      Is it all videos or just certain ones?

      • Carlos says:

        I tried different videos (iphone’s, Nikon D800’s, downloaded from the internet) and no change. Uninstalled all the video drivers (k-Lite code pack), re-installed Quicktime, tried a new catalog and a fresh install (first uninstall) of LR5 and no way.

        The only thing that worked was with a fresh install of a virtual W7 machine, with only quicktime and LR5 installed. I’ll go on installing the video codecs and Adobe CS6 and see if it still works.

        My fear is that no matter what I do, it will work for a month or so and then stop (at first LR5 imported the videos like a charm) and I never find the correct way to repair it.

        Keep you posted.

  • J. says:

    Thanks Dave. Followed closely your instructions in my LR5 running on Win 7 several times. Unfortunately, the problem continues and I keep getting “There is a problem with the video file” error. Any further suggestions?

    • dave says:

      Is it always with the same file? Could the file actually be bad or using an unsupported format?

      You might want to try a new catalog just to rule out an issue with your catalog, too.

      • J. says:

        Thanks again, Dave. No, it is with all the video files, all from digital cameras. They worked properly in LR4 where some were edited. When LR4 Cat was converted to LR5, they all ceased to be seen.
        Several attempts by deleting some of them from the catalog and then re-importing fail the same way. I think I´ll try with a new catalog with just a few files as you suggest, but I don´t feel like re-installing Win 7 or other radical procedures suggested by some, since LR and the OS seem to work fine other than that. Further, the videos are properly seen with other programs. Hope this helps others, J.

  • J. says:

    Hi Dave, as suggested I created a new catalog in Lr5, imported one file (to check it worked properly) and then tried importing small .mov and .avi files one at a time, purging the video cache and re-starting it each time. The problem repeated itself: “There is a problem with the video file…”
    Still unable to view or edit video files in Lr5. Shoul I go back to Lr4? Tks, J.

  • andy says:

    I got this problem only in v5.2. I tried to uninstall v5.2 and then install v5.0, now it will show video thumbnails in import screen and all my videos imported without any problem.
    I think this is a problem with version 5.2

  • J. says:

    Good point, I had missed 5.2 final release. Though Adobe doesn’t acknowledge any change in video processing, I will update and let you know. Thanks!

    • Carlos says:

      I tried with LR5.2 final release and didn’t work! same problem importing videos.

      The only solution so far is a clean install of the operatin system (W7 x64 in my case)

      • dave says:

        I wonder if there are other codecs for some of the other video files are installed that might be causing the problem. That might explain why the re-install works. Curious if something like reinstalling Quicktime or another video processor would be an easier solution.

  • J. says:

    LR5.2 Final Release worked after several tries repeating the whole procedure suggested by you!!! After it worked in the new ad-hoc catalog, I opened my working catalog, where I had imported LR4 files with edits. They were automatically read (they were in the catalog but unreadable) with no re-synchronizing or any other manipulation at all. Dave I’m very grateful for your time and expertise. Will continue to follow you, J.

  • Jon says:

    I just had this happen to me in Lightroom 4. I noticed that all the videos that had problems were from an iPhone that was shooting at a variable framerate. In different lighting conditions, the iPhone will use a frame rate of 24-30. All my 29.97 fps videos imported fine, but the less-than-29.97 videos failed (iPhone 4s and 5). I installed the LR5 trial on my laptop and I was able to import all videos without a problem.

    Anyway, this was the top google result for the problem, so I though I’d add my info here.

  • Pere says:

    I’ve used lightroom 4 with video problems, and now are still here with Lightroom 5. I’ve tried all the solutions you were talking about with no success.
    I have Macbook pro with Mountain Lion, thinking about migrating to Aperture and solve this problem with videos, but I’d really prefer to solve it in Lightroom. Anyone can help me?
    Thank you very much.

    • dave says:

      Hi, Pere. What devices are you trying to import videos from? Do you have the latest updates for Mountain Lion? You might also check that you have the latest/right codecs for the devices you’re trying to pull video from. Lightroom only supports some video types, and does rely somewhat on the computer it’s running on to have the right stuff, too. If you’re trying to load in a video that isn’t a type supported by Lightroom, though, there’s not much that can be done.

      • Pere says:

        hi Dave,
        Thanks for your answer. The videos I’m trying to import are from an iPhone 4S and a Gopro hero 3 silver. I can playback both of them in my macbook through Quicktime, so I guess is not codec problem.
        Thank you very much for your help.

        • dave says:

          Make sure the version of Lightroom you are using supports the Go Pro Hero. I think it was in LR 5.2. The 4S shouldn’t be a problem. You tried clearing the video cache and such. What’s the actual error you’re getting now?

          • Pere says:

            When I try to playback a video, the screen remains blank. When I try to import a new video from iPhone 4S, Lightroom remains importing more than an hour. I’ve cancelled and I get: No se han encontrado fotografías ni vídeos para importar, something like “No photos or videos found for import”.

          • dave says:

            And it’s only videos and not photos from the iPhone? I’d say try a different cable or USB port if you have one, just to rule out a faulty wire somewhere that’s having a problem with the data transfer. Because you’re getting the error after you cancel, it seems like more of a data transfer / access issue the bad file message I was experiencing.

            I did some searching and found a few posts about the black screen that seemed to be codec related. If you can play the video outside of Lightroom, then it’s something about LR not being able to access the codec to play back the video. Here’s the info from the Adobe site. I know it’s a pain, but have you tried uninstalling and re-installing LR? Maybe one of the hooks to the OS for the codec stuff is junked up. Make sure QT is updated, video drivers are updated, all that good stuff, then reinstall Lightroom and try it all again.

            Fingers crossed!

            Troubleshoot Playback
            If QuickTime is not installed and videos do not play, install QuickTime and retry playing the videos. If QuickTime is installed, make sure that you have the most recent version.
            Restart your computer and retry playing your videos.
            Export the video file with File Settings > Image Format set as Original. Then, import the exported copy back into Lightroom and see if it plays correctly.
            Open the clip in a video playing application (for example, QuickTime Player or Windows Media Player).
            Has another application changed the file since it was imported into Lightroom?
            (Windows only) If you have restarted your computer and still cannot play video files, make sure that the following processes are stopped in Task Manager.
            Adobe QT32 Server.exe
            Make sure that any parental control applications, such as Net Nanny, have not blocked access to Lightroom’s dynamiclinkmanager.exe and dynamiclinkmediaserver.exe files. Add Lightroom as an exception to any such application that you have running.
            To the top
            How Lightroom uses QuickTime

            QuickTime is sometimes necessary to import or play video files in Lightroom 4. The first time video is used, Lightroom checks to see if QuickTime is installed and warns you if it is not. If QuickTime is not installed, it’s possible that some video files won’t import. If you ignore the warning, and your videos import and play correctly, then QuickTime is not required. If some videos don’t import, try installing QuickTime.

            Video file formats can be complex. Some video file formats, including AVI and MOV, are container file formats. The data inside these container files is encoded according to a particular codec. Codecs (code/decode) are algorithms for compressing video and audio data. Many different codecs exist and although Lightroom contains numerous codecs, it’s possible that some video files need QuickTime to import. (Lightroom uses codecs to read video files when importing and playing)

  • aeiou11235 says:

    I have a hard-to-solve video problem: freeze on import (of any video from any source), doesnt show playback-option, freeze on cache-purging. No original video cache folder in library found, created one. problem persists. I’m trying to get my video-playback and import going for more than 3 days now, no solution helped by now. If anyone has any idea: please let me know, thanks.

    • dave says:

      Bummer! Have you tried creating a new catalog or reinstalling Lightroom? Are you on Mac/PC? What version of Lightroom? So much of video in Lightroom relies on things installed on your computer. There might be something else conflicting with the codec and video processors on your computer, too. Can you play the videos using other programs on your computer, like QuickTime?

      • aeiou11235 says:

        – Lightroom 5.3, new macbook pro
        – All files play normally in Quicktime or any other application.
        – I tried deleting and re-installing already.

        • dave says:

          Which camera are the video files from?

          • aeiou11235 says:

            … any camera really. Canon 6d, 5d mk2, iphone and fuji x-pro1.

            i suspected the perian extension (quicktime components) to be responsible for all this, but i uninstalled it and now lightroom crashes each time i’m clicking on a movie file.

            it’s f***ed up, really.

          • dave says:

            Did you try re-installing Quicktime after you uninstalled Perian? I’ve got that installed, too, but it doesn’t seem to cause a problem for me. I can load and play videos from my D7000 and iPhone.

            A few other thoughts based on some poking around…

            1. Regardless of any other camera, if you connect your iPhone (assuming you have a new-ish one) and pull in images, that should work. You should see images/video previews, be able to select image files. Is the problem before or after you are able to click the Import button? Like have you selected images/movies to import? Or is it trying to render previews for you to select which images you want to import? Does LR show previews?
            2. Are you running any antivirus? Some folks have said that their antivirus was preventing Lightroom access to movie files (apparently .NEF/.JPG was fine, but .mov was not).
            3. Do you have any other USB devices/drives connected while you are trying to do this? Not sure why it would be specific to video files, but might be worth disconnecting everything else in order to try. And I’m assuming your catalogs and such are all pointing to a local drive on your computer?

          • aeiou11235 says:

            Hi Dave!

            Many thanks for taking time to solve the Lightroom-problems on my mac! I appreciate!

            So: I un-installed Perian, restarted. Then I reinstalled all possible components according to this post (2nd one):

            I restarted my computer and started Lightroom. Plugged in my iphone. Same problem as always: I see preview images of the videos in the import dialogue but the download instantly freezes on import as soon as LR encounters a video-file. I can still work in Lightroom, but the import is not working, only possibility for me is to move all video-files into another folder and then import all image files.

            All video files work without any problems in the finder and any other video application. Only in Lightroom it does not work. The video-files that are already in the catalogue behave like this: in the Grid-view I can see the preview, as soon as I get into single-image-view in the library by double-clicking a video-file I get a spinning beachball and it takes around 2 to 3 minutes until Lightroom shows me an image in the size of the video without possibility to play it.

            I used to run avast! anti-virus but I actually put it off several weeks ago because it behaved weirdly (a lot of network activity for some reason and I had the impression that my networked ‘lagged’ when I ran it)

            As an external HD I’m using a 4TB-HD on Firewire (with Thunderbolt adapter). All catalogues and files are on that HD.

            I’ll try one more time to make a completely new LR-catalogue on my internal HD and then again will try to import the contents from the iphone.

            I’ll get back to you asap…

  • aeiou11235 says:

    okay, so: I’ve tried following steps…

    1) disconnected all USB-HDs and build a new catalogue file on the internal HD
    >> same results as before

    2) trashed the LR-preference files, disabled all plug-ins (by not only disabling them in the plug-in-manager but by manually pulling them out of the folders), restarted the mac in safe-mode, made another completely new cat and import-folder on desktop
    >> same results as before

    3) tried import with LR 4 >> import worked, but player only showed black screen (only sound)

    4) tried import with LR 3 >> import worked, but naturally no player, quicktime worked well though, no problem

    So: I’m at the end of my possibilities and ideas. I’ve already spent more than 3 afternoons with this problems, trying out anything I could find about video-problems in LR.

    If you have any idea what I could still try to do, I would appreciate a lot!


    One thing that is a bit strange: I can not find the video-purge folder in LR 5. When I press “purge video cache” then Lightroom is stalling. After that I made a video-cache-folder at the place where it should be User/Library/Caches/Adobe/Lightroom/Video (/Lightroom/Video was missing). I checked the folder-permissions: all okay. When I click “purge videocache” in LR5 it instantly crashes nevertheless.

    Any idea?

    Thanks again, aeiou

  • aeiou11235 says:

    Okay, so: restarted the computer in normal mode (with plug-ins). Video import in LR4 is working AND playback is also working in LR4!

    LR5: same as always. In my opinion its a problem with the video-cache. The question is: WHAT is wrong with the video cache?

    • dave says:

      Which version(s) of LR 5 have you installed? Did you happen to install a beta first? I’m curious if there is something wrong with the installer for the version you are using that is either expecting something to be there or didn’t create something properly that it should have?

      • aeiou11235 says:

        i’m in the photographer’s program of Adobe, so I always have the newest version installed. I don’t have another version of LR5 installed, but older ones.

        when taking care of the problem i also had the thought that maybe it could depend on the older versions of Lightroom that I also still have installed (all versions from LR2). Some of the plug-ins in LR5.3 use plug-ins from the folder “Lightroom 2 Plug-Ins”, which is a bit strange, because I never told LR 5.3 to do so.

        Would you recommend to pull all other versions from the HD to check? Could this be the culprit?

  • Cass says:

    Hi there,

    I had the same problem, no previews in import dialogue, long time stall after starting import, followed by error message saying problems importing video files. My LR version is 5.3, running on Intel i7, Windows 7 SP1 64-Bit, and I tried all the suggestions above. When I tried purging the cache, LR would just hang. I also noted that the video files I had problems with (MOV and AVI files) were associated with VLC media player. So, I did the following: –

    1. Rebooted machine
    2. Set default program for MOV to Quicktime
    3. Set default program for AVI to Windows Media Player, which was run first time
    4. Launched LR, initially clicked off ‘Limit video cache size’, clicked back on, hit purge cache
    5. Cache was purged within 5 seconds
    6. Attempted to import all video files that previously had not imported
    7. All previewed and were imported completely fine

    Now, was it due to the video file association with VLC rather than the other programs, was it due to rebooting that allowed me to finally purge the cache, or was it the fact the Windows Media player had not yet been run on this new computer installation, not sure. But it worked and maybe gives a few clues on what might solve it.

    Good luck to all.

  • Kevin J says:

    Cache was not my reason. You’ll need to check your firewall settings to let LR connect to “dynamiclinkmediaserver.exe”.

    See the link: