How to repair corrupt or damaged videos

An unavoidable technical glitch or an inadvertent mistake can damage your video file within seconds. These instances occur frequently and can be quite disastrous at times. This blog highlights quick workarounds you can use to repair corrupt or damaged videos.

How to repair corrupt or damaged videos
Apple iMac, Magic Keyboard, and Mouse on a Table / Credits: Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Susana is a wedding photographer. As often happens, one of her clients requested to view the raw video footage of his wedding. Unfortunately, she couldn’t deliver because the HD-quality two-gigabyte video wouldn’t play. Susana knew this was a potentially terrible scenario as the video had probably been corrupted. It was a disastrous incident for Susana as her professional reputation was at stake. But this could happen to anyone.

Video damage and corruption are not new. Signs of a corrupt video file include videos that won’t play, show errors or a black screen, freeze, are missing sound, and more. Irrespective of the camera you use—high-end DSLR, GoPro, drone, iPhone, Android phone, etc.— videos can become damaged. This can happen while shooting, during editing, or after a video is saved.

Videographers, video editors, and YouTubers are more likely to face the issue as they have to manage hundreds of videos day in and day out. So what causes corruption? And how can you fix corrupt or damaged videos? Keep reading for the answers.

Video damage recovery

Video Damage Recovery

What causes video corruption?

There could be many reasons your video file is corrupted. Sometimes an unavoidable technical glitch or an inadvertent mistake can damage your video file headers, sound sections, and frames. These are some common technical glitches and mistakes that cause video file corruption.

  • Virus or malware attacks
  • Damaged storage drive
  • Sudden power cut or system crash during file transfer
  • Memory card removal while the device is recording
  • Slow speed and lower class memory card
  • Overused or physically damaged memory card
  • Camera storage card used in multiple devices
Video editing in progress

Video editing in progress

How to fix non-corrupt unplayable videos

It’s important to note that not every unplayable video file is corrupt. It could be a video codec or media player compatibility issue. So before opting for a video repair software, try these workarounds when your videos show errors or aren’t playing on your system.

1. Play video in another media player

This method will work if the video isn’t playing because your media player doesn’t support its file format. So try to play the video on another device. You can use VLC Media Player, which supports almost all video file formats. Otherwise, you can use Windows Media Player, Winamp, KMPlayer, and QuickTime to open the videos.

Recovering a corrupt video file

Recovering a corrupt video file

2. Download the missing codecs

Most video errors are caused by the absence of supporting codecs on your system. For instance, Windows Media Player doesn’t include the codecs for FLAC, FLV, or Blu-ray Disc video files. You may receive video errors stating that a codec is required to play the file when you try to play videos with FLAC or FLV extensions in Windows Media Player.

To fix this codec-related issue, download a compatible codec. If you know the name of the codec, download it from the manufacturer’s website. If you aren’t sure which video codec is required, you can install a codec pack from a secure and trusted source.

Make sure you get codecs from the provider’s official website because getting them from an untrusted source can trigger serious video playback issues on your system. For example, Microsoft allows automatic download of codecs for Windows Media Player by following these steps.

  1. Open Windows Media Player 11.
  2. Go to Tools > Options > Player.
  3. Check Download codecs automatically.
  4. Click OK.

When a video file doesn’t play due to a codec issue, the player will prompt you to install the codec. All you have to do is click Install.

3. Convert the video file format

If you don’t want to install codecs on your system, convert the video file to another file format such as MP4, MOV, and AVI. You can download and install any secure desktop video file converter such as , Handbrake, or VLC Media Player. These tools convert video files into different formats.

Online video converters are also available. Just follow the instructions on the software website. Simply add a video file, select the output format, and click Convert. Be careful when you use online video converters by ensuring that they are secure and free from malware.

Video editing process

Video editing process

How to fix a damaged or corrupt video file

Professional video repair software is the only way to repair corrupt videos. The advanced algorithms of this software can repair corruption in the video file header, movement of videos, frames, sound, and video slider. An advanced video repair tool can fix unplayable, choppy, and flickering recordings as well as a black screen, audio lag, missing sound, and other issues.

Download a safe and advanced —such as Stellar Repair for Video—that can fix various types of file corruption issues. You can also use the built-in video repair feature of VLC Media Player to repair damaged videos. Before doing anything, though, make a copy of your original video. Use the copy as you attempt to fix the corruption. Here are two methods for recovering a corrupt video file.

1. Repair corrupt videos with VLC Media Player

The open-source VLC media player has a built-in video repair feature for corrupt AVI videos. But you can also repair files that aren’t in AVI format by simply renaming the file with the AVI extension. VLC media player will fix the corrupt index of the video file. When a video file’s index is damaged, the video will freeze, stutter, or play jerkily. Here’s how to fix your video with VLC player.

  1. Launch VLC player.
  2. Click Tools in the menu bar.
  3. From the drop-down menu, click Preferences > Input or Codecs.
  4. Across Damaged or incomplete AVI Files, select Always Fix.
  5. Click Save.

Now open your video file to check if the problem is resolved.

2. Repair corrupt or damaged videos with Stellar Repair for Video

If the repair feature in VLC media player didn’t fix damaged index issues in a video file, it indicates your video has another issue or is severely corrupt. In this case, download , a DIY software to fix severely damaged or corrupt videos. The software can repair MP4, MOV, M4V, AVI, ASF, WMV, MKV, FLV, DIVX, WEBM, and many other video file formats. It’s easy to use and completes the repair process in only three steps.

  1. Add files.
  2. Repair.
  3. Preview and Save. 

With Stellar Repair for Video, you can fix multiple files in one go. This software fixes problems like freezes, black screens, missing sound, out-of-sync audio, corruption, damage, errors, unplayable videos, and more. It supports high-quality 4K, HD, and UHD video repair.

Corrupted video recovery

Corrupted video recovery

Protect your videos from corruption

There are some steps you can take to protect your files from damage. Have multiple backup folders and drives for your videos. Consider cloud storage for alternate backup. Videographers, video editors, vloggers, and other professionals who have to manage and maintain a large number of videos can invest or upgrade in cloud video storage.

Another inexpensive way to store videos or movies is to use LTO tapes. Although it’s an old technology, it is a viable option for long-term storage of digital media. It is still used by many businesses for long-term data storage around the world.

Your videos are precious. Losing them can be a personal or professional loss. It’s best to get an efficient and secure video repair software when a mishap occurs. Make sure the video repair software supports your corrupt video file format and is capable of repairing any kind of video problem.

Madhurima Nag is the Head of Content at Gadget Flow. She side-hustles as a parenting and STEM influencer and loves to voice her opinion on product marketing, innovation and gadgets (of course!) in general.
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