Frame-drops and beach balls on Final Cut

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Muldert, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Muldert macrumors member

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    #1
    I'm using a 2012 low-end iMac (base model, normal HDD) to edit wedding videos. It just keeps beach balling on me. Editing is doable, but plain slow and I was wondering if this is normal for a 1100$ computer :)

    The video files used are all from Nikon D5100's (h.264 mov codec). EVEN when I transcode them to proxies it's still not snappy. Some clips have filters, most don't.

    There is only a single library open, with two events in it; both containing roughly 400 10 sec clips each.

    Do I really need to fork out more money to install an SSD?


    BTW I'm using FCPX 10.0.3
     
  2. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #2
    If it's constantly beach balling, it could be the sign of a failing HD or lack of RAM, though it can be the symptom of many issues.

    My MBP edits fine with a standard hard drive, so that shouldn't be a bottleneck. I even know a few editors who edit TV programmes and they use standard HDs - they're a bit slower, but should be fine for editing.

    How much free space do you have? How much RAM do you have? Not enough RAM can also cause beach balls. In Activity Monitor, is a lot of the memory being compressed?

    You could also try updating FCP X to the latest version in the Mac App Store (10.1.2).
     
  3. simsaladimbamba

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    #3
    I guess the footage is on the internal HDD the OS and applications also run from?

    If so, are you able to store the editing footage on an external USB 3.0 HDD?
     
  4. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #4
    I'd recommend against a USB 3 drive for editing, especially with 400 clips as the OP has. It has a good rate of burst data transfer, but not of continuous data transfer, which editing usually requires.

    Thunderbolt would obviously be optimal, though FireWire 800 also does a great job in my experience.
     
  5. Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Thanks for all the replies guys!

    1. Sorry, I seem to have the latest FCPX already, I was mistaken! Currently sporting 10.1 (can't seem to see .1 or .2...)
    2. I do have the ability to store externally, and do that sometimes. No joy!
    3. I'm afraid I don't have thunderbolt or firewire drives lying around..
    4. RAM does not appear full, no page-ins (page-outs? What do you call them...)
    5. Hardrive is 750/1000gb
     
  6. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #6
    If the RAM isn't paging out and the HD isn't full, the HD could be failing, but I wouldn't diagnose it as that just yet.

    Could you create a new user account and see if it still is really slow? May be something specific to your account - I know a lot of problems I've had in the past could be isolated to just my account!
    Also, what CPU do you have?
     
  7. simsaladimbamba

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    #7
    For small projects, like a 190 minute something, with only three cameras and maybe 10 clips, it worked quite okay for continuous playback via internal and USB 3 HDDs.
    The USB 3 enclosures I have offer at least 100 MB/s of continuous data transfer rates, even for several hours.

    But then again, I also prefer FireWire and thunderbolt, which is not yet in iOS' dictionary.

    Basterds
     
  8. Muldert, Jul 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014

    Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Tried that, still the same. It goes smoothly for the first 1 minutes (10 clips in total) but projects longer than that/more clips become problematic.

    I have the 2.7Ghz i5.

    How can I be certain it's a failing drive?

    EDIT: My warranty expired a week ago.. :'( Would I still be eligible for a free repair? Not sure how Apple is about those things..
     
  9. cambookpro, Jul 15, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014

    cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #9
    If it's still acting slowly in a new user without anything else open, then it's almost certainly the hardware, unless you've got something wrong with the OS or application installation.

    Go into Disk Utility and select 'Verify Disk' on Macintosh HD. If a red message appears, restart while holding Cmd-R and repair the disk from the recovery partition. That can write out corrupted blocks, which often contribute to slowdown. That doesn't necessarily indicate HD failure, but if you repeatedly get corrupted blocks, that can be a sign that the HD's on its way out.

    Try that and see if it's any better! :)

    EDIT: Based on it working for the first minute, then slowing down, it may be the RAM. Open Activity Monitor and see how much 'Memory Pressure' there is during editing.
     
  10. Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    The memory pressure seems to be low, it occupies rougly 20% of the bar and stays green. However, RAM is 7.99GB used out of 8, Swap Bytes is still at 0 though. Anything I can do about this without opening up my iMac? :)
     
  11. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #11
    Hmm, I'm not doing anything particularly intensive on my computer at the moment, and mine is at 7.98GB used out of 8, memory pressure at about 50% and 31MB swap used. If anything, that seems worse than yours, but mine functions fine. The way Mavericks handles RAM usage, I don't think it matters if lots of memory is used, only if memory pressure is very high.

    Unfortunately, even if you opened up your iMac there isn't much you can do - the 21.5" models from 2012 all have non-user replaceable RAM :(

    I'm not really sure what's wrong - it could be the software I suppose, or possibly the HDD, but if it seems OK doing other tasks it probably isn't that. Did you verify Macintosh HD in Disk Utility? Also, do you have any other editing software you could just try? It shouldn't matter, but maybe your FCPX installation is a bit unstable!
     
  12. Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    Since my warranty passed anyway; I was reading this a couple of months ago, check step #18 https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2544+Teardown/11936

    Might as well throw an SSD in there, maybe a cpu bump too? :) I better start saving...

    Disk Verify is running as we speak!

    EDIT: Everything appears to be OK.. And I don't really have other editing software. I DO notice however that the unresponsiveness, lagging, happens during Aperture and sometimes Photoshop too (especially Aperture).
     
  13. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #13
    For all intents and purposes, I call that non-user replaceable! Maybe I'd just be too worried to unglue the screen... :p

    If Disk Verify is OK, that usually means the HDD is OK. If it slows down whilst using other programs, it could be just that the HDD is slow. If you're really confident, you could try replacing it with an SSD - they've come down quite remarkably in price. You can get 512GB SSDs now in the UK for £130 (about $220), and that's with 20% tax.

    Otherwise, I'm not really sure what else you could do. Maybe reinstalling OS X would help? It's a relatively painless procedure. You could always download the 30 day trial of Premiere from Adobe and try that, too.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help!
     
  14. Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    I figured I might test running a copy of my OSX installation from an external, USB3 3.5" HDD. It's a 7200rpm disk so it's twice as fast as the one in the iMac anyway. If that still doesn't work, I'll try a fresh OSX install on the HDD. If THAT doesn't work, it's gotta be the RAM, right?
     
  15. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #15
    Yeah, that sounds like a good plan.

    My Mac is a 2.2GHz Quad Sandy Bridge i7, AMD Radeon 6750M with 8GB RAM and a 1TB hybrid drive - not hugely different specs wise, and mine runs FCPX fine, so I presume it's something to do with your software or hardware.

    Definitely try reinstalling OS X though - it may be something that gets cleared up during a reinstall.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Muldert, Jul 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014

    Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    What's the kind of footage you have? I mean codec-wise.

    I'm always editing 24fps H.264 codec in a Quicktime wrapper (coming from a Nikon D5100 DSLR). Two identical camera's with identical settings for wedding-movies. Combined it'll be up to roughly 50GB of footage per event, max 3 events per library.

    (Currently installed OSX on external HDD, installed FCPX, now copying the footage and I'll start working on this clean install tomorrow all day, will report back :) ) (Thanks for all your help, learned a lot)

    Update: When I boot from my external drive, and use Blackmagic Disk Test to test the speed of the internal HDD, it will max out at about 23 MBps. That can't be good..
     
  17. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #17
    Usually it's H.264 or Apple Prores 422. My media can reach 100s of GB and it still functions OK, though I must confess that I usually use FCP 7 rather than X - I have dabbled in X though.

    Good luck with the installation/running it off the external drive - I hope you get your problems sorted!
     
  18. Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
    Running off the external drive has been a blast so far. The 7200rpm vs 5200 really makes a difference. So I decided to take the plunge and open up my iMac to install a Samsung SSD. I wanted to upgrade the RAM as well but can't financially - and as you said the RAM pressure seems fine. Just hope I won't be needing more RAM in the near future because I'll have to but adhesive tape every time I open up this bad boy.
     
  19. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #19
    Well that's good - SSDs are much faster than even a 7200rpm drive, and more reliable. Let us know how it all goes once the SSD's in place!
     
  20. Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    WOW. Just wow! Installed it yesterday - can recommend it to everybody.

    Tools:
    Re-sealing kit from iFixit (buy the one with the iMac-opening tool, you'll need it)
    New SSD
    Screwdriver with correct bits

    Using the iFixit-kit opening the iMac is a breeze. I was SO scared to break the display but once removed, it feels sturdy. The HDD is on top and is easiest to remove and replace! Open iMac, remove 4 screws, remove HDD, insert SSD, repeat in reverse order. Peanuts!

    I just went from 42 MBps to more than ten times that: 543 MBps average with max 590MBps.

    To conclude: I went editing for a couple of hours yesterday. No problems whatsoever. Dual-angle multi cams with effects and color corrects runs fluid with original media.



    Thanks for your help! You helped me pinpoint the problem, the HDD. Possibly a combination of slow HDD + messy OS installation.
     
  21. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

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    #21

    I'm glad you have it all working! SSDs are amazingly quick, though I'm still using a hybrid drive as 1TB SSDs are still fairly pricy in my MacBook Pro.

    With an SSD, it should last a good 5 years or so (unless you get the 'upgrade itch' :p ). Our family's 2010 iMac has been upgraded to 12GB RAM and a small SSD and it's better than new. Should last a good three or four more years as it's only really used for web browsing, word processing and iMovie.
     
  22. Muldert, Jul 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

    Muldert thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    Don't we all get the upgrade itch? ;-)

    After a couple days of editing; there is good and bad news.

    Overall lagginess is gone, editing is much faster than before.

    Every hour or so, it starts to become unresponsive needing a force quit in some cases. If I don't quit (whether a forced one or a normal one) it just isnt so snappy as when after I quit.

    The fact it is silky smooth after quiting makes me think its a RAM usage bug.


    More good news: quitting and starting FCPX is a matter of second.

    EDIT: I'll just keep bitching until there is more sound advice ;-) FCPX now crashes every time I change from Proxy to Original/Optimized Media or vice versa. It just keeps getting better :)
     
  23. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #23
    There was definitely something wrong with your internal HDD, 23 MB/sec on BlackMagic is abnormally slow. I'm glad the SSD upgrade went well.

    I do lots of multi-camera editing on FCP 10.1.2 on a maxed out 2013 iMac, and rarely have any problems with it crashing. I do a little editing on an 8GB MacBook Air 13, and even it does OK.

    Are you using any 3rd party plugins or filters which could be related? If so could you try editing an event without those for 1 hr or so, and see if the problem goes away?

    Also I have heard doing a Mac OS X Safe Boot, rebuilding disk permissions and/or trashing the FCP X preferences files will fix lots of problems. You'll have to look up the procedures for that and decide if it's worth a try.
     

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