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Old User meets updated OS and Resolve

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Dave Pickett
Old User meets updated OS and Resolve
on May 12, 2016 at 9:03:16 pm

Hi folks,
I'm facing a new conundrum due to nagging system instability which resulted in manually erasing the Mac hard drive, reinstalling the OS and downloading Resolve from the black magic website.

The nagging instability began circa late November 2015 which was several steps back on both Resolve updates as well as OS 10.11

Upon backing everything up to Time Machine on 2 different drives,erasing the hard drive, installing OS 10.11.4 and installing Resolve 12.4 from Black Magic website on a freshly erased Mac I soon faced a chasm. Apple Care and I decided not to simply migrate Resolve from the back up because we were unsure of where the instability was coming from. Better to have all fresh OS and apps to test right? Right!?

Late 2013
3 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5
64 GB 1866 MHz DDR3 ECC
AMD FirePro D700 6144 MB

The default pathways of the new 12.4 Resolve for local database, media storage, cache and gallery are all significantly different from the settings I have had since early 2014. So my user did not appear nor did any of my sessions or stills. Bummer. I could find my user on the back up on both the database manager as well as the local storage volume but nothing would load usable data. Bummer. Importing session from my old user was a dead end.

Today I manually copied my old user folder from the backup drive via Finder to the new, Resolve created Users folder. My old user now shows up upon Resolve launch and will load although the pathways are all wrong and it cannot load stills from the hidden .gallery folder in the local database. I cannot copy that hidden folder and move it because it is, well, hidden. And as one would assume, Resolve crashes rather quickly when trying to use this user. I am sure the old OS and Resolve user software being shoehorned into the new environment is ill advised.

Usually when one upgrades Resolve versions, their pathways remain intact. Due to my starting over with a fresh disk that did not occur. Further, most of the data and indeed the locations themselves were erased from the hard drive. I cannot simply re-enter a local storage volume or still/cache clip destination because A: they no longer exist and B: I have a month's worth of sessions in the new user with new pathways of their own.

What would be a better way to go about this in the future? Then again, let's hope this never happens again.

As this has played out over several months, you cannot assume when updates will drop. I suppose I should have saved, not time machine back up, but saved those folders with media and linked to them manually upon the new install. I did not do that. It seems as if the old user data of two years worth of sessions is backed up but not easily used.

I guess I was lulled into a false sense of security over the years that updates linked to everything from the old version. That is not so.

Any ideas would be appreciated and if nothing else, if you ever face having to wipe your drive, don't count on Time Machine to have everything where you need it.

Thanks,

Dave

Dave Pickett
Colorist
Spectrum Grading
http://www.davepickett.com
404-775-8519


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Marc Wielage
Re: Old User meets updated OS and Resolve
on May 13, 2016 at 8:58:03 am

That's a total drag! I'm sympathetic.

Did you back up the user database? In theory, you can do a Restore on that from within the Database Manager. I don't know if all the links are automatically reestablished for stills and the cache and all that, but at the worst, the sessions themselves should come back and you should be able to re-create all the Gallery stills and cache files and so on.

I have successfully migrated whole sessions via export/import quite a few times, which is helpful if I work on something at home, then have to transport it to a client facility. In my case, in the past I know the Gallery stills and cache files don't come along for the ride, but you can import all the Gallery stills if you export them all to an external drive (even a thumb drive) and import those back in to the session.

I just made the jump to 12.5 and -- so far -- all my old sessions have come back fine, cache files intact, Gallery, everything. I'm using an external SSD just for the Scratch disk (at the top of the Prefs -> Media Storage menu), and it's been OK. I did have some flakey behavior the other day where I lost all the links in a session, but my hope is that this was just a fluke. I was able to relink everything after a few harrowing minutes; it was sobering because nothing was ever moved, and no drive ever became unmounted. This was also under OSX 10.11.4, so I'm walking a series of tightropes here.

I made the decision to go to an external Scratch drive for the simple reason that I wanted to get it out from under the boot drive, and I decided that Thunderbolt and SSD would be so fast, almost any file type (short of 4K DPX/EXR) would work fine for the cache. If it fills up over time, I'll just copy it over to a bigger Scratch drive.


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Dave Pickett
Re: Old User meets updated OS and Resolve
on May 13, 2016 at 11:23:31 am

Thanks Marc. An external drive seems to make sense for a lot of reasons.

As far as backing up the user database I think the best answer is yes and no. My old user folder complete with configs and projects exists on my back up drive yet when I select that file pathway on the new user database it does not link. The pathway will mount but no old user appears.

I'm sure the BMD guys can chime in more knowingly but it seems that there is more going on "under the hood" similar to the hidden .gallery. When I used the Mac to copy and paste my old user into the new 12.5.2 user, it shows up and loads but at least the GUI is the old version 12.something. Checking "About Resolve" to see which something it is shows the current 12.5.2. So there is something missing when trying to recover a user in that way. Further, that user crashed almost immediately several times.

I would agree that backing up stills to a separate drive is good policy. The hidden .gallery doesn't make a lot of sense in this case.

One thing I would look out for with 10.11.5 that Apple has shared with me is an issue with audio extensions. I use non Apple audio software and Resolve linked to those in the local database - audio menu. Those extensions are causing a known error in 10.11 and may have contributed to my instability. I removed those yesterday as well. Apple audio files reside in the OS. Non apple audio files reside in the Library.

Dave Pickett
Colorist
Spectrum Grading
http://www.davepickett.com
404-775-8519


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Marc Wielage
Re: Old User meets updated OS and Resolve
on May 14, 2016 at 4:00:55 am

I've used Pro Tools and iZotope since changing over to OSX 10.11.4, and no issues yet -- sound plays.

I think in the case of Gallery stills, they warn you that there's all kinds of little stuff in the background that makes the Resolve session work. This is why it's not easy to just transplant entire directories, and they'd rather you actually backup the user database and then restore the user database. I think the idea is to make all this background stuff invisible and effortless to the user.

It took me years to realize that the key to Resolve is that people think it's a color-correction program, but it's really a database that does color correction. If the database structure becomes corrupted, it all starts crumbling very quickly. It's generally pretty solid, but god help you once that happens. This is a key for the backups.

When I'm really worried about backups or moving over sessions, I'll export sessions with all the stills intact. In one (memorable) situation, I had to restore one session purely with stills and then fix all the keyframes by hand, because the session got clobbered with a bad drive. (This was not BMD's fault -- we're all victims when the drive fails.) You figure the embedded exported stills are kind of the double-secret backup just in case.


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