Q: Why can't I Import some .avi and .mp4 video files into Vegas Pro or Vegas Movie Studio ?
Answer: Not all .avi and .mp4 videos are the same and some use Video Codecs that are not supported by Vegas Pro and Vegas Movie Studio software.
A .avi or .mp4 video file is actually a generic Video Container for many possible Video Codecs.
.avi and .mp4 are two of the most generic video file extensions (video containers) used for saving videos to and are definitely not all the same.
An easy way to understand this, is to imagine that an .avi or .mp4 video file is like a book. If the book (video container) is printed in English, then English is the language (video codec) you need to know and understand in order to read the book. Because English (English video codec) is a common language understood by a many people, a large amount of publishers (software manufacturers) use it frequently in every book/product they make.
However, if the book (video container) is written in an exotic language (less common video codec) that not many people speak/understand, then most people wont be able to read it. Which means you will have to translate (convert the video codec) into a language/codec you can understand before you can use it and import into your video editing program. I hope my little story made sense?!
There are a lot of different video codecs in use and Sony Vegas cannot decode them all. Software companies need to pay a licensing fee to the makers of some Video Codecs, if they are included as part of a program. If every video codec known was included in Sony Vegas and Movie Studio, it would add greatly to the cost of buying the program, so that is why some videos cannot be imported.
Examples of some formats/codecs that Sony Vegas and Movie Studio cannot read are DivX and Xvid. Flash Video which ends in .flv will also not work in Sony programs.
Convert your video files into a more common video codec that Sony Vegas and Movie Studio can read easily or record your original video files using a codec/format that Vegas already likes.
Another important thing to do before you start using Sony Vegas or Movie Studio for the first time, is to install Apple Quicktime for Windows. Vegas Pro and Movie Studio need Quicktime so that they can read and write particular sub-sets of video codecs.
Important Update for Windows 10/8.1/8.0 users and Installing Apple Quicktime
Apple has decided to spoil the fun of upgrading to Windows 10 and have added some code to the latest Quicktime version, which makes it impossible to install on a Windows 10 or Windows 8/8.1 computer. This may change in the future, but for now you will have to install an older version of Quicktime.
My suggestion is that you download and install version 7.7.6 from this page on the Apple website.
File Formats/Codecs that Vegas Pro Likes
Imports: AAC, AA3, AVI, BMP, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV, HEVC, ProRes, AAC, AIFF, FLAC, LPEC, MP3, OGG, PCA, W64, WAV, WMA, BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, WDP, WMPhoto, DDS, DPX, EX, AAF, Premiere/After Effects (*.prproj), Final Cut Pro 7/ DaVinci Resolve (*.xml), Final Cut Pro X (*.fcpxml), EDL Text File (*.txt), Broadcast Wave Format, DVD Camcorder Disc, Closed Captioning
Exports: AAC, AA3, AVI, BMP, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV, HEVC, ProRes, AAC, AIFF, FLAC, LPEC, MP3, OGG, PCA, W64, WAV, WMA, BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, WDP, WMPhoto, DDS, DPX, EXR, VEGAS Project Archive (*.veg), Pro Tools AAF File (*.aaf), Media Composer AAF File (*.aaf), Premiere/After Effects (*.prproj), Final Cut Pro 7/DaVinci Resolve (*.xml), Final Cut Pro X (*.fcpxml), EDL Text File (*.txt), XDCAM Disc
File Formats/Codecs that Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Likes
Imports: AAC, AA3, AVI, BMP, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, PCA, SND, W64, WAV, WMA, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WDP, CDA, SFA
Exports: AVC/AAC, AVI, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV, MOV, AVCHD, RM, MVC, XAVC S, AAC, AIFF, FLAC, LPEC, MP3, OGG, PCA, W64, WAV, WMA, BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, WDP, WMPhoto, DDS, DPX, EXR
USE ANY VIDEO CONVERTER "FREE EDITION" TO CONVERT YOUR VIDEOS
There are a large number of Video Conversion programs available today. Most of them do pretty much the same thing, however you may need to try a few different ones before finding the one that works best with your videos. The program I recommend is Any Video Converter free edition.
WARNING: Be very careful when you install any type of free software.
A lot of these companies will try to trick you into installing other programs as well, during the installation process. If you are not careful, you can end up with something really annoying that installs something into your web browser like a different search provider or the free trial for a "tune up program" you do not actually want. So go slowly when as you click through each window during the installation process! The extra programs will have a check box that asks if you want to install it or not. However they can trick you because they normally have the Accept box checked by default instead of the Decline box.
If you would like to learn more about how to convert videos into different formats/codecs, then please read this article here: How to Convert Video into Different Video Codecs and Formats