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FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips

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Simon Ubsdell
FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 25, 2011 at 6:36:29 pm

Much more light is now being thrown on the issues surrounding the performance of FCPX - especially in a number of very interesting posts by T. Payton in this forum.

I thought I would try a few tests of my own to see if I could pin down a few more of the concerns that have been nagging at me as I start to do more serious work with FCPX.

Here's a test that shows the potential dangers of compound clips, as well as what the exponential project size increase associated with splitting a clip on the timeline.

My first test was to make a new event and a new project and import one 1080P clip of about 2 mins. duration and edit that into a matching timeline. (Note that event, media and project were all on the local drive.)

The project filesize began at 401KB. Then I bladed the clip 20 times. By then the project had mushroomed to over 3MB. I tried the same thing with selecting a range and deleting that again 20 times and the result was the same.

This seems to me to be an excessive bloating of the project from a very simple and basic action and is of particular concern for anyone who likes to make selects in the timeline - quite a common and desirable traditional practice.

I then looked at what happened when using compound clips.

I made a new project and started again with the same clip. I made three blade edits, taking the project size from 400KB to 770KB.

I then made the resulting four clips into a compound clip, which I then also bladed three times. This took the project size to 3.6MB.

I then made another compound clip out of the resulting edits and bladed that another three times, taking the project up to 18MB.

I then attempted the same thing a third time and things started to get really slow as the project grew to a massive 90MB. At this point further editing was not a realistic possibility because of how grindingly slowly the project updated the changes to disk.

Granted this is not a typical scenario as few editors will want or need to nest as many compound clips as this, but it does illustrate the exponential growth of the project size when cutting with compound clips and it's easy to see how it could quickly lead to serious problems.

It should also be noted that having markers inside a compund clip will exacerbate the problems associated with splitting or otherwise editing that compound clip - the filesize grows even quicker in this case. I tried an example with 20 markers on a clip that I then compounded and the filesize grew 25% faster than without.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Rick Lang
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 2:44:45 pm

Simon, excellent observations. One thing I am wondering about, what is the effect of using a much longer initial clip. Could you do another simple test of blading using a clip that is 20 minutes in duration? Thank you.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 3:18:42 pm

Interesting question, Rick.

Here's another test with a clip that's 34 minutes long.

Editing it into a new project gave a project size of 184KB, which expanded to 635KB after 20 blading actions.

Starting with another new project I added the same clip and made it a compound - the compounding action only took it up to 197KB.

One single blading action took it up to 1.6MB in one single hit.

While blading the compound 20 times resulted in a project size of 16.6MB.

Quitting and relaunching did indeed "flush the undo queue" but not as much as you'd have hoped - the project size only came down to 5.5MB.

These are worrying results and suggest that compound clips do need to be used with some caution.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Rick Lang
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 3:36:42 pm

Alas there does not seem to be any simple mathematical formula that explains your two different test results for simple blading. Thanks for all of the detailed information. Since quitting the application only removes a small portion of the bloat, would you consider this a bug and report it to Apple via the feedback mechanism? You have provided Apple enough information to whet their appetite for determining what is happening in their database.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 5:18:24 pm

As you say, it's hard to see how the sums work out on this - but it's definitely worrying that quitting and relaunching doesn't do enough to correct the issue.

Making selects on the timeline is a fundamental component of most of my workflows with advantages that can't be achieved any other way, so it's a concern that FCPX doesn't seem to be well set up to cope with that.

Have indeed submitted feedback to Apple - but I woukld be seriously concerned if they weren't already aware of this very basic issue!

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Ben Scott
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 2:59:20 pm

exactly what I noticed

so how do we do cut across tracks (which arent there)

the wrap in a compound clip, trim and then split apart compound clip which doesnt work properly

I think this must be getting worked out with the new multiclip as its really not worked out at the moment


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 3:08:36 pm

I would imagine this is going to need to get fixed if multicam is going to be feasible at all as I would imagine a multicam situation with compound clips.

I could care less about the size of the project, it's the performance that's troublesome.

I am away from an FCPX computer, but what happens with compounds in Events and not projects?

Also, if you quit and reopen does the bloat remain?


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 3:26:24 pm

Jeremy

The point about the project size is that it does slows you down quite quickly in this instance - or at least it slows my machine down once you get up around 60MB until you start hitting beachball territory (Mac Pro 2 x 2.26 GHz dual quad core with 8GB RAM, not blazingly powerful I know).

Quitting and relaunching does help to reduce the filesize but not nearly enough - see my latest post in this thread for more details.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 3:31:30 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "The point about the project size is that it does slows you down quite quickly in this instance"

I understand that they are related but if a project was 60MB and performing well, it wouldn't be that big of a deal in my mind.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 4:58:29 pm

Of course the file size itself is largely an irrelevance - the reason I am highlighting it is what it shows about project bloat most especially when editing with compund clips.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 5:39:29 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Of course the file size itself is largely an irrelevance - the reason I am highlighting it is what it shows about project bloat most especially when editing with compund clips."

We are saying the same thing! :)


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tony west
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 6:25:10 pm

What about this tip?







Seems like it would help with speed at least.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 26, 2011 at 7:27:20 pm

Thanks for the link, Tony - but more knowledgeable people than I am have come to the conclusion that it's very undesirable in the long run to use compound clips instead of projects, despite what this guy says.

It's been quite widely discussed around here - a lot of folks latched onto this workflow very early on and found it problematic.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 27, 2011 at 2:59:57 am

I don't want to be harsh here, but with the advent of cheap "instruction" software and the ability of every and anyone to set up a "screen recording" and a microphone and pretend to be an instructor - are we join to be forever having to wade through content like this?

I know the guy is doing nothing but trying to share knowledge, but it appears that without so much as an OUTLINE - let alone an actual "lesson plan" we're getting treated to a raft of people who think that launching a program and wandering around in it while describing it in real time is worth presenting to the world via the web...

This is worse than when Desktop Publishing came out and everyone was suddenly a "type designer."

Sigh.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 27, 2011 at 4:00:07 am

Bill -

This is just the beginning. I remember only too well the desktop revolution. Everyone had 36 typefaces to use, and they used them - on every page!

This time around it's going to be worse when you factor in sound, motion, and color. You think a bad page design is bothersome? Wait until you hear someone who can't put two sentences together try to explain how to use software they bought last week, and didn't read the manual yet!

In my market there's been an explosion of "film makers", "editors", and "cinematographers" who just bought the pro-sumer HD camera, and now own FCPX, and are hanging out their shingles as if they know what they're doing. I wish them well, and we all have to start somewhere, but ninety percent of them will be selling real estate in a year or so. It's a brave new world!

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Rafael Amador
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 27, 2011 at 5:04:54 am

For me all this has a certain logic when FCPX have changed from "Sequences" to "Projects". A compound clip as a full project. When you make a compound clip of a selection you are nesting a full project inside a project. Compounds clips made out of Compounds clips are projects inside projects, inside projects (like the russian nesting dolls), so although in theory you are working with just one project at a time, internally FCPX may be managing a bunch of them.
Just a thought.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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tony west
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 27, 2011 at 11:01:18 am

What I have seen in my market is a flow of people who got let go at the local stations because they want as few humans working there as possible.

These folks have skills because they have been cutting and shooting for last 20 years.

Can't blame them for jumping into the freelance market. Beats a lot of other jobs.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 27, 2011 at 2:32:45 pm

Bill Davis

I don't want to be harsh here, but with the advent of cheap "instruction" software and the ability of every and anyone to set up a "screen recording" and a microphone and pretend to be an instructor - are we join to be forever having to wade through content like this?

I had to read this twice before I could get my head around the fact that this is the same Bill Davis who has been so consistently and volubly lauding the democratisation of video editing (or shall we just call it the "advent of cheap editing software"?) as the best thing since the invention of the sliced loaf ;-)

Sorry, Bill - a cheap shot, I know, but just too tempting to be ignored.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 27, 2011 at 8:51:51 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "I had to read this twice before I could get my head around the fact that this is the same Bill Davis who has been so consistently and volubly lauding the democratisation of video editing (or shall we just call it the "advent of cheap editing software"?) as the best thing since the invention of the sliced loaf ;-)

Sorry, Bill - a cheap shot, I know, but just too tempting to be ignored."


Fair criticism.

However, I don't see "democritization" as the the same as "lowering standards."

One implies that everybody has the same access to the tools necessary to improve.

That IS NOT the same as arguing that just because you CAN do something, that the market shouldn't also judge how well you do it.

Every professional on this board had to learn to take criticism - and use it to drive improvement. Criticism is inescapable. Particularly in a craft where everyone who watches what we do generally feels they're qualified to critique it.

If I was harsh to the OP -that was NOT my intent. But my intent WAS to point out that sitting at a microphone and "real time" narrating a disjointed overview that has little structure, is un-edited (yet designed for EDITORS?!) and is a bit long on self indulgent elements like the time in the beginning devoted to branding, driving Twitter and Facebook traffic, and generally messing around before any actual content was delivered - was NOT the sign of someone who is serious about providing value to their audience.

No big sin, that. It's simply the mark of an amateur. And while we were all amateurs once, I still think it's fair to point out the difference - if for no other reason than those who are thinking about doing something similar might be driven to take their work more seriously.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 28, 2011 at 12:03:16 pm

Bill Davis on Nov 27, 2011 at 8:51:51 pm

However, I don't see "democritization" as the the same as "lowering standards."

I don't disagree at all with your opinion of this kind of "tutorial" but I do rather feel it is a necessary consequence of the whole democratization thing, like it or not.

Anyone who can open a box (have you seen those jaw-dropping "unboxing" videos!?) or download a piece of software from the App Store is now an "expert" and there's not a lot we can do about it - most of the people watching these tutorials don't know the difference and it becomes a vicious circle of downwardly spiralling standards. That's the internet for you.

I would just say that this guy's piece is a lot less dreadful than many I've seen.

And the self-promotion that you deplore is very much a necessary part of the YouTube self-publishing revolution - the aim is not so much to keep delivering quality content as to keep folks coming back to your "channel". Persuading people that you've got something worth saying is arguably more important in this field than actually having something important to say.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 28, 2011 at 7:50:39 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Persuading people that you've got something worth saying is arguably more important in this field than actually having something important to say.
"


This, my friend, deserves a t-shirt!

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 28, 2011 at 8:16:18 pm

Printing them up now - what's your size?

;-)

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Nov 29, 2011 at 1:33:52 am

[Simon Ubsdell] "Printing them up now - what's your size?
"


I normally wouldn't even respond to this - but after a many, many month long dedication to improving my personal health - I'm ecstatic to report that over the past couple of years I've dropped from a 2XL to a simple large!

Which means when I actually win a "gimme" t-shirt these days - at least I can actually wear it!

(it's never too late folks, I'm proof!)

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Daniel Rutledge
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Mar 18, 2012 at 2:14:57 pm

I am a little dissapointed but not surprised that compound clips are such a problem. I remember when I first discovered that I could add sequences into a sequence and use them like clips in legacy. I thought that I had discovered this great new way of working. I quickly discovered the limitations of this workflow. I recently started switching my company's edit facility over to FCP X. I Created a 15 minute cut that was completely finished and fairly complex. It contained a performance made up of three songs. My plan was to edit my interview footage into the same project, cut the compound clip into three pieces, and use the magnetic timeline to easily arrange the pieces. I never really got past the first step. As soon as I put my complex 15 minute project into a compound clip, my computer came to a grinding halt. I tried resolving the issue in a few ways, but it quickly became clear that what the OP posted was happening. It wasn't really a huge inconvenience to cut sans compound clip. I could basically follow my original plan with all the elements loose in the project. When I made another huge compound clip at the end so I could a add a universal grade to the project, it actually performed worse than nested sequences in legacy. I managed to do what I wanted, but it took a lot longer than I hoped it would. I think the most irritating thing is that on the apple site, they sell the feature as something that can be used this way.


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phil hastings
Re: FCPX performance issue - the perils of compound clips
on Aug 1, 2012 at 3:40:07 pm

Gentlemen,

Thank you for the insight into the compound clip issue. I've been battling this for a few days now. I had 30+ compound clips, each with 3-4 clips, some scaled. I've broken them all apart and everything seems to be working much better. I'll update if there is a change in my progress.

Phil

http://www.coilproductions.com


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