Dropped frames in FCP Playback

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by treehorn, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #1
    I posted this already on Apple Discussions, but just in case there's no overlap...(plus I can distill the few answers I got into it)

    For some strange reason, during the last few weeks we've been having a lot of problems exporting projects by playing them via canvas or through 'print to video.' The projects range in size from 8 minutes to 30 minutes. They will play fine on one pass, but then another one will have a stutter. The stutter doesn't occur in the same place each time.

    Doubt that the problem lies in the connections outside of the computer (it's going via firewire to a Sony DVCam Digital Videocassette recorder DSR-45, then to a mixing board and to DVD recorder or Beta deck), since the stutter appears on the computer screen (it sometimes is a few frames of black or gray or even a red 'not rendered/media not connected' type screen).

    The drive being used is internal (one of two 400GB hard drives, each of which has about 100GB free). It doesn't matter if the project files are on the boot drive or the other internal drive (used only for video storage).

    The material is all shot on the same Sony DVCAMs. It's listed as DV/DVCPRO-NTSC 29.97FPS. Only difference I see in sequence as compared to master clips in terms of browser settings is in audio format (master listed as 16-integer as aud format versus 32-bit floating point in sequence)

    I've Disc Warriored and Disc Utilitied the computer.

    It's a Dual 2.6 GHz PowerPC G5 with 4.5 GB of RAM running 10.4.11 and the latest upgrades of Final Cut Studio.

    Can't think of anything that has changed recently (only thing is updating the FCS2 files...which did happen right around the time when the problems started, come to think about it)

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. The two I received at Apple Discussion seem very...last ditch draconian. One was that I needed to use an external drive for all video work instead of the internal secondary one (possibly a problem with the model of computer we are using). The other was that the newest version of Quicktime could be causing the problems and that I would have to wipe the system and reinstall everything.

    Thanks for help!
     
  2. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #2
    I ran into this problem one time (on final cut express). Do you have any nested clips? You may need to open them up and re-render them if you do. I had the problem where the showed up as rendered, and indeed would even export as if it was rendered, but when you went to view, there were problems at those points on the clip. Sure enopugh, when I unnested the clips, there were little 2 and 4 second sections of the nested files that needed to be rerendered. It was the oddest thing.

    I can also recall an issue where I had to completely delete the render files in order to force a re-render ( on a 1:45 project! UGH )

    I'm sure there's a more elegant way, but it worked for me. Good luck!
     
  3. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #3
    No, there are no nested clips. It's happening even on no-render-necessary exported-to-full-res-Quicktime clips, which is what is making me really scratch my head (when I'm not slamming it into the desk in frustration)

    Sigh..might just have to do a full-fledged re-install of everything to see if that clears things up
     
  4. lighthouse_man macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #4
    While anything regarding a solution would fall into speculation and I'll go through a couple of ideas in a bit, I can suggest to you a work around. Whenever I had this problem and as huntercr did suggest, to be sure there are no hickups in the playback, I would export the sequence to disk, import that into a new project and print that to tape. I see you've tried that, try exporting to different drives and see if the case gets better.

    As for a solution, one possible problem could be the lack of space on the disk on which the system itself is residing. Try to free as much as you can, 20 percent would be ideal.

    Change your render option on your timeline to Safe RT from Unlimited RT if so is the case, and render everything again.
    Try that and see.
    Good luck.
     
  5. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #5
    Did all that. As I mentioned, space available is roughly 100GB on each 400GB drive (so 25% free), so that's not the problem. I've played with render from Safe to Unlimited and still had problems. And the problem continued when it was exported, then re-imported (and thus needed no rendering)

    Looks like I might just have to bite the bullet, have boss buy a large hard drive, transfer everything from the main drive so I can wipe it and re-install system.

    Now I wonder if Leopard is causing any problems w/FCP2 (especially on a non-intel machine) or if I should just keep it with Tiger...

    Thanks for any and all suggestions...as you said it's all speculation and I'm just seeing if someone speculates something I haven't tried or thought of (given the hundreds of tinkerable options in FCP...:)
     
  6. lighthouse_man macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #6
    If the quicktime itself came out fine on disk, consider these two other thoughts.
    Do you have anything else running while you're printing out to tape? Check your Activity Monitor to see just in case.
    Did you try to change the firewire cable? Or to export to a different deck or camera? It's worth a try.
     
  7. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #7
    I'll check Activity Monitor...didn't think of that (nothing else was running intentionally and computer was restarted to clear out any RAM issues).

    Didn't change cable, since I don't think it's an external problem (a bad cable wouldn't make it happen on the computer, would it?)
     
  8. HDproducer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #8
    Are you on Tiger or Leopard? I have not upgraded my main computer to Leopard yet, and I think most editors are waiting for 5.0.2. You mentioned the new FCP2 files... I had a lot of dropped frames issues when I upgraded to FCP2. I ended up reinstalling from the OS up. everything has been rock solid from that point. That can be a bit of a pain, but I like to keep the machine that is making me money happy!
     
  9. HDproducer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #9
    One other thing for you. I had a bad external drive go bad and it caused dropped frames even when the project was not on that drive. I could play back fine all day long, once I connected that drive- dropped frames. I don't know why but something did not jive. So it could be anything. I would try it without any peripherals connected.
     
  10. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #10
    The computer is running Tiger. And yeah, it seems that I need to start from scratch and re-install from scratch system-wise. And no peripherals are plugged in (although some responses indicate that running the projects from external drive instead of internal non-boot drive could help as well...so many options! :)

    Thanks for help!
     

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