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Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!

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Oliver Peters
Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:10:41 pm

I'm working on my first big FCP X project with the client in the room. Expect a blog post to come when I can debrief and evaluate the issues.

For now, let me say that working with X in the "real world" integrates aspects of using both the best and worst NLE imaginable. I've had at least 3-4 instances per day of crashes or force quits. Granted this is in a SAN environment with BMD cards (part of the problem, I presume). At least recovery has been good and fast.

But, when you are working with the app, trying to respond quickly to client request, it's obvious that the system is slow to perform compared to every other NLE on this exact same system. There are clearly times when X has to "think" as something appears to be going on in the background. Frequent beach balls that range from a fraction of a second to 1-2 seconds in length. Sometimes this happens every other action you take. At other times, the app is completely fluid and responsive without any rhyme or reason as to why what is being done is different from one moment to the next.

Simple titles, like two lines stacked as two layers (no animtaion), cannot play unrendered without dropping frames. Other things are completely buggy. For example, "break apart clip items" blows away all your color correction done with the color board!

I'm cool with the magnetic timeline and lack of dual viewers. Audio mixing is atrocious and needs work. Even so, I can live with all of that for now, if the next update leads to a more responsive and stable application. I really like the clip/event/favorites management and this makes it fast to show a client options. I am willing to put up with a lot if the app can become more solid than it is today.

It may be obvious to some, but the app behaves quite a bit better on a standalone machine without external i/o, but that's not the world many of us live in.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:29:33 pm

I couldn't agree more. More stability, please.


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tony west
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:33:09 pm

For whatever reason it seems to struggle with titles.

I like the method of how it does titles, but it's got to do them with less hiccups.

I agree, focus on getting the overall performance more solid please.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:42:28 pm

[tony west] "For whatever reason it seems to struggle with titles."

Because they are all embedded Motion projects. That never worked well in FCP 7 and it still doesn't work well in X. The irony of this is that there are already internal text/font tools as part of the OS and Quartz Composer, which Noise Industries had tapped into with Manifesto. Apparently not available in X.

On the plus side - following up on the long thread about render speeds I posted last week - rendering of internal effects (titles, keys and color correction) has been relatively fast. It still loses links to render files on relaunch, though.

Another issue I found was that the app frequently gets "stupid" about what's loaded into the timeline history. You can load up six projects and then after moving forward or backwards, you end up with only two loaded for some reason. Then you reload again and they are OK. Tabbed sequences was a MUCH BETTER design. Especially when you need to make quick comparisons of the edit structure (Project Library browser is inadequate for this).

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Robert Bracken
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:59:16 pm

Since you're on SAN I would recommend using Proxy files. You can still export using the full resolution. That would help playback.

I love the idea of background rendering but it really eats up resources quickly! The computer slows to a crawl. I've tried to turn it off or delay it but it keeps rendering away. Very annoying.

Still, FCPX is a great app.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 4:02:18 pm

[Robert Bracken] "Since you're on SAN I would recommend using Proxy files. "

Just curious, but why?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 4:08:22 pm

[Robert Bracken] "Since you're on SAN I would recommend using Proxy files. You can still export using the full resolution. That would help playback."

It's a Fibre Channel-connected, volume-level SAN controlled under FibreJet software. This is not seen by FCP X as a SAN, so the "add SAN location" feature doesn't work. (I would guess they only ever tested this with Xsan.) In any case, FCP X sees the volume to which I have write permission as any other external drive.

I don't see the logic of using proxies. The system has plenty of performance and handles uncompressed and ProRes4444 files just fine. My media was all ProResHQ, so optimized. There is no problem with media playback. The playback issues are with titles over black.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 4:17:41 pm

[Oliver Peters] "It's a Fibre Channel-connected, volume-level SAN controlled under FibreJet software. This is not seen by FCP X as a SAN, so the "add SAN location" feature doesn't work. (I would guess they only ever tested this with Xsan.) In any case, FCP X sees the volume to which I have write permission as any other external drive."

I have a SAN too (metaSAN) that gets 500+ MB/sec to fibre clients and 80-100MB/sec to ethernet clients.

It works fine with no proxies.

Oliver, have you talked to FibreJet?

My SAN Volume does not show up as a typical "Local" drive.

It has to be the fibreJet way of doing things as metaSAN seems to work like XSan.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 4:54:46 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Oliver, have you talked to FibreJet?
My SAN Volume does not show up as a typical "Local" drive.
It has to be the fibreJet way of doing things as metaSAN seems to work like XSan."


I don't own the system, but I have made the owner's service consultant aware of it. Apple is also aware of this via bug reports and follow-up. I would presume metaSAN is a file-level-locking system, whereas FibreJet is a volume-level-locking system. My guess is that all similar systems have the same issue, including volume-based versions of Terrablock.

The SAN volumes show up on each of these workstations as external drives with volume-level read/write permissions. The Event Library inside the FCP X UI only displays volumes with write permission, though I can access media from any of the volumes. The accessible volumes (with write permission) are displayed with an external drive icon instead of the "globe" network icon.

In any case, media performance from the drives is fine. However, since data is being written back over the FibreChannel network to the event and project folders on the volume with write permission (not the internal drive), some of the beach-balling I see is likely due to some type of network traffic or issues with FCP X in this configuration.

Since it works just fine with Premiere Pro, Media Composer, FCP 7 and FC Server, it seems like it's an Apple problem to fix. If they want their application in professional facilities, then FCP X needs to work with SAN environments other than Xsan.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 5:23:07 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I would presume metaSAN is a file-level-locking system, whereas FibreJet is a volume-level-locking system. My guess is that all similar systems have the same issue, including volume-based versions of Terrablock."

Yes. It's file locking for the most part.

If it's Volume level, though, why do you need a SAN Location? Is it one Volume per machine?

Jeremy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 5:31:17 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "If it's Volume level, though, why do you need a SAN Location? Is it one Volume per machine?"

Well, yes, I presume that's true. This system uses one write volume per workstation, but it could in theory also be set up with a volume for each production or client. I'm not really sure how it would work in a wider implementation on this system. I don't really have an issue with it - SAN location is really a tangent to this discussion. My concern is whether there is some optimization that Apple needs to do, specific to this type of configuration, which would improve stability and eliminate the latency or whatever is causing the beach-balling.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 5:37:50 pm

[Oliver Peters] "SAN location is really a tangent to this discussion. My concern is whether there is some optimization that Apple needs to do, specific to this type of configuration, which would improve stability and eliminate the latency or whatever is causing the beach-balling."

Aplogies. I can't find many more people that have any SAN and are running FCPX, so I tend to ask a lot of questions about how people are using their SAN when I do.

I think that as with any SAN that has a dedicated metadata master, that writing small files can throw the SAN for a performance slow down. I think that FCPX's journaling system, or autosave, or whatever the hell it's doing when you "make a change" might be the cause of some of those pauses. I try and leave a finder window open to watch the "journaling" happen while I work just to see if that process is what is causing it. It seems to be, but it's a guess.

Jeremy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 5:49:14 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I think that as with any SAN that has a dedicated metadata master, that writing small files can throw the SAN for a performance slow down. "

Agreed. With FCP 7, the projects on this system reside on the local internal hard drive. When I've used Xsan systems, that was also the recommended practice, although I've worked with that both ways. Since the events folders only have aliases, I presume on the next project I should run the projects and events folders on the internal as a test. The downside to that is then you end up with render files on the internal drive. Bad design.

Nice of Apple to have not really thought this out very well before tossing the app out into the wild to let users fend for themselves ;-) A little "best practices" guidance would really help (and use only Xsan isn't it) !

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 6:11:20 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The downside to that is then you end up with render files on the internal drive. Bad design."

Yes, setting a render file destination would be good....but...

If you are NOT on a Volume level SAN, the rigid FCPX Event/Project structure is actually very convenient as you can simply move the files or load a SAN Location, and everything is exactly how you left it no matter what machine you are on. In that case, it's a very interesting design.

Perhaps the autosave or journaling system needs to be local to help prevent slow downs.

[Oliver Peters] "Nice of Apple to have not really thought this out very well before tossing the app out into the wild to let users fend for themselves ;-) A little "best practices" guidance would really help (and use only Xsan isn't it) !"

What would be nice is if you could mount folders on a Volume (SAN or otherwise) that are similar to SAN Locations in that you can put the Project/Event anywhere and not just in the specific root level. This would help with Project/Event Management and allow you to mount/dismount whatever you want without Event Manager X or quitting/moving/relaunching.

When you do work with a SAN that can support FCPX San Locations, it becomes a bit more clear to me that there's some bigger thinking going on here as it does work really well, and works very differently than just a Volume situation. Also, with metaSAN v5 and their new ProjectStore system, I can now "check in and check out" SAN Locations to prevent other users from mounting each other's San Locations (this, of course, isn't a problem with XSan).

What isn't working, is referenced Event media, but I can't figure out if that's because our storage is NTFS or is it's because metaSAN doesn't recognize the Aliased file type. I am hoping to setup a test very soon with a vendor and HFS+ formatted storage. This will point to one or the other.

Jeremy


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Bernhard Grininger
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 10:31:53 am

Hello,

recently I read and tested the workaround for using FCP-X with NAS shares:
http://fcp.co/forum/7-how-to-tutorials/1083-getting-fcp-x-to-recognize-netw...

I also read Apple's Whitepaper on FCP-X and XSan:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5084

The current workaround for NAS is to create a disk image with Disk Utilities,
put it on the NAS and mount it, so FCP-X recognizes it as local Volume.
The procedure for multiple users with XSan is to soft-import from the
original media folder in event 'A' into another event 'B' – not really convincing.


When testing the NAS workaround I had an idea:

What, if Apple would make the workaround procedure a standard, but
- from a well designed GUI inside FCP-X for creating and mounting/unmounting the images

- calling those images (still *.dmg files) "Final Cut Library";
but hiding the "dmg" appendix;
and giving those Final Cut Libraries their own well designed icon

- replacing also the XSan dialoge by the new GUI

- with the capability to mount a "Final Cut Library" from within FCP-X as
read/write exclusive (others could'nd mount it at all)
read/write (others could mount as "read only")
read only


I was inspired by SANmp's GUI for permissions handling and
by Media100's GUI for handling of volumes.



Benefits:
- it would'nd interfere with Apple's philosophy of events and projects
- for Apple it would be easy to implement (their own technology from Disk Utilities)
- we could create such images whereever we want to (NAS, SAN, DAS, local)
- we could create as many images we like to
(basically we could handle such an image as our new project 'project' file)
- we could have all data for a film project in one Library
- we would have more control which projects and events are displayed
- Teamwork: Apps like Motion, Compressor or Logic could mount the library with different permissions;
think of a Library mounted "read/write", so other FCP-X user coul'nd write to it,
but a Motion user would be permitted to mount it and to write animation data / results

Disadvatages:
- solution adds one more level of file structure complexity
(we will need to become familiar with either way; think of Smoke)
- if we want to access the movie files we would need to mount the volume
(but if it works from Finder, the disadvantage would be small; please think of the old iMovie!)


I already wrote most of this into the Apple feedback form.

Best regards,
Bernhard


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:08:53 pm

[Bernhard Grininger] "Disadvatages:"

Another one:

Working from Disk Images carries a non-trivial overhead for the system that will reduce your performance ceiling in FCPX to the tune of fewer streams or grater UI lag on larger projects.

Best,
Andy


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:05:51 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I think that as with any SAN that has a dedicated metadata master, that writing small files can throw the SAN for a performance slow down. I think that FCPX's journaling system, or autosave, or whatever the hell it's doing when you "make a change" might be the cause of some of those pauses."

This.

FCPX Projects and Events are SQLite databases and all the constant I/O with those combined with the I/O for media streaming is a real strain on a typical small video SAN. For high-bandwidth media streaming, you need a wide pipe but not necessarily a lot of spindles. For I/O intensive transactions, you need lots more spindles, and preferably 10K or 15K RPM SAS spindles instead of the 7200 RPM SATA that is common in video environments due to its low cost and high capacity.

When Apple says FCPX is for the next decade, they aren't kidding- it seems to want SSD-grade storage performance (high bandwidth and high IOPS) to be able to do its I/O. They could work around this pretty easily by allowing the Renders to be sent somewhere other than alongside the Project database files. You can already place media on its own optimized storage by not copying into the Events folder on import.

Best,
Andy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:28:43 pm

[Andrew Richards] "When Apple says FCPX is for the next decade, they aren't kidding- it seems to want SSD-grade storage performance (high bandwidth and high IOPS) to be able to do its I/O."

Yikes! That doesn't sound very promising. You are describing something that has limited functionality for most facilities within a 5-year time frame.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:49:47 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Yikes! That doesn't sound very promising. You are describing something that has limited functionality for most facilities within a 5-year time frame."

I'm making an educated guess, but yeah. If Apple would just let us store the Renders separately from the Projects, then facilities could have much smaller (and affordable) high-IOPS-optimized shared (or local) storage for the Project and Event databases and the usual large-capacity stream-optimized shared storage for the media.

The reason no other NLE has these problems is they are only writing to a flat project file upon user command, not constantly writing to a database for every little action the user takes in the app.

Best,
Andy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:55:20 pm

[Andrew Richards] "The reason no other NLE has these problems is they are only writing to a flat project file upon user command, not constantly writing to a database for every little action the user takes in the app."

I seem to remember that Fast/Liquid was in a constant save condition AND it had true background rendering. Not bad for a 32-bit Windows app that had none of these issues, as I recall.

It might be that part of the problem with X is that it's actually writing several databases for the Events and Projects. Not just a single project file. One thing I noticed was that when I was adding a lot of favorites (which included writing the selection to a smart collection in parallel) was that it was quite easy for me, as the operator, to outrun the application.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 8:03:02 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I seem to remember that Fast/Liquid was in a constant save condition AND it had true background rendering. Not bad for a 32-bit Windows app that had none of these issues, as I recall.

It might be that part of the problem with X is that it's actually writing several databases for the Events and Projects. Not just a single project file. One thing I noticed was that when I was adding a lot of favorites (which included writing the selection to a smart collection in parallel) was that it was quite easy for me, as the operator, to outrun the application."


Another issue might lie with HFS+ (I didn't see if you specified what type of filesystem your client's FibreJet SAN is built upon, I assume it is HFS+). It is limited in its ability to do more than one I/O action at a time (as I understand it), so that can also be a limiting factor, maybe even the most significant limiting factor. I wonder if you had an Xsan filesystem on the same hardware if my hypothesis about IOPS would go out the window because the filesystem can multithread I/O actions when properly configured...

Best,
Andy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 8:11:14 pm

[Andrew Richards] "I didn't see if you specified what type of filesystem your client's FibreJet SAN is built upon, I assume it is HFS+"

The finder shows the write volume as Mac OS Extended.

[Andrew Richards] "It is limited in its ability to do more than one I/O action at a time (as I understand it), so that can also be a limiting factor, maybe even the most significant limiting factor."

Why would this be any different than any other locally-connected external drive, like a Promise or even an internal set of RAID-0 drives?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 8:29:32 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The finder shows the write volume as Mac OS Extended."

Yep, that's HFS+.

[Oliver Peters] "Why would this be any different than any other locally-connected external drive, like a Promise or even an internal set of RAID-0 drives?"

If other SAN users are reading (or writing, if this array is sliced or partitioned) from the same array while you are working, it would impact the array's ability to deal with the heavy IOPS writes associated with the FCPX database files. If you are the only one using the array, then it is essentially no different from local-attached storage and that probably rules out HFS+ as the culprit if you don't see these issues with similar local-attached storage. It really depends on the architecture of this particular SAN.

Best,
Andy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 9:32:07 pm

[Andrew Richards] " It really depends on the architecture of this particular SAN."

It's 64TB partitioned into 5 volumes - 4 workstations plus FC Server controlling the 5th. Each station has write authority to one partition and all others mounted in read-only mode. During most of this session time, I've been the only operator accessing the system. No particular ongoing processes occurring with FC Server, except what it might routinely be doing in the background.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 1:13:59 am

[Oliver Peters] "It's 64TB partitioned into 5 volumes - 4 workstations plus FC Server controlling the 5th. Each station has write authority to one partition and all others mounted in read-only mode. During most of this session time, I've been the only operator accessing the system. No particular ongoing processes occurring with FC Server, except what it might routinely be doing in the background."

Probably not an HFS+ shortcoming then. Assuming that is a 32 disk array, I would expect it to perform better at small I/O than a Pegasus due to the higher spindle count. If you can take the same work to an iMac and a Pegasus and it doesn't lag on you, then I'm stumped.

Best,
Andy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 1:31:54 am

[Andrew Richards] " Assuming that is a 32 disk array"

2 chassis with 16x2TB drives in each.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:05:27 pm

[Oliver Peters] "2 chassis with 16x2TB drives in each."

That should still be quicker than a Pegasus for small I/O since it has more spindles. Did you say you do not see these issues when working off a Pegasus?

Best,
Andy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 11:33:59 pm

[Andrew Richards] "That should still be quicker than a Pegasus for small I/O since it has more spindles. Did you say you do not see these issues when working off a Pegasus?"

I haven't done any large projects with the Pegasus. Only some casual testing on a friend's iMac. I didn't see any issues there, but we were testing Thunderbolt video i/o devices more than FCP X per se.

As far as this project, I moved the Events/Projects to the internal hard drive (media still on the SAN) and I haven't had any of the beach-balling today. This would seem to indicate that Events/Projects should not live on the SAN. Might get to do some more checking next week.

That poses a render concern, although the single internal seems to playback ProResHQ render files just fine. I'm going to see if this owner is interested in putting a couple of SSDs into drive bays 3 & 4 of the Mac Pro. Software RAID then as RAID-0 and only use them for FCP X Events and Projects.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 10, 2012 at 1:41:16 am

[Oliver Peters] "That poses a render concern, although the single internal seems to playback ProResHQ render files just fine. I'm going to see if this owner is interested in putting a couple of SSDs into drive bays 3 & 4 of the Mac Pro. Software RAID then as RAID-0 and only use them for FCP X Events and Projects."

Unfortunately, that is probably the best workaround for now. I submitted a feedback a while ago asking for the ability to set separate render storage. The type of storage good at databases is very different from the type of storage best suited to storing and streaming media.

Best,
Andy


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 10, 2012 at 2:38:12 am

[Andrew Richards] "Unfortunately, that is probably the best workaround for now. I submitted a feedback a while ago asking for the ability to set separate render storage. The type of storage good at databases is very different from the type of storage best suited to storing and streaming media."

Man, events/projects on raid0? Yeeps.

I think it would be best to unhinge the autosave system, or optimize it, or toggle it on or off ... or something.


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Andrew Richards
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 10, 2012 at 3:01:01 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Man, events/projects on raid0? Yeeps."

No riskier than having it all on a single disk. Remember to backup!

Best,
Andy


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 4:11:34 pm

[Robert Bracken] "I love the idea of background rendering but it really eats up resources quickly! The computer slows to a crawl. "

I turn that feature off. It gets in the way and it's not "background rendering" at it. It's really "idle time" rendering. It would be nice if they had a "don't lose render links" feature ;-)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bret Williams
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 6:27:06 pm

Bizarre Oliver. Must be this networked way you're working because FCP X is extremely solid on a standalone iMac with pegasus raid and BlackMagic Intensity Extreme. I don't get beach balls, crashes or lost render files. If anything, the way FCP X deals with render files blows me a way. I can render something, then change a setting or two, then change that setting again back to what it was and the render is used again. FCP knows that it has a render file cached that matches the current settings of an element. In any other NLE you'd have to hit undo to get the render back. That's impressive.

FWIW I'm working with all h264 native content. Often as multi cam. Hardly ever set it to better performance. Usually 1080p24. Turn off background rendering. I keep everything on the Pegasus raid. All files and projects. Gets about 300-500mb/sec.

I'm also running a copy on an old MacPro 1,1 with a 5770 GPU. It renders slower, has a little less playback capability, and doesn't seem to like the Matrox mini audio out so much (has crackle and static) but overall works pretty well. Everything on it is on a Graid eSata drive. But just with a $50 sonnet sata controller card. Not a sata raid type. Get about 100mb/sec.

I turn off the dropped frames warnings on both because I really could care less about the occasional dropped frame. Not very applicable to editing unless you're trying to go to tape.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 6:47:10 pm

[Bret Williams] "because FCP X is extremely solid on a standalone iMac with pegasus raid and BlackMagic Intensity Extreme. I don't get beach balls, crashes or lost render files"

As I said in the first post, standalone system users probably don't see a lot of this. At home I'm running a standalone MP and also no big issues. Certainly no beach balls and only the rarest of crashes. I do lose render file links all the time. I've now seen this on every system I've tested. It could be related to whether you are running media as file copies/imports in the Events folder or aliases.

From what I've seen locally, iMacs with Promise RAIDs are a real solid system for X. MPs aren't. I do question the BMD card though, especially since it's currently using beta drivers. I've had some audio-related issues on two different systems now and the common denominators are BMD, CS6 and FCP X. IoXT is the best with FCP X that I've tested (Thunderbolt on an iMac).

[Bret Williams] "then change a setting or two, then change that setting again back to what it was and the render is used again."

That's the way it's supposed to work. Been that way with Avid for years.

[Bret Williams] "FWIW I'm working with all h264 native content. "

Me, never. I always convert to ProResLT or ProRes. In this case, it's media from a C300, but recorded to PIX240 as ProResHQ.

[Bret Williams] "I turn off the dropped frames warnings on both because I really could care less about the occasional dropped frame. Not very applicable to editing unless you're trying to go to tape."

One thing I've noticed is that even with the dropped frames warning on, you will frequently see what looks like dropped frames, but the indicator doesn't say so. Obviously an issue with how the graphics card is addressed.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bret Williams
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:28:04 pm

You might see dropped frames or what appears to be on the computer monitor, but not on the real monitor. Computer monitors are obviously just a point of reference for video. You can watch youtube and you'll see plenty of judder, but look at the info and it's not dropping frames either.

That's great that Avid worked that way. I don't recall it working that way, but perhaps it was/is. FCP Legend certainly wasn't that smart. Change anything and then change it back and you're got to rerender. Unless you go the undo route of course.

Perhaps you should try using the native files. Why would you want to increase the drive space used and complicate the database. Sure it shouldn't be a problem, but sounds like it is. If you've got to convert everything to ProRes, I feel like there isn't much compelling reason to use X over legacy.


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Clint Wardlow
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:37:12 pm

[Bret Williams] "Perhaps you should try using the native files. Why would you want to increase the drive space used and complicate the database. Sure it shouldn't be a problem, but sounds like it is. If you've got to convert everything to ProRes, I feel like there isn't much compelling reason to use X over legacy."

One reason I convert everything to Prores is that I often edit stuff shot with different format cameras. I find that multimedia plays together much better if you wrap it in prores rather than try to edit say HDV and H264 on the same timeline. Maybe X handles suchlike better.


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Bret Williams
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:36:35 am

Yes it certainly does. Especially since you can't use h264 in 7 pretty much at all. But you certainly can mix compatible formats in 7. Just not frame rates. Not properly at least. It doesn't' add pulldown or interlace 60p in a 1080i seq for example. Just repeats or deletes frames.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 7:48:18 pm

[Bret Williams] "Perhaps you should try using the native files. Why would you want to increase the drive space used and complicate the database. Sure it shouldn't be a problem, but sounds like it is. If you've got to convert everything to ProRes, I feel like there isn't much compelling reason to use X over legacy."

Sorry, but ... nope. H264 native editing is terrible IMHO, even in all the apps that supposedly handle it well. The second issue is that I have to have something with valid TC and reel ID numbers. This project is graded on Baselight and the colorist needs an EDL and source clips that match. Native H264 is fine for quick and dirty convention coverage or maybe news clips that you never have to revisit, but that's not most of my work. I have files for projects shot with 5D cameras from the very beginning of those cameras that I still go back to. It's essential that I have a proper way of dealing with them. My SOP has been to convert to ProRes and add valid TC/reel numbers. Makes it very easy to track and the edits become very repeatable. Drive space isn't an issue and I don't see how it would complicate the database.

Most of my projects are mixed formats, including 5D, C300, Alexa and P2 clips.

Please don't take this as a criticism of your comments, but I view native editing as an often counter-productive concept and it's one of the things I dislike about Premiere Pro. If you have to work outside of the NLE in a mixture of other apps, "native" is often the cause of many problems. Just look at the PITA issues Avid folks are dealing with using AMA for full-blown editing. Native media editing is why the Send to SG function in PPro requires a DPX intermediate render as compared with a more fluid FCP7/Color round trip.

The reason to use X at this point on this project is as a proof-of-concept. If this particular facility wants to go with X, then it's got to be used in a real-world test to figure out where the bodies are buried. Right now it's "iffy". I happen to like a lot about X over 7, but there may still be too many deal-breakers. So this is a matter of testing whether or not X is ready for the workflow, not whether it has real advantages. For me on this job, I got more done in the allotted schedule than bid, but the same would have been true with 7, so I don't view X as providing any speed advantage in getting done more quickly.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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T. Payton
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 10:37:14 pm

Oliver - Regarding your OT Completely Agreed. FCP X has been really hit and miss with clients. Sometimes it is flawless. I was putting together a rather complicated compositing project, brining new footage and images left and right, titles, exporting and it was flying. The next day however, I couldn't keep it from crashing several times an hour.

One thing that makes an app worthy of pro use in my book is its ability to be solid and predictable. Flashy features are truly secondary in my book. By that definition some times Final Cut is pro, some times it is not. I believe that FCP X will either be a triumph or a failure — not based on features but on stability.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 10:50:50 pm

[T. Payton] "By that definition some times Final Cut is pro, some times it is not. I believe that FCP X will either be a triumph or a failure — not based on features but on stability."

This morning, I couldn't get the project open without FCP X crashing. The minute I moved the cursor into the timeline area it froze and I had to force quit. The solution was that before I did anything else, I immediately went to the menu and turned off all skimming functions. Then it worked fine. I turned them back on and all was OK. Go figure! Things like that have got to be fixed SOON.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bret Williams
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:32:36 am

I guess my point here is that I work completely different in the few projects I've done and the product worked as it should with really no problems.

How do you get timecode with your h264 to prores if you're not going through log and transfer with the EOS plugin in 7? I definitely support that route, but I also think you should simply be able to add TC by hand and roundtrip to DaVinci.

You no doubt saw Walter's comments about AMA and how it worked up until the conform/DaVinci run at the end, and how it threw them off 11 days, etc. And then how they decided that if they're going to have to color correct a QT, they might as well use Premiere because it does native better than AMA.

So yeah, whatever works for the workflow. Times are certainly bizarre right now. It seems the application creators can't keep up with the tech at all. The only thing crazier than being an editor is probably being a camera op!

The projects I've done are h264 multi cam. FCP X never flinched. Performed better than ProRes FCP 7 project on the same machine. A corporate project. I found the audio mixing to be much more efficient than 7 because you could do more without stopping the timeline, AND you could mix levels without hearing by looking at the adjusting waveforms. Cutting audio at the sample level was pretty dang handy too.

All the problems you're describing I had with tests I did in 10.0.3 and earlier versions so I never gave it much of a chance back then. 10.0.4 was another story.

Can't you round trip from X to DaVinci? I'll have to try that with one of my projects. They were simple enough to color correct in the color board.

Don't get me wrong. I'm just toying with X myself. 7 is still where my work is, and I have CS6 and thinking that'll have to be the future for me, but probably with X around as well. Just kinda depends on where my clients go. I guess you'd say I'm freelance from home.


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James Mortner
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 9:33:05 am

[Bret Williams] "How do you get timecode with your h264 to prores if you're not going through log and transfer with the EOS plugin in 7?"

http://www.videotoolshed.com/product/42/qtchange


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 12:37:17 pm

[Bret Williams] "I guess my point here is that I work completely different in the few projects I've done and the product worked as it should with really no problems."

I understand and appreciate that.

[Bret Williams] "How do you get timecode with your h264 to prores if you're not going through log and transfer with the EOS plugin in 7?"

You can add TC using the EOS L&T plug-in, MB Grinder, QtChange or FCP 7 itself. I personally have had problems with the EOS plug-in where it messed up file durations for the transcoded files. My own process is this:

1. Convert to ProRes (or DNxHD) using MPEG Streamclip (a batch process)
2. Cinema Tools to conform speed to 23.98/29.97/25 (optional)
3. Better Renamer to alter file names (optional)
4. QtChange to embed TC and reel IDs (note - FCP 7 can batch-add/alter reel IDs to files with existing TC)

[Bret Williams] "You no doubt saw Walter's comments about AMA and how it worked up until the conform/DaVinci run at the end, and how it threw them off 11 days, etc."

Yes and I would humbly suggest they tackled the task incorrectly. Or at least without doing enough testing beforehand. But, sometimes we have more faith in a manufacturer's marketing pitch than they are due, so he certainly wins points for trying!

It gets back to my comments about the fallacies of "native" editing. AMA is intended as a L&T-style solution, not a "live-linked" edit solution. I've done the MC/Resolve roundtrip using MXF files and the workflow was flawless. Granted this was a limited test (:30 spot), but it did work. There are some workarounds you have to know and test. FWIW - I discussed them in this blog post (towards bottom):

http://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/avid-media-composer-tips-for-t...

[Bret Williams] "Can't you round trip from X to DaVinci? I'll have to try that with one of my projects. They were simple enough to color correct in the color board. "

Did that as well on a 2 min. web video. Worked fine, but I hit a bug on the "returned" file. The FCP X export clipped off the last :02 of audio once I added titles. This was fixed by copying and pasting to a new project.

[Bret Williams] "Don't get me wrong. I'm just toying with X myself. 7 is still where my work is, and I have CS6 and thinking that'll have to be the future for me, but probably with X around as well. Just kinda depends on where my clients go. I guess you'd say I'm freelance from home."

Agreed. That's why this for me was a proof-of-concept test. The good thing about this forum - aside from the rants and someone occasionally getting their nose bent out of joint - is that we are sharing experiences and workarounds that will help us all move forward. I certainly think Apple owes us all a small pittance for de facto beta testing and tech support ;-)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Helmut Kobler
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 7, 2012 at 10:23:23 pm

It struggles with titles, AND with still photos too, especially if the stills are bigger than 1920x1080. That gets annoying for doc work.

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 12:22:42 am

[Helmut Kobler] "It struggles with titles, AND with still photos too, especially if the stills are bigger than 1920x1080. That gets annoying for doc work.
"


Helmut,

I'm not dismissing what you say in any way. Just noting that when someone posts something like this - it implies that this is true for all machines, in all configurations, in all circumstances.

I finished a project two days ago that had numerous stock photos in a variety of resolutions up to 2716x1810 featuring largely move-on-stills action and had no problems whatsoever.

I know it's very tempting to think that what any one of us is experiencing will be the same thing everyone will experience, but with FCP-X I find this to seldom be the case.

One user with one configuration can get excellent results and few if any crashes - and another user can try the same or even less taxing work and run into an ugly crash-fest.

I try to remember that as a high-traffic site, whenever I say something "definitive" about either the software or a workflow, I have to be sure it actually is a universal constant - or I could well be misleading folks.

YMMV.

"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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tony west
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 2:24:11 am

[Bill Davis] "I finished a project two days ago that had numerous stock photos in a variety of resolutions up to 2716x1810 featuring largely move-on-stills action and had no problems whatsoever. "

Bill what machine are you running X on?


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tony west
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 2:42:50 pm

If X is being run on a machine that has the system requirements posted by apple, that should be all you need.

If a machine fits the requirements and is still crashing on the program, that is on apple.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:01:53 pm

[tony west] "If X is being run on a machine that has the system requirements posted by apple, that should be all you need."

Well..... Every manufacturer's published "qualified specs" are based on very limited testing criteria. These are based on what their QA folks have tested. Usually no third-party items of any sort - i.e. no other apps, filters, hardware, etc. So the combination of things that WILL work is at least an order of magnitude larger than those of a "qualified system". All these specs mean is that it's a known configuration that has been tested.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 8:21:08 pm

Tony,

It's running fine on both my ancient desktop Mac...

(2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon/6 GB 667 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM/ATI Radeon HD 4870 512 MB/OS X Lion 10.7.4 (11E53)

And even faster on my laptop...

2.8Ghz Intel core i7/8GB 1067 Mhz DDR3/Intel HD Graphics 288 MB/OSX Lion 10.7.3

Everything is very stable running X here. I haven't had a crash in weeks. I get few to no "beach balls" and the only time things really slow down is at the end of my day when I do Renders before outputting files or let the machine crank away on complex titling composites.

The key for me was keeping X on my machine, but my projects and ALL their files on attached Firewire drives - since that lets me "unmount" a project drive from the laptop - and move it over to the desktop machine where it re-mounts and is available for work in seconds.


But none of my projects have any issues on either machine since 10.0.4

"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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tony west
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 9, 2012 at 11:17:13 am

Thanks Bill.

I have not really had a bunch of crashes either since the last update.

I running it on an 8 core mac pro.

I have all the media off the main drive also.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:37:12 pm

[Bill Davis] "One user with one configuration can get excellent results and few if any crashes - and another user can try the same or even less taxing work and run into an ugly crash-fest. I try to remember that as a high-traffic site, whenever I say something "definitive" about either the software or a workflow, I have to be sure it actually is a universal constant - or I could well be misleading folks. "

It would be helpful if everyone posted their configurations when they run into trouble. Detailed information about the system is the first thing we ask for when helping folks troubleshoot problems on the AE forum.

If we can see patterns behind poor performance, that'd be great information to know.

If there's no rhyme or reason to which systems fly and which systems crash, that's important to know, too.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Helmut Kobler
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 4:38:51 pm

HI Bill,

I understand your point, but I assume that people will understand I'm talking about my experiences, and not everyone's. It's just easier and quicker if everyone assumes that the speaker speaks for themselves, rather than the speaker having to make qualifying comments about "this is only my experience or my opinion" every time they want to join in a conversation. And I'm all about quick and easy. ;-)

Anyway, I'm surprised and jealous that you've had such an easy time with photos, because I have noticed a slow down in Timeline playback, and in general UI responsiveness (in the Event browser for instance) when I start importing photos appreciably larger than 1080. FCP 7 seemed more adept to me. And wiping my hard drive and doing a clean install of Lion and FCP X didn't help recently. Also, my hardware is a Mac Pro 8 core 2.93GHz 2009 model with 32GB of ram and an 8 drive raid connected via miniSAS, so I feel like it shouldn't be a hardware limitation.

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com


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T. Payton
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 4:54:42 pm

Helmut - What graphics card do you have? In my experience the GPU is almost everything with FCP X.

I have a 2006 MacPro, only 13GB of RAM, with Radeon 5770 (1 GB of VRAM) and I too have a fine time will large stills. In fact I have been shooting camera Raw on my 7D and importing straight into FCP X. I just did a timeline without 50 of these shots:



On my older MacBook Pro (now dead may it rest in peace) with a lower end GPU it could barely handle any large stills.

But like you said there is a lot of inconsistency between systems with FCP X.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 7:51:57 pm

I've also didn't have problems with FCPX and large stills on a 2010 i7 iMac.

In fact, it's one of the reasons that I re-tried FCP X after bashing it with the 10.0.0 release.

10.0.3 was just released, and I had a project FULL of Ken Burns zooms and stills, large to small.
Knowing that FCP X had the automated Ken Burns effect that would save me a LOT of time vs key framing in FCP7 (and the way the Ken Burns effect works 'intelligently' was also great - read: if you make the clip longer, it would make the zoom/move slower, but keep the same begin and end position), and FCP 7 had a 4K graphic limitation which FCP X doesn't have.
So I decided to give the program another chance then. Have been cursing and intrigued since then at the same time. Lots of potential in the program, but also a long way to go.


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Bill Davis
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 8:27:53 pm

[Helmut Kobler] "Anyway, I'm surprised and jealous that you've had such an easy time with photos, because I have noticed a slow down in Timeline playback, and in general UI responsiveness (in the Event browser for instance) when I start importing photos appreciably larger than 1080."

Helmut,

I wonder if you're dropping those large files into X and starting to work with them while X is still doing it's background transcoding?

Depending on the size and density of the still, X will be happy to bring it in and work in low res, but it's also processing the file for whatever resolution you've specified for your timeline at the same time. Until that process is complete for ALL the photos you've imported to the event browser, X has a lot of calculating to do.

I've helped people who imported massive collections of stills, worked away - thus disabling background rendering and calculation time - then shut down their machines immediately - never giving X time to do it's background file processing and they never achieve decent speed and responsiveness.

My thinking is after any large content ingest - work away if you need to - but then don't shut down your machine unless it's necessary for a good long stretch, in case X has background housekeeping to do.

That's worked well for me.

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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Helmut Kobler
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 9, 2012 at 5:57:39 am

Thanks, all, for the troubleshooting recommendations regarding still photos.

I know that the photos I've used have finished rendering/transcoding, but the graphics card may be an issue. I'm using the top-of-the-line ATI graphics card for the Mac Pro from 2009...I can't remember its name at the moment but it has 512MB. Many months ago I installed the latest Mac Pro graphics card, and did some tests with FCP X and couldn't find any improvement in UI responsiveness, rendering, etc. but I may not have had any still photos in my tests, and I was also testing with a much earlier version of X....like maybe 10.0.1, maybe .02.

The fact that you guys feel photo performance is good (especially with raw images from a 7D....that would kill my system) means I'll do some investigating...at least testing a new better video card again, and who knows, maybe a new Mac Pro altogether, depending on what Monday has in store for us (I hope this weekend goes fast).

Thanks all...

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 9, 2012 at 7:40:08 pm

[Helmut Kobler] "he fact that you guys feel photo performance is good (especially with raw images from a 7D....that would kill my system) means I'll do some investigating...at least testing a new better video card again, and who knows, maybe a new Mac Pro altogether, depending on what Monday has in store for us (I hope this weekend goes fast). "

Hold on. Did you say you're using RAW files? Maybe that's your fundamental issue. RAW files are typically huge, and while I know it's popular with photo professionals to maintain RAW data for possible post processing, I can't think of a good reason why you'd want to maintain a massive raw data construct in a video environment - where both the color space and resolution are severely limited in comparison.

To my thinking, RAW is for photo retouching and alteration for print. For video, a large Jpeg is much less data intensive for the machine to process and perfectly useful at common video pixel resolutions.

I've never worked with RAW photos in a video editor. It seems to me a huge waste of processing power and time.

That might be the issue right there. Trying to work with photos that are in a print format in a video environment.

I'm sure others will weigh in on this.

Anyone out there working with large RAW images in video successfully?

"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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Helmut Kobler
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 9, 2012 at 10:16:22 pm

Hi Bill,
You didn't mention using RAW photos but T. Payton did in one of his earlier posts. And no, I never used RAW files in video either (for the reasons you mentioned) but the fact that someone says they're having decent performance with raw while using a higher end video card is interesting to me.

At any rate, I've always used JPEG photos, but at resolutions typically much higher than 1080.

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com


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T. Payton
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 10, 2012 at 5:18:22 am

FYI. I am a still shooter too and shoot raw mainly for the increased dynamic range--taking advantage of that by processing in Lightroom. However I was pleasantly surprised and even shocked that FCP would take raw files (26mb each!). I agree that JPEGs, and smaller ones than 18 megapixel would be a better choice for FCP X, but since my system (2006 macpro 2.6 ghz radeon 5770) can handle it why not utilize it?

Btw. I haven't done any dynamic range tests with raw images in fcp x, but it would be interesting to find how fcp x handles it.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Apple - please focus on FCP X stability!
on Jun 8, 2012 at 12:28:12 am

Everyone, please post this bugs to Apple. My own experience has been pretty hit and miss too.


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