Right now I'm fortunate to be working on an alternate score for Ara's Tale, a short film by Martin Lubich. I have really enjoyed working with this wonderful film about a girl tasked with summoning the last and most dangerous of the world's dragons for safekeeping in a new era. It's an interesting story that I hope I can set well to new music.

However, I've been having trouble opening the film file with just the sound effects, which is going to be important for the sake of lining everything up just right. I also can't save the version of the film with sound effects in order to pull it into a program that can line it up with the music due to the fact that it is in an MP4 file format. Is there a way to open such files via a different program or convert them to a different format?

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Hello Martin-

I'm working with Grace on Ara's Tale, so I know some of her concerns.  I'm sure she will chime back into this discussion as well!   I could open your file at http://www.loramel.net/content/aras_tale/final/aras_tale_720p_sfxon... with no problems using Firefox in Windows 7, but Grace couldn't open it on her machine at all.  I think she's using Chrome. 

We usually save the film files and pull them into a program to combine the film and music and to synchronize the times.  I couldn't save this file the way I save files from YouTube or Vimeo.  I use Keepvid.com to save the files and then VirtualDub to combine film and music.  I've selected these particular packages because they work well most of the time and they are free.  In this student environment, I don't want to insist that students use expensive software! 

So essentially Grace can't open your file and I can't save it.  Any ideas? 

-- Julie Harris

Hi Martin-

Yes, at first I directly clicked on the link, which plays the movie nicely, but doesn't let me save from the link address.  I tried doing what you said, right clicking on the link and saving it.  It saved a file, but I can't open it to play.  Here's the message I get from Windows Media Player:

"Windows Media Player cannot play the file. The Player might not support the file type or might not support the codec that was used to compress the file."

I tried two other players and neither would play it.  Yikes! 

Grace, are you having any luck?   She hasn't been able to even see the file with the sound effects ... You'll love the music she's writing, though, even though she's working with a bit of a handicap, with no sound.

Thanks so much for helping us with these questions!

Thanks for all the great advice, Martin.  I haven't yet tried any of your suggestions, since I'm trying to understand all the possible outcomes of still another codec! 

I'm a newcomer to the world of codecs, so please forgive my ignorance.  I had problems opening another video a while back and after much research, I found a suggestion to install Xvid Codec.  Sure enough, when I installed that, I was able to work with the Lexi film from Nina Paley.  Since I have that codec installed, is it ok to install the h.264 codec as well?   I know that sometimes different installations are not compatible.  Is it ok to use several different codecs, depending on the file in question?

I'm eager to learn all about the software - I'm primarily a composer, and some of this high tech stuff is a bit intimidating!   But it's exciting, and opens up new worlds of music!

Thanks in advance for your expertise and willingness to help!

--Julie Harris


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