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Final Cut Pro X Multicam via 10Gb Network vs FCP7

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Michael Wells
Final Cut Pro X Multicam via 10Gb Network vs FCP7
on Feb 17, 2012 at 7:36:01 pm

I'm having problems getting similar performance out of multicam editing in FCP-X as we have in FCP7.

Using FCP-7, we have been editing 9 streams of 1080i ProRes422 footage over a Small Tree 10Gb Ethernet Network using an enterprise grade HP ProCurve 10Gb Switch for about 9 months on a MacPro 3,1 8 Core machine.

We set the playback at full frame rate and high quality and the multicam clip playback is flawless.

Same setup on FCP-X on a new 12 core MacPro works for about 4 seconds over the network and then gets real jumpy and unstable-basically unusable for editing.

I don't believe the problem has anyting to do with the 12 core tuning as we get the same results with the older MacPro 3,1 8 core running FCPX-unstable and jumpy performance over the network.

If we copy the clips to local storage, multicam playback in FCP X is responsive and usable with the 9 streams of 1080i ProRes422 coming off of a Caldigt HDPro2, even on an older 8 core machine.

I don't think overall Ethernet bandwidth is an issue. In Activity monitor, MC playback as I have described in FCP7 only uses about 1,200mbit of Ethernet bandwidth.

Also, we can do multiple 100GB file copies to local storage from the Ethernet connected ISO computers and get well in excess of 5,000mbit (yes, 600 MegaBytes!) of Ethernet throughput, so network bandwidth is likely not the issue. Further, we have everything configured for jumbo frames which improved performance in FCP7 to a flawless level.

Perhaps a different playback buffer scheme in X isn't optimized to allow for the additional latency inherent in Ethernet networks?

Anyone care to offer any other thoughts as to why it might not work over the network using FCPX?


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Final Cut Pro X Multicam via 10Gb Network vs FCP7
on Feb 19, 2012 at 3:28:00 pm

There have been comments regarding FCPX using more I/O than FCP7 for similar tasks as it buffers a lot of thumbnails for its skimmer. People noted moving to a proper raid from FW-drives made far more difference than in FCP7.

Not sure if that's the issue you see here.


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Pawel Kasprzak
Re: Final Cut Pro X Multicam via 10Gb Network vs FCP7
on Feb 20, 2012 at 9:54:25 pm

Hi, I have pretty much the same with an xSAN volume. A 7-angle ProRes 422 multiclip would play back ok if the files were stored locally, but I had constant dropped frames with the same media from a SAN drive. No matter if the thumbnails were stored locally or on a SAN drive. By the way storing thumbnails there seems a crazy idea as thumbnails are tiny and there're hundreds of thousands of them - which is not exactly what SAN volumes are optimized for. Anyway - 4-angle multiclip plays back fine over a network. With 7-angles activity monitor shows jumps in CPU usage (from under 100 to above 500% in my case). Just as Michael describes - FCP 7.0.3 handles the same media well.

I suspected I needed an update to my SAN system. My current SAN version is 2.2 and OS was Snow Leopard (dropped frames), which I've just upgraded to Lion leaving SAN at 2.2 (we have a large production going on so I'm not really into any major changes) - still dropped frames. According to what Michael says here the SAN upgrade to 2.3 will not solve the problem.

Does anybody know what are the thumbnails that FCPX generates on multiclip creation BTW? Filmstrip thumbs for each of the clips are already there. Perhaps FCPX uses a different set when it comes to displaying angles in a multicam window? Anyway - this I made sure - dropped frames don't seem to depend on where the thumbnails are stored.


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Pawel Kasprzak
Re: Final Cut Pro X Multicam via 10Gb Network vs FCP7
on Feb 20, 2012 at 10:09:07 pm

Hi, I have pretty much the same with an xSAN volume. A 7-angle ProRes 422 multiclip would play back ok if the files were stored locally, but I had constant dropped frames with the same media from a SAN drive. No matter if the thumbnails were stored locally or on a SAN drive. By the way storing thumbnails there seems a crazy idea as thumbnails are tiny and there're hundreds of thousands of them - which is not exactly what SAN volumes are optimized for. Anyway - 4-angle multiclip plays back fine over a network. With 7-angles activity monitor shows jumps in CPU usage (from under 100 to above 500% in my case). Just as Michael describes - FCP 7.0.3 handles the same media well.

I suspected I needed an update to my SAN system. My current SAN version is 2.2 and OS was Snow Leopard (dropped frames), which I've just upgraded to Lion leaving SAN at 2.2 (we have a large production going on so I'm not really into any major changes) - still dropped frames. According to what Michael says here the SAN upgrade to 2.3 will not solve the problem.

Does anybody know what are the thumbnails that FCPX generates on multiclip creation BTW? Filmstrip thumbs for each of the clips are already there. Perhaps FCPX uses a different set when it comes to displaying angles in a multicam window? Anyway - this I made sure - dropped frames don't seem to depend on where the thumbnails are stored.


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Michael Wells
Re: Final Cut Pro X Multicam via 10Gb Network vs FCP7
on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:49:25 am

Very interesting that the same issue exists using the SAN. Is it a fiber channel SAN or something over Ethernet?



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Pawel Kasprzak
Re: Final Cut Pro X Multicam via 10Gb Network vs FCP7
on Feb 21, 2012 at 1:30:33 am

It's fibre channel. Looking at what you've posted here, a SAN upgrade wouldn't probably solve this in my case. It's some network problem on FCP's side perhaps.

Thumbnail and cache files tended to cause problems with "classic" FCP as well. I usually work in a networked group environment so I always need all media, project files etc. and even cache files stored on some network drive - and this included audio waveform cache as well. The thing with these files has always been that there's a lot of them, they're all stored flat in the same folder and they're very small. A SAN folder defined as waveform cache destination - when stuffed with some considerable number of files - would make the system very slow, so I used to have another network volume to handle that. I suspected we might now face a problem of the same kind - our storage drives are not optimized for such small files (each of them stores data for about 1000 frames only). But I tried storing these thumbs locally and this didn't help. Or I'm doing something wrong - quite likely as this is my first attempt to use FCP X. Wonder if there's any workaround or should we wait for another fix to follow...

BTW - you have mentioned using ProRes multicam over a network under FCP 7. Doing the same I would have other issues. Our editors exchange their projects a lot, they also use "archive projects" with preedited sequences etc. What they do all the time is they copy and paste from one sequence to another. And this would somehow corrupt the project files. The system would hang (a spinning cursor wheel) the console log would show memory allocation error. A quick help was to launch Compressor - strange remedy, but this would flush client station's RAM, which would instantly get the system back to operation. Alas the project files would seemingly get hit even worse afterwords. What would make them perform better for some time was to export an XML from them and import it to a new project. Then you could work for some time until another copy and paste operation hurt you again. What was really weird was that this would happen with ProRes files only - DVCProHD and even XDCAM didn't cause that. ProRes Proxy turned out to be even worse than ProRes SQ, which suggested that ProRes compression must be very RAM and CPU consuming - the more compressed files, the worse for your memory. So perhaps it's ProRes that kills us now. No idea.


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