“Unsupported Format or Damaged File” in Adobe Premiere When Importing Fraps AVI

Alright, so here’s a quick problem I just encountered. To record video game footage for my Let’s Play videos, I typically use a nifty little program called Fraps. Natively, Fraps generates video files in the AVI format. Normally, working with these types of files is extremely simple. I drag them into Adobe Premiere, it processes briefly, and bam, they’re ready to be manipulated. But today, for some reason, I got a new dialog after that processing step. The dialog reads “File Import Failure”, and it contains the following error message:

A window titled "File Import Failure". It shows the path of the file (which I've blurred), and the Error Message underneath, which reads "unsupported format or damaged file".Pretty scary, especially when the recording in question is 58 minutes long, and you don’t quite feel like re-recording it.

Solution

I took to google, as I always do, and I found a particularly useful thread on the Adobe forums. There were a lot of ideas raised, but ultimately, I managed to solve my problem by performing two of them. Here’s what I did:

Step 1: I reinstalled Fraps. To do this, I went on their site, and accessed the “Members Areas” to download the full version (free version should work equally well). Reinstalling was suggested by Sarah Northway in the Adobe thread. Thanks, Sarah!

I had this problem and just had to install Fraps again – it automatically installed the codec I needed then Premiere could once again read the AVI files.

Step 2: I installed FFDShowI left the default install options, nothing modified. Installing FFDShow was suggested by “hiddenp18268515” in the same thread. Thanks!

If re-installing FRAPS doesn’t work for you, try installing FFDShow. This solved the problem on my machine – Premiere CC 2015 is once again reading Fraps AVI files.

Step 3: I shut down Adobe Premiere, and re-opened it. 

That’s it! After that, when I tried importing the same AVI, everything worked as expected. This was a way better solution than re-encoding the file into another format like MP4, which was another idea suggested in that thread. (Don’t get me wrong, it was a really clever idea that likely would have worked, I just wasn’t interested in waiting around for the file to re-encode, let alone adopting that step into my video editing workflow moving forward.)

Another thing: I’m not sure if both steps above needed to be performed. Had I done the shut down, re-open step immediately after Step 1, I might have discovered that it had already solved the problem. But, in any case, this is what worked for me, so I’m happy to share it in case it helps someone else.