[FFmpeg-devel] FFMPEG fails to convert .mov - "Cannot allocate temp picture"

fcassia fcassia
Wed Dec 24 14:58:46 CET 2008

On Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 9:59 AM, Baptiste Coudurier
<baptiste.coudurier at gmail.com> wrote:
> fcassia wrote:
>> On Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 8:15 AM, Baptiste Coudurier
>> <baptiste.coudurier at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> fcassia wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 7:50 AM, Baptiste Coudurier
>>>> <baptiste.coudurier at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> Hi,
>>>>> fcassia wrote:
>>>>>> On Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 4:53 PM, fcassia <fcassia at gmail.com>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Here is the problem file (it was a .mp4 recorded with the
>>>>>>> Neuros OSD Linux based PVR, and then opened and edited with
>>>>>>>  Quicktime Pro for Windows version 7.5.5, then saves as
>>>>>>> .mov).
>>>>>>> http://the13thfloor.org/4friends/tigani-mide2.mov
>>>>>>> No matter what I try or the target format I choose, it
>>>>>>> always fails with the same error:
>>>>>>> [...]
>>>>>>> [mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2 @ 0x177a110]stream 0, error
>>>>>>> opening file //tigani-mide. mov: Invalid argument
>>>>> Your file is a reference file pointing to external file,
>>>>> however an error occurs when opening external file. You should
>>>>> check the path and access to '//tigani-mide.mov'.
>>>> Thanks for the pointer!. I knew something was odd, just wasn't
>>>> sure what. This is due to Qucktime PRO offering two choices when
>>>> saving files... either a "flattened" (wtf?) file (an individual
>>>> video) or a "pointer" (a file references a fragment of another).
>>>> The question is... perhaps this is an opportunity to add a
>>>> warning or error message to FFMPEG when it encounters such .MOV
>>>> files?
>>> Well, an error message is already printed if the file reference
>>> cannot be opened, the one I quoted.
>> Yes, but it is mixed in the middle of a stream of errors.
> Yes, some other problems are also present, all error messages are
> printed when encoutered.
>> I think it should just stop there and inform the user in more
>> human-friendly terms that the file the user is attempting to convert
>> has missing/unreadable parts.
> Absolutely not, video track could not work while audio track could, so
> there is no reason to stop there, and even when both tracks could not be
> opened, .mov could contain metadata interesting for the user, and
> furthermore, technically, the .mov file is valid and can be opened.
> About the message, I think it is quite clear:
> "[mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2 @ 0x177a110]stream 0, error opening file
> //tigani-mide.mov: Invalid argument"
> I believe you should just pay more attention to what is written.

I disagree, strongly. Most users are not aware of this issue (h*ck, I
wasn't even) of MOV files referencing others. So when I tell FFMPEG to
convert a given .MOV file, it didn't cross my mind that it could
reference another one. The concept of cross-referenced mov files is
foreign to the world of Windows (and I suspect, Linux users).

My suggestion would be to detect and output a warning at the start of
the conversion process:

"Warning: file blahblah.mov references file somethingelse.mov, which
cannot be opened".

That is much more human readable than "warning cannot open"... which,
when I first saw it, I thought was a software bug, and made me switch
back and forth between different FFMPEG builds... thinking I had hit a
broken build.


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