HEVC Windows issues are stupid and make no sense. You may or may not have heard of this new HEVC video codec that a lot of drones, phones and newer camera’s record their video in. It’s been a long time since I’ve needed to check if my hardware was good enough to playback a video codec. The last time this was an issue was when the DIVX codec surfaced in the early 2000s.
I’m an Apple user primarily but as you’ve probably seen on this site, I also use Linux and Windows on occasion. I have been filming a bunch of 4K underwater and drone footage over the last 2.5 years. All of the footage was recorded on a Sony X3000 (RIP), My Mavic Pro or my Sony RX100Va. All this footage was filmed with the H264 codec 4k 30fps. This plays back just fine on any of my computers or phones. Editing the footage is another story.
Editing H264 in Davinci Resolve
I use Davinci Resolve (DR) for my video editor because for HD footage it’s the best free editor on the market. To be able to use hardware acceleration to edit H264 requires a $300 purchase of Davinci Resolve Studio. It also works on my Mac, Windows and Linux machines. I bought DR Studio and have been happily editing my underwater and drone footage without incident.
I recently updated my iPhone to an 11 Pro and started my Youtube channel with videos from the phone. I’ve been editing everything on my iPhone using LumaFusion which is a great editor. I needed more functionality and decided to migrate my editing to my Windows Resolve machine.
My windows 10 machine is a maxed-out Dell XPS 9560. I can play my steam video games in 4k with decent framerates so it’s a good machine. This is also the machine I cut up my 30fps footage without any issues. It turns out getting iPhone 4k 60fps footage to even playback let alone edit on a windows 10 machine is a mission.
But what about proxy or optimised media files?
I could try and use optimised media files, but the entire point of my stupidly powered machine is to be able to edit the raw files without filling my drive with uncompressed optimised media. Which after a couple of tests, didn’t work either.
HEVC Windows 10 Issues start
I copied a bunch of video from my iPhone onto my windows machine. Straight away I tried to playback using the default Windows media player. To my surprise I started getting audio sync issues. I opened DR to see if I could use hardware acceleration to playback the files. Same issue there. I spent hours searching the internet to try and figure out what the problem was. I looked through hundreds of posts on Reddit and the Blackmagic forums to see if there was any special settings/configuration that I was missing. Nothing suggested worked.
Fix HEVC playback in windows
The first thing that I figured out was that to get things to even playback in Windows 10 you need a codec. When you first open an HEVC file you’ll be prompted to buy a codec from the Microsoft store for $0.99. Seriously Microsoft you couldn’t include a freaking codec for a dollar? What the hell? I’m not about to spend $1 on something and if you find the right link, you can install the exact same thing for free, from the Microsoft store. Those cheeky bastards!
Once you have downloaded that codec and your computer has high enough specifications it’ll playback the video in some media players. The default Microsoft media player does not do hardware acceleration so it’s completely useless for HEVC playback.
Download and install Media Player Classic as it supports HEVC playback without any audio sync issues on any relatively modern computer. Set this as your default player and your playback issues will be solved.
HEVC Windows 10 issues continue
Now that I had playback working I thought great, now I can get to work with editing. Wrong! Turns out that even though my computer has everything required to easily playback and allegedly edit HEVC video files, I have been unable to fix this issue.
If you’ve had any luck getting HECV editing to work with Windows and Davinci Resolve please let me know below. If I figure it out, I’ll update this post with the magic voodoo dance I needed to do.