MiniDV problem - Catastrophic Error messages

M Stewart

Active Member
I've done several Google searches but so far to no avail...

I've been using Ulead VideoStudio 11.5 Plus for several years with no serious problems, and going from MiniDV capture via FireWire through editing, and burning to DVD with menus etc. My camcorders have been Sony (TRV22, TRV60 & HC5) and more recently Canon HV30. I've confined myself to the SD content when uploading from either of the two HDV camcorders. Something has now clearly gone wrong as when I now try opening a project file in VideoStudio the clips on the timeline are solid black and white - no uploaded video content. If I try capturing from my camcorders, everything works normally i.e. I have control of the camcorder, until I finish the capture when VideoStudio tries to prepare the clips before putting them on the timeline, when the "Catastrophic Error" message appears. Some individual .avi files can be opened in VideoStudio but they seem few and far between, and I can't see if there's any pattern.

I first tried to "Repair" the VideoStudio installation using the tools in Win XP SP3. No improvement. I then removed VideoStudio (as completely as Win XP allows, I assume) and tried a new installation from my CDs. No improvement. (I went through re-booting my computer etc. just in case it was required).

Since I last used VideoStudio heavily, I've installed VLC Media Player so that I could view HD video files from my Eos 5D Mark II on my PC, and I've wondered whether a recent update to VLC may be the source of my problems. I'm wondering if there might be a codec conflict, but have no idea how likely this is, or how to resolve it!

VLC has no difficulty showing the .avi files which cause problems in VideoStudio, nor does VirtualDub which I've now installed, but capture via VirtualDub doesn't work.

Windows Movie Maker crashes when asked to import one of the .avi files, and crashes if asked to capture from a camcorder..

Just for the record: my .avi files are stored on the 2nd. internal HDD.

I'd be grateful for any pointers as to what I should check next. Many thanks.


Well-known Member
Have you tried capturing with WinDV. That seems to work in many cases.

It's a freebie, so maybe worth a try. I think I'm right in thinking Ulead Video studio 11.5 is pretty ancient, so it may not be that easy to 'keep going' with all the Windows XP service pack and security updates?

I managed to use a very old version of Premiere 6.5, and even managed to get it to edit HD!....

But as the windows XP updates continued, it became 'creakier and creakier' -even for editing DV -- and I gave up in the end. (Unsurprisingly, I couldn't even install it on Windows 7!)

I suppose you might have a codec conflict, but whether you'd ever find it.... A system restore might give some pointers, I suppose?

Problem is of course, with no vendor support for these old editions, you tend to be on your own, and fixing new 'quirks' does tend to be a bit 'suck it and see'.....:)

M Stewart

Active Member
Hi Rogs,

Many thanks for your help.

I've now downloaded WinDV and captured .avi files from my Canon HV30, and taken them in to VirtualDub successfully. All I need to do now is to understand how to use VirtualDub as an editing suite. First, I'll check whether these latest .avi files can be edited in VideoStudio as I'm familiar with its interface, titling and filtering features.
To my surprise, and relief, I've imported my trial files into VideoStudio without any problem so I should be able to edit easily, but when trying to import older .avi files, I get the same "Catastrophic Error" message as before. I'm glad I've kept all of my tapes... and indexed some of them!


Well-known Member
All I need to do now is to understand how to use VirtualDub as an editing suite.

Virtualdub is a very powerful program. It has some wonderful filters and plugins for a variety of functions.

It's also very good for cutting DV, and making direct stream copies--- you can even add fade ins and fade outs. (That is a bit trickier though!)

What it's not good at is transitions or titles. Which rather lets it down as an overall editor! ---but as it's free.....

These days, I've moved away from keeping edited files on disc, and use Virtualdub to do my final exports as H.264 for archiving on HDD, and playback using a hardware media player.
It's also ideal for doing the same thing with HD footage, without having to worry about buying any Blu-ray kit.

You may find that as long as you can import your DV footage into your Ulead editor, it may still be fine for editing.
You might also try and convert your DV files to another type (no quality loss) using this:
Canopus DV File Converter 1.02 - Downloads

It might help with compatibility? Again, free, so nothing lost in trying...

If you are still using DVDs for your final output format, i would strongly recommend you keep back ups. The long term reliability of recordable 'burnt' DVD (as against the 'pressed' commercial versions) is not proving to be very good in practice.

I'm finding that the the original claims of storing data for '30 years' on recordable DVD blanks is turning out to be more like '30 months' in some cases!:(....


Well-known Member
Also capture and edit in HDV,you are wasting footage from what is still a vg camcorder,any software should edit it giving you the option of making avchd hd discs on blank dvds/blu rays and storing the edited footage on an external drive,as rogs says tape is a good storage so i would not tape over valued footage. but keep the tapes as well.Since HD i have never made dvds only blu rays which are cheap now and can be taken and played any where on bd recorders which cost very little but the many dvds i have of SD material are fine and if stored properly and good discs used last a reasonable while but not as long as tape.
Last edited:

M Stewart

Active Member
I've now had time to do some more serious uploading via WinDv, and I note that it numbers the .avi files from the date code on the MiniDV tape thus facilitating easy indexing by date & time. VideoStudio ignored the date code but used local computer time instead which for me is less useful.

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