Video encoding troubleshooting

If you uploaded your video and it doesn't seem quite right in Wistia, this doc provides instructions you can try to get things back in working order.

Unable to Process

So you’ve successfully uploaded your video, and it’s queued for processing. But then the processing fails. That’s the pits!

Don’t panic, there are a few easy fixes.

Most of the time when a video fails to process, it means Wistia was not able to create the correct derivatives for smooth playback. This is often caused by an error in the initial exporting process.

First, we recommend exporting the file from your video editor again. If there’s any error in the file, this is the easiest place to scrub it out. Check out our exporting guide for a quick overview of our suggested settings. Then try uploading the video to Wistia again.

If you don’t have access to the original file export, we suggest running the file through HandBrake. This will often clear out any corruptions in the file, and get it ready for upload to Wistia. Check out our suggested HandBrake settings.

Still no dice? Time to call for backup.

Leave the file in the failed state (don’t delete it!), and send us a link to the video. We’ll get it cleaned up in no time. :)

No Video (Black Screen)

Is your video all bark and no bite - all audio, no video?

This is likely caused by a very low frame rate associated with your video. Usually webinars and screencasts suffer from this problem.

The good news is that there is a fix! And that’s bumping up that frame rate.

If you can do this from your video exporter, it’s easiest to make that change right in the original file. Bump up the frame rate to 24 fps, and then replace that video.

Otherwise, we’ve got the old standby - HandBrake.

You’ll want to run the file through HandBrake and increase the frames per second to 24 fps at a Constant frame rate.

Then you can replace that video!

A Note about Screencasts

There’s some magic behind-the-scenes on the Wistia side where we can detect screencasts and encode them differently. Our system will create a different set of derivatives for screencasts to help maintain visual quality. Those three derivatives are:

  • iPhone (mobile) asset - 640 px wide MP4 at 800 kbps
  • HD Flash asset at 1200 kbps (size is determined by the original file)
  • HD MP4 asset at 1200 kbps (size is determined by the original file)

The key thing to know with screencasts is that they’ll be encoded with screencast logic if the bitrate is lower than 1200 kbps. This way Wistia will deliver an HD asset in-line (usually 1080p), so your content is crisper and easier to watch. If you’d like your videos encoded with screencast logic, we recommend keeping your bitrate below 1200 kbps (this is total bitrate - including both audio and video).

If you don’t have control over this in your video editor, you can always run the file through HandBrake (it’s our best friend). Just make sure to set the bitrate to 1200 kbps.

HandBrake controls can be a bit finnicky (since it’s factoring in both audio and video bitrate), so if you’re still not seeing the correct assets, drop down the bitrate a touch lower. Usually the safest place is 1000 kbps, but you can always check out the final bitrate by inspecting the file.