Quicktime error: invalid sample description

Discussion of the HandBrake command line interface (CLI)
Forum rules
An Activity Log is required for support requests. Please read How-to get an activity log? for details on how and why this should be provided.
Post Reply
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:24 am

Quicktime error: invalid sample description

Post by bonbazar »


I have encoded different personal DVD's with the CLI interface of handbrake in order to embed the 3 or more languages of the video. When I open the mp4 file in quicktime I've got the following error message: "An invalid sample description was found in the movie". But I can still open the movie with VLC without any problem. Do you know what's going on?

I use the latest version of the CLI and my command looks like this:

Code: Select all

/Applications/Handbrake/HandBrakeCLI -v -i /Volumes/External/DVDs/MANHATTAN/VIDEO_TS --title 1 -o /Volumes/External/Movies/Manhattan.mp4 -f mp4 -e x264 -b 1500 -2 -E ac3 -B 160 -a 1 -a 2 -a 3 -a 4 -a 5 -R 48 -p
Thanks for your help.

Veteran User
Posts: 2888
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:24 pm

Post by rhester »

This may be a QuickTime issue (http://linuxgeekboy.wordpress.com/2007/ ... eak-again/).

Try the author's suggestion and rename the extension from .mp4 to .3gp and see if it helps.

Veteran User
Posts: 4805
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:38 am

Post by jbrjake »

Try setting the audio tracks correctly.

-a 1,2,3,4,5
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:24 am

Post by bonbazar »

Thanks Rodney for the suggestion. I have renamed my mp4 files in .3gp file but without success. This seems to be a known quicktime issue (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jsp ... 0&#5150160) without a clear fix. All the best, E.
Regular User
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:17 am

Post by saintdev »

jbrjake wrote:Try setting the audio tracks correctly.

-a 1,2,3,4,5
Wow, you of all people missed it??

Code: Select all

-f mp4 -e x264 -b 1500 -2 -E ac3
AC3 is not a valid audio codec for mp4 files!
I'm surprised VLC plays the file. You have to use AAC audio with mp4 file format. And as jbrjake said in order to have all the audio tracks you need to specify one -a with them separated by non-numeric digits.
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:09 am

Had the same issue...

Post by louden »

Where I tried to encode with ac3 - that caused quicktime to fail noting the movie could not be opened...

Switching to FAAC worked!
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:04 pm

Re: Quicktime error: invalid sample description

Post by twoodinto »

I started to have this problem with 0.9.2 after encoding AAC+AC3 audio. Working too late at night I did not realize that handbrake had not reset the extension from mp4 to m4v. Changing this after the fact works and the files that would only play in VLC now work in quicktime player.
Post Reply