Exporting MOV files results in a black screen

I'm trying to export my video as a MOV file but all I get is a black screen.  These are files that export as mp4 videos and I'm using the MOV presets but I can't get them to work.  I've tried a number of different videos but none has been successful.   What am I doing wrong.  I'm using Hitfilm express on a Window PC running  64 bit Win 10



  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Posts: 4,136 Enthusiast

    MOV is just a generic file container. It can hold any number of video formats. So just saying "MOV" is non specific.

    On Windows, Hitfilm only supports export of the Cineform video codec/format in MOV file containers. This is stated as such in the export presets. If your PC does not have a Cineform decoder installed then video playback will not work with the windows video players. The video player understands the MOV container, it understands the audio format but does not understand the video format. So you get black screen. Some self contained video players, like VLC, will be able to play such a file since they internally support Cineform. Maybe not the RGBA Cineform format.

  •  Norman,  thanks for the reply.  The trouble is that I'm using the latest version of VLC and that's my default video player and it still shows a black screen.    How can I check that my version of VLC has the codecs I need or export my video with a codec that is more universally accepted or failing that a converter that can take the mp4 files and convert them to MOVs?

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Posts: 4,136 Enthusiast

    I just checked VLC 3.0.8 and it works fine with Cineform video in a MOV or AVI container. As I hinted at in my first post, "Maybe not the RGBA Cineform format.", Cineform RGB does not play in VLC. My guess is that is what you exported from Hitfilm.

    "failing that a converter that can take the mp4 files and convert them to MOVs?"

    What is this attraction you have to "MOV"?

    As previously stated "MOV" can be a lot of things. Just saying MOV is ambiguous. Common video in MOV containers are AVC, HEVC, Prores, Cineform, DNxHD/HR. So if you want a "MOV", then I ask specifically what in a MOV file are you looking for.


    If you want to export a playback video use the "MP4" presets in Hitfilm. Those presets output AVC/H.264 video in an MP4 container. AVC video is the universal video playback format used in this world. It is ambiguous of FxHome to state it as simply "MP4" but I can understand their reasons for doing so. 

    If you want to export an intermediate format for other uses then use the Cineform output (422 or RGB). Other uses can be using the file as input to edit again or use with an external encoder. Just be aware that video player playback of intermediate formats might be sketchy. Especially RGB(A) variants.

  •  The reason I'm wanting MOV is that I've been selling stock photography for many years and I've started now looking at stock video footage.  One of the agencies I use only accepts MOV files so all the mp4 files that I've used with the other agencies ,they won't accept.  Rather than convert the mp4 to MOV I thought I would go back to the original Hit Film files and export them as MOVs to ensure the quality is the highest it can be.  

    I really appreciate the time you've taken.  I'm new to the whole video scene and its a steep learning curve.  

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,579 Ambassador

    Try renaming one of your mp4 files to MOV and see if it still plays. Bet it will. 

    As Norman notes MOV is a container that can hold mp4 and renaming an MOV to Mp4 used to be a trick to get mp4 in MOV to play in Hitfilm without installing QuickTime. 

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Posts: 4,136 Enthusiast

    "One of the agencies I use only accepts MOV files"

    I keep repeating myself, but this is ambiguous. One can easily create a MOV file that no agency can handle. By using some rare codec. So if they literally are saying give us "MOV" with no other details/specifics, then they kinda don't know what they are talking about. If they literally don't care about the video type then a MOV file they accept and then sell/distribute could not be usable by many users if the video is in a rare format. 

    If you and they are okay with AVC video in MOV then I would just rename the MP4 output of Hitfilm to a MOV file extension from MP4. The MP4 file container is based on the Quicktime (MOV) container. The two containers are identical in all the important ways.

    If you want to be literally and uber technically correct with your file you can remux the Hitfilm AVC MP4 output into a MOV file with a utility like ffmpeg or VirtualDub or many others. It does not take a re-encode to move the AVC video and AAC audio from an MP4 file to a MOV file. Really the only diff is going to be a handful of bytes in the main file header.

    If you want the highest quality, and are okay with BigA files, then you can just give them the Cineform MOV files. It's MOV and you say that is all they specify as a requirement. Cineform can certainly be higher quality than AVC but some clients may not be able to use it.

    You may want to choose the 422 Cineform format for better compatibility with the widest user base. If your output needs the alpha channel then Cineform RGB is the only way to go.

    If you want a video player that plays Cineform RGB, you will have to find one. The Windows media player with the Cineform codec decoder installed should suffice. Or just use Hitfilm to playback the file.

    If you want Prores in a MOV file, 422 or 444(4) then you will have to use an external encoder. Output Cineform RGB from Hitfilm and then use an external encoder to transcode the Hitfilm output to Prores. Same story if you want DNxHD, DNxHR in a MOV file.

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