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Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX

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Dave Gage
Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:36:51 pm

I teach classes online via Adobe Connect, screen capture the live presentation, and then edit in FCPX to upload to the web. I'll explain what's causing the problem in a minute, but is there a way to "fix" or mask/hide these 1/2 second flashes in the video?
--

The problem appears based on the fact that Adobe Connect is using a very old QuickTime C API and this "flashing" (which is actually the MacBook Pro camera's color being reset at random intervals) also happens in numerous other 3rd Party apps using an older QT API including Skype. I bought a cheap little helper app via the App store called "Webcam Settings" that allows me to adjust the color of the built-in FaceTime camera and actually has a feature that resets your camera every .5 seconds for exactly this reason, but it still has the annoying video "flashing" for a split second.

The author of the "Webcam Settings" app explained it this way:
"On Mac OS X webcam programming are a bit complicated. Apple has 3 sets of API for programmer to use webcam.

1. QuickTime C API, most completed API but is over 2 decades old and Apple is not bringing it to 64-bit world.
2. QTKit Cocoa API, Apple's 64-bit API that supposed to replace QuickTime API, never get to the point as complete as QuickTime C API.
3. In 10.7 Apple introduced an even newer set of AVKit API. It includes all QTKit goodness and add more features. This is going to be the future standard way of using webcam."


I reported this to Adobe support months ago and got it escalated to a senior tech, but they are not good at getting back and don't seem too concerned about solving it. The senior tech has my screen capture of the problem and has told me on the phone that others have reported it and they can reproduce it.

So, since this issue may not get resolved by Adobe anytime soon, anyone have a idea for a reasonable workaround I can do in the editing process? The "flashing" happens randomly anywhere from about 10-90 seconds.

Thanks,
Dave


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James Cude
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 17, 2013 at 2:22:59 pm

As it's totally random I can't think of a way you would automatically remove those bad frames other than manually. It sounds like you should look into replacing Adobe Connect if they're not planning to fix this issue for you.


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Dave Gage
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 17, 2013 at 5:48:34 pm

[James Cude] "As it's totally random I can't think of a way you would automatically remove those bad frames other than manually. It sounds like you should look into replacing Adobe Connect if they're not planning to fix this issue for you."

I don't need to automatically remove the blip, but do something to somewhat hide it, and manually is fine. I came up with an idea last night that I could try to slice up the .5 second segment and then try a Color Match to a normal segment. I'll give that a try this eek. I suppose that I could even cut out the blip and replace it with a quick .5 second video-only dissolve (I suppose I wouldn't want to over do that one).
--

In terms of Adobe Connect, yes, this can only go on so long, it's already been months. I was researching alternatives last night and I will likely give the GoToMeeting free trial a shot. I also am trying to email Kevin from Adobe (who posts here from time to time and seems like a good guy) to see if he knows any way to give the Connect support team a kick in the butt from the inside.

Thanks,
Dave


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James Cude
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 18, 2013 at 3:49:43 pm

Yeah there are a lot of good alternatives out there if it's literally glitching regularly.


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Dave Gage
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 18, 2013 at 5:49:52 pm

I originally signed with Adobe Connect because I had emailed Larry Jordan as asked what he used for his live online classes and if he was satisfied with it. He highly recommended the Connect software. I emailed him again yesterday and asked if he had similar problems with the color resetting and also what OS and Mac he was using. He has had no problems with his iMac and Mountain Lion.

So, I starting to think that this random reset of the FaceTime HD camera may be caused by something other than an old QT API. Since it's not happening to everyone, this may be my own personal hardware or software problem, but the problem does exist for me in both 10.6.8 and a new install of 10.8.4, so it's not likely OS related.

I spent another hour researching on the web this morning and found a few things to try that might be helpful.

1. Zap the PRAM. I did that a few minutes ago, so I'll see if that helps today.
2. Reset the SMC. If the PRAM doesn't help, I'll try that next.
3. According to a post at the Apple forums, the green color shift might be caused by a failing camera chip. If it looks like this is the problem, I may just buy a decent 3rd party webcam and see if that solves it (Apple wouldn't fix this since I'm out of warranty).
--

By the way, I posted here in the debate forum an not in the Techniques forum because my original thought was that this was being caused by an older QT API and having read much of what's been posted here the last couple of years I though maybe Walter or someone else who's very knowledgeable might have some thoughts about the API aspect.

But, I think instead of trying to fix this in the edit, I'll keep trying to hunt down the cause of the problem. I believe I'm current with my MBP firmware, but I'll check that also.

Thanks,
Dave


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Chris Walsh
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 21, 2013 at 12:34:45 am

Have you looked at NewBlueFX Flash Remover? There's a free trial, and it might work to reduce the flicker/shift you've got in the current footage.

http://newbluefx.com/product/flash-remover-pro#core_features

Chris Walsh

http://www.musicfog.com
Silver Spring, MD
Final Cut & AVID MC5
Former Windows User and edit* lover


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Dave Gage
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 23, 2013 at 7:28:01 pm

[Chris Walsh] " Have you looked at NewBlueFX Flash Remover? There's a free trial, and it might work to reduce the flicker/shift you've got in the current footage."

Chris,

Thanks for that suggestion, I hadn't heard of it before. I'm not sure it will work for a "non-flash" event but I can check it out with the trial if needed. I'm going to first try to fix the problem.
--

I did find the cause of the problem, the "Webcam Settings" app I purchased via the App Store. When I first started to use it, the author said the problem was because of Adobe, but it really is a fault with his program that he didn't make clear.

I downloaded eCamm's iGlasses which essentially does the same thing and adjusts the Mac FaceTime HD default camera color, saturation, white balance, etc. It does not have the flashing problem, but it has it's own little idiosyncrasies to deal with and it doesn't seem to like Adobe Connect.

I also found that if I use the "Webcam Settings" app to first adjust the camera and then close it, no flashing. But, sooner or later the Mac HD camera wants to adjust it's own settings again.

Lastly, I may pick up the "Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam" which in combination with iGlasses may be the best bet with a better quality camera to begin with. (I wish my Canon AVCHD camera would work, but Mac OS won't see it as a live camera source.)

So, after another week or two, I should get this figured out. I decided to update this thread because I'm sure someone down the line will run into the same kind of issues.

Dave


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Dave Gage
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 23, 2013 at 10:08:19 pm

[Chris Walsh] " Have you looked at NewBlueFX Flash Remover?."

Chris,

I emailed the company to see if their plugin would work with a flash other than white and what exactly it was doing. I assumed it was removing a frame or two. Here's their reply:


"Thank you for your interest in NewBlue. The color of the flash does not matter. Our plugin looks for high luminance and makes the correction from there.

The product is actually removing the frames from the video."


I suppose I could first try deleting a single frame or two and see how that looks.

Dave


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Edward Troxel
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 25, 2013 at 2:56:28 pm

Flash Remover doesn't actually "remove" a frame. It will copy the previous "good" frame over the "bad" frame so the time length will be exactly the same.

Edward Troxel


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Dave Gage
Re: Any way to "fix" repeating bad half-seconds of video in FCPX
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:43:43 am

[Edward Troxel] "It will copy the previous "good" frame over the "bad" frame so the time length will be exactly the same."

Very good. Thanks for the clarification.

Dave


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