How to Fix MP4 Files and After Effects Import Issues? | 4 Solutions

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Adobe After Effects is a video editing and motion graphics software widely used by professionals. However, some users encounter issues when attempting to import MP4 files due to compatibility constraints. Let’s explore the reasons behind these problems and find effective solutions.

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Looking to Import MP4 to After Effects? We all know that After Effects support MP4. However, many users have been facing issues when importing an MP4 file into After Effects. Why is this happening? And how to fix this issue? You could be facing importing issues due to the MP4 file codec.

After Effects prefers H.264 and MPEG4 codecs, while MP4 is a container format that can hold various audio and video codecs, so if you receive an error message or the video display is improper, you may have to install the codec used by the file. But then it’s not easy to find and install the codec.

Common Issues for Can’t Import MP4 to After Effects Error

Format compatibilitySome older or less commonly used video formats may not be compatible with the H.264 codec used to export MP4 files, requiring conversion to a different format.
Large file sizesMP4 files can be large, particularly with high-resolution images or video, necessitating size reduction for better manageability.
Long export timesExporting MP4 files can be time-consuming, especially for lengthy compositions or those with complex effects.
Video quality issuesInadequately optimized settings or low bitrates can result in low-quality videos with pixelation or visible compression artifacts.
Audio/video synchronization issuesIncorrectly synchronized audio and video tracks in MP4 files may be challenging or impossible to correct after export.

To avoid these issues, it's important to carefully review and adjust the format options, output settings, and codecs used when exporting MP4 files from After Effects. You may also need to optimize your media files and composition for export to ensure the final result is of the highest quality.

Interesting Read: Find out how to repair MOV file header.

4 Solutions to Fix After Effects MP4 Importing Issues

Solution 1: Update the Adobe After Effects and codecs

To mitigate compatibility issues, keeping your Adobe After Effects software up to date is crucial. Regular updates often include bug fixes and enhancements that address compatibility problems with various file formats, including MP4. Additionally, updating the video and audio codecs installed on your computer can also improve compatibility with After Effects.

Solution 2: Convert MP4 files to compatible formats

If you are unable to import an MP4 file into After Effects, one effective solution is to convert the file to a compatible format. Adobe Media Encoder, a built-in tool in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, allows you to effortlessly convert MP4 files to formats supported by After Effects. Alternatively, there are various third-party video conversion tools available online that can perform the conversion.

Solution 3: Import The Mp4 Files With The Proper Settings

When importing MP4 files into After Effects, it is crucial to ensure that the project settings and interpretation rules are appropriately configured.

  1. Adjusting project settings: Before importing the MP4 file, double-check that the project settings in After Effects match the specifications of the file. Confirm the frame rate, resolution, and pixel aspect ratio to prevent compatibility issues.
  1. Checking interpretation rules: Interpretation rules control how After Effects interprets the properties of a video file. If the interpretation rules are not configured correctly, it can cause problems when importing MP4 files. Ensure that the interpretation settings align with your project's desired frame rate and pixel aspect ratio.

Solution 4: Troubleshooting common issues

Sometimes, even with the correct settings and configurations, you may encounter issues importing MP4 files into After Effects. Here are a couple of troubleshooting steps you can take:

Clear the media cache

After Effects generates a media cache to improve performance and playback; however, a corrupted or outdated media cache can lead to import problems. Clearing the media cache within After Effects can help resolve this issue.

Disable third-party plugins

Third-party plugins can occasionally interfere with the import process in After Effects. Temporarily disabling non-essential plugins can help identify if they are causing the problem. If the MP4 import works after disabling the plugins, consider updating or replacing the problematic plugin.

Can After Effects Render MP4?

There is a way to get MP4 and After Effects to play well. You can convert the MP4 file to After Effects-supported MPEG2 encoded MPG file format. And then transfer the converted .mp4 video to After Effects for editing. You need third-party software for help. There are many tools available out there. Choose a reliable one to convert.

The procedure is similar to almost all tools:

  • You need to download and install the software.
  • Then load MP4 files to the program, and click on Add Video button to import MP4 files. Or you can directly drag and drop them into the program.
  • Next, you should choose the output format, i.e., MOV, MPEG2, or WMV.
  • The output videos will have the original quality of the MP4 video.
  • Finally, you need to hit the Convert button to begin the conversion process.

Wait for some time. That’s it; your file is now converted to be used in After Effects. Now the file can be imported into After Effects CC/CS6/CS5, etc., for editing.

However, if the above procedure was not helpful enough to fix trouble importing MP4 in After Effects, then there is a high chance that your MP4 files are corrupt. Here’s how you can learn how to repair a corrupt MP4 file on Mac.


Importing MP4 files into Adobe After Effects can be a source of frustration for many users. However, you can overcome this obstacle by understanding the compatibility issues, updating software and codecs, converting files, and configuring import settings correctly. Remember to stay updated with the latest software updates and keep your codecs compatible to ensure a smooth import process.

About the Author: Molly Owen

Molly is the Lead Technical Specialist with distinguished knowledge and understanding of Mac computers and operating systems. Being a veteran photographer and video recovery specialist, Molly’s expertise in video formats and file repair has helped restore a lot of videos and cherished memories of users. As a technical specialist, she also believes in learning and…