I've just found what appears to be a bug in FrameLink: it skips random DPX files when creating a QuickTime .mov file which leaves random black frames in the resultant movie.
Here's what happened: I have a folder of 14,400 DPX files that need to be converted back to a QT .mov file. I launched FrameLink, and drug the 14,400 files onto the virtual volume FrameLink created. All seemed to go fine. Slowly, but fine. (I can't figure out why this file copy takes so darn long.)
I played the .mov file FrameLink created, but saw random black frames. I checked the DPX files that match the black frame in QT and the DPX are fine. I then noticed that black frames were caused by DPX files that simply weren't copied. FrameLink just randomly skipped some DPX files: 18 out of 14,400 frames were missing. The missing frames show up as black.
I went through one folder copying the missing frames manually, but I've got too many folders and too little time to try and find each one. I'm trying some folder compare programs to automate finding the missing files as a temp solution.
I've found a file compare utility that more than does the job of comparing my source folder (the one with the DPX files) and the virtual volume (that will become the QT file) into which FrameLink failed to copy all the files. It's DeltaWalker by Deltopia at deltopia.com. It takes about 14 minutes to compare my 14,400 file folders, but it's a lot easier (and less error prone) than me searching through the QT movie looking for black frames.
Hope this helps as an interim fix.
- Frank Laughlin
After a lot of experimentation, I've found the problem of missing frames can be solved by using a program instead of the Finder to copy the files to the FrameLink virtual volume. The previously mentioned program, DeltaWalker, does this but certainly doesn't speed up the process. How slow is it? Copying 111GB from a raid to a new QT file on a raid takes just under an hour.
(I think the speed problem is because each DPX frame may be copied twice -- once to the scratch disc on your startup drive, which is certainly not the fastest drive on anyones system, and again to the QT file that is being created. This double write, if that's what's happening, across two drives, one of which is s-l-o-w, is why these file copies take so incredibly long.)
But it works. All the DPX files get copied with no missing frames... BUT, unfortunately, FrameLink seems to create QT files with one black frame at the beginning.
When I open the QT file FrameLink creates from 14,400 DPX frames, the new QT file is 14,401 frames long, and the first frame is black. I'm working on a 1:54:00 feature film, and have broken the project down into 12 segments (because FrameLink can only make a QT file as big as the free space on your startup), and need to concatenate them together for the final product... which means I need to trim the first frame from each QT FrameLink creates or I will have 11 black frames added to the film.
I use the QT player to do this as follows: Open the file in QT player, move the playhead with the arrow keys to the second frame, press "i" to set the IN mark, go to the last frame and press "o" to set the OUT, then click on "TRIM TO SELECTION" under the Edit Menu. Save your file.
The very good news: The end product of all of this is perfect QT file. There are just a number of hurdles and detours along the way. :-)
- Frank Laughlin