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FCP X and Plug-ins

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Oliver Peters
FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 12:12:50 pm

A lot of folks have posted complaints about FCP X getting sluggish on complex projects and this isn't always fixed by a restart. I see this all the time on older Mac Pro towers, but I see posts about it even on new tubes and iMacs. Could this be an issue related to having too many plug-ins installed? For instance, does a "clean" machine work better with X than one with a bunch of third-party effects?

Oliver

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


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 2:16:22 pm

I have a ton, and I often have many large libraries open. In my experience nothing slows down until you start caching stuff into RAM. IOW actually twirling open a library with waveforms on. Or scrubbing through multiple mObject templates. I don't think having multiple libraries open or multitudes of templates/plugins installed does much until they're actually loaded up or used. But other than watching RAM decrease and the sluggishness increase when it drops extremely low I don't have any scientific evidence.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 2:23:38 pm

[Bret Williams] "But other than watching RAM decrease and the sluggishness increase when it drops extremely low I don't have any scientific evidence."

Too bad. On recent projects on different MP towers, I've found FCP X to be completely unusable once I get into the job. OTOH, it works great on my new 15" MBP.

- Oliver

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


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 2:36:38 pm

Exactly. I get that too. Seems like if it were just having the plugs installed then it would be sluggish right away I'd think.i wish we had a RAM purge like AE. I use that a lot.


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David Mathis
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 3:36:53 pm

Oliver,

I have experienced that lovely beach ball effect in Motion. It takes a few seconds then the ball disappears, noticed after installing Red Giant Universe, so this looks to be a plugin issue. could be that I have the old cheese grater tower. No issues when launching X, though.

Did try trashing the preferences, still same result. Occasional beach ball without Universe installed but for a second, not ten. Wondering if there is a memory setting that might cause this.


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James Culbertson
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 3:43:45 pm

I have a lot of plugins installed. But the main thing that sometimes makes things sluggish is having the inspector open on the audio tab. Closing the inspector immediately stops any sluggishness. It seems to be longer source video files that cause the sluggishness (like over an hour). Short video files are no problem.

This is true for a Mac Pro tube or a new rMBP.


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David Mathis
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 3:54:14 pm

One other with Motion, is that if I am quickly trying to make too many changes it will go into panic mode with beach ball and not responding. Either will have to for e quit, wait or have the program crash. I would go with Adobe but rental only is a huge deal killer. Besides tracks are kind of annoying. ;-)


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 4:10:14 pm

Motion is immensely more responsive in the same machine in my experience. I hardly ever have to RAM preview anything. And in AE, you have to RAM preview everything, especially if you want audio.

What I really miss about AE is two things. The render que, and project/media management. In AE I use the render que as a history of all the outputs I've done. I also do all my AE stuff for a job inside one AE project. Different versions of assets and everything. With motion this all has to be done in the finder. And when you're done you can only consolidate the completed stuff on a project by project basis, leaving duplicates of assets all over the place.

Oh yeah, I miss parenting. Having to group or use the link behavior isn't quite the same thing. But grouping is so much nicer than pre-comps. In AE I wish I could twirl open a precomp. But in Motion I do often wish I could open a group as its own sequence.

Either app has its pluses. But I'll take the one that's $50 for life and more responsive myself. And I've been using AE since 1996.


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David Mathis
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 4:49:56 pm

Agree with you on project management and parenting. Expressions are something that can be useful. On the flip side of the coin, the UI in Motion is much more elegant, not having to preview everything is a bonus and groups are so much better. Something else that is nice is the replicators and rigs. Both are huge time savers. The price of admission is perfect.

Have been eying Fusion as a Photoshop alternative for touching up still images. Motion is nice but better color correction tools in Fusion, not to mention the patricle emitter, included in the free version. Hoping that Apple develops Motion much further and wishing for a nice update to X, getting a bit crazy waiting.


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 7, 2015 at 1:31:30 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Apr 7, 2015 at 1:33:49 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I have a project I'm cutting today. It's all 1080p/23.98 shot over-cranked and transcoded to ProRes. I/O is a Decklink Extreme. In X, the output via the card is very stuttery, like it's playing 12fps (fine on the viewer in the UI). In premiere it's super smooth in both places."

I'm going to have to cop to operator error on this one. In switching between a 720p/59.94 project in PPro and a 1080p/23.98 project in PPro and FCP X, this issue showed up. I checked the BMD pref pane and it indicated the correct settings. Today when I rechecked my steps after a clean power up, the BMD pref pane was in fact set to 720p/59.94 and not 1080p/23.98 like it should have been. Maybe the BMD card wasn't correctly resetting between apps in spite of my setting it in the pane. Who knows? I set it to the correct 1080p/23.98 this morning and playback in X was smooth as expected. In any case, this particular playback frame rate stuttering is not an FCP X issue.

- Oliver

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


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Fabrizio D'Agnano
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 6:11:37 pm
Last Edited By Fabrizio D'Agnano on Apr 6, 2015 at 7:07:44 pm

I work mostly on 26' timelines on a maxed out MBPr, no plug ins but for a couple of effects, doc style editing. I need to quit and relaunch after one up to three hours of editing. I have the feeling it the sluggishness that grows has something to do with waveforms.

Fabrizio D'Agnano
Rome, Italy
early 2008 MacPro, BM Intensity Pro, early 2008 iMac, 2014 MacBook Pro Retina, Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Monitor, FCP7, FCPX, OSX 10.9.4


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Steve Connor
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 6:33:45 pm

Desperately hoping the next FCPX update will fix this. I tried an edit in the new version of iMovie the other day and it had none of these issues. Might be a good sign!


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 6:47:12 pm

The annoying part is that it seemed to get worse after the 10.1 update and Yosemite.

- Oliver

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


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James Culbertson
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 8:56:36 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The annoying part is that it seemed to get worse after the 10.1 update and Yosemite."

I'm using Mavericks. Do you think Mavericks is less problematic with regard to sluggishness?


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 10:30:04 pm

[James Culbertson] "Do you think Mavericks is less problematic with regard to sluggishness?"

I see similar issues on Mac Pros running Mavericks as with others running Yosemite.

- Oliver

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


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Mitch Ives
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 7, 2015 at 4:04:26 am

[Oliver Peters] "The annoying part is that it seemed to get worse after the 10.1 update and Yosemite."

I agree that we seem to haven taken a step backwards. Taking the good with the bad I suppose?

As to your question of plugins, I'm convinced that some plugins really slow down X. Like most add-ons, some are updated to take advantage of updates, where others are not. Anytime I get a new Mac it starts out fast and then begins to slow down after adding all the plugins. Unfortunately, I've never had the time to add them one at a time to determine the culprit.

Plugins are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they provide all the missing pieces in X. OTOH, if all plugins came from Apple, they'd be optimized...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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John Davidson
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 6, 2015 at 9:53:07 pm

I've been snapped at for rejecting plugins, but even now we keep them to a minimum - with the exception of Beauty Box and Color Finale.
That said, when we have a random project that's more cranky than normal, we recreate a new library with it and keep on trucking.

Maybe I don't notice any big issues anymore - that's not to say that it's bug free - it's just that I don't see them. We do always make it a point to work on new machines with it, so perhaps that is part of it?

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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tony west
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 7, 2015 at 1:05:49 pm

To me, one of the main problems seems to be that after one of those updates, X started to render in the background on it's own. Even when you have that unchecked in preferences.

From the beginning I had always turned that off and I didn't notice any problems like this.

They need to fix that.

Other things might be causing issues also, but that is one thing I'm sure is a problem.

I used to go along cutting just fine, and when I wanted to take a break I would tell it to render. I remember it would render even faster then. I have not changed computers from the beginning (cheese grader)

I know that the plugin Neatvideo has issues. It will take forever to render and then after that, if you slide the clip left or right in the timeline you have to rerenader it. They are aware of it but haven't done anything about it.


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 7, 2015 at 1:16:28 pm

[tony west] "To me, one of the main problems seems to be that after one of those updates, X started to render in the background on it's own. Even when you have that unchecked in preferences."

I've never seen nor heard of this issue and I feel like I read just about every thread here. Might be time for a clean reinstall of the OS and X. At least a trashing of your prefs.


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tony west
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 5:44:12 am

[Bret Williams] "Might be time for a clean reinstall of the OS and X. At least a trashing of your prefs."

You might be right Bret. I have hesitated to do that until I finish this doc completely. I'm real close.

Let me give you a specific example of what it is doing.

Let's say I have a photo in the timeline. I decide to resize it. The orange render bar will come up above it. If I wait for about 30 secs X will start to render that photo, even though I have not told it to and I have background rendering turned off. I don't want it to do that. I don't want it to render anything until I tell it to.

That's how it worked before to my knowledge.

I would be interested to know what happens if you try my exact example.

Resize an item and see what it does.


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James Culbertson
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 7, 2015 at 8:41:05 pm

[tony west] "To me, one of the main problems seems to be that after one of those updates, X started to render in the background on it's own. Even when you have that unchecked in preferences."

I've noticed this, but it doesn't appear to have anything to do with rendering video previews for me. As far as I can tell it is rendering audio waveforms. Once those are built the sluggishness goes away. Unless I open up the audio inspector and then the audio waveforms can slow things down some of the time until I close the audio inspector again. These are only problems for me with longer source files (like an hour or longer).


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David Mathis
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 7, 2015 at 9:04:36 pm

Is ther a way to disable audio waveforms? Also, when I don't need the inspector or effects browser open, they are closed. Read somewhere this can help with response times.


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Scott Witthaus
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:32:45 am

I usually work with the very basic clip view. I wish the clip size could be altered, but it seems to make things work a bit smoother.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:39:23 am

[Scott Witthaus] "I usually work with the very basic clip view."

Waveforms are a common problem that many people have noted all over the web. Unfortunately it's all or nothing, which means if you need to see the waveforms you have to suffer the downside. In Apple's defense, waveform redraw is something many NLEs struggle with. Avid finally got it to a workable level in the most recent versions of Media Composer (after 25 years) and Premiere Pro often won't draw them or only draws interrupted sections of the waveform in a track.

- Oliver

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


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Paul Neumann
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:41:31 am

I remember PPro 5.5 and 6 having a horrible time with playback if the scopes were open or even on a tab in your layout. Sluggish starts and jumpy playback until the tab was closed. It's fixed now, but I mention since some signs here seem to be pointing to things that need to be redrawn as being the culprit. Personally, I don't use any plug-ins with FCPX and it gets sluggish all the time.


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Dennis Radeke
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 11:54:00 am

[Oliver Peters] "Premiere Pro often won't draw them or only draws interrupted sections of the waveform in a track."

Very true that all NLE's can have struggles with this aspect of visual representation.

Whereas Avid of old and FCP7 created uncompressed audio and therefore frame accurate and viewable waveforms as part of their mandatory transcode process, Premiere Pro doesn't have to do that - we just play the video natively. However, this is not 100% true for audio inside of Premiere Pro. We make the assumption that you want to have viewable waveforms in the timeline and if you put compressed audio in the timeline, we need to either generate a visual representation of this or in some cases conform the audio to uncompressed.

Premiere Pro does offer some choice though between immediate editing and creating those visual waveforms. In Premiere Pro Preferences>Audio there is an option called "Automatic peak file generation". If you deselect that, some compressed audio files won't automatically generate the waveforms but will play.

If we are generating peak files or conforming audio, you will see a progress bar in the bottom right hand of the Premiere Pro interface. This is a one time operation. We allow you to edit while this is happening, but it does sometime affect performance during this one time operation. Again, we're trying to balance the immediate playback experience (edit now!) versus creating a visual representation for the overall edit. Turning off the peak file generation will allow more immediate editing if you don't care about audio waveforms.

In general, we want to import, visually represent and play immediately all audio types just as we do with video types. We do look to continue to improve the audio aspects of Premiere Pro as we continue to innovate.

I hope this helps,
Dennis - Adobe guy headed to NAB...again. ;-)


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Scott Witthaus
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 3:10:25 pm

[Oliver Peters] "only draws interrupted sections of the waveform in a track."

I've seen this in FCPX too.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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James Culbertson
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 5:32:27 am

One thing I just noticed which may or may not be related. I was having a slow After Effects render, and just quit Firefox which immediately sped up the rendering by probably 5x or more. I'm assuming it is the old Flash memory leak (or whatever causes Flash to hog up resources) that I had forgotten about. Next time FCPX is sluggish I will have to make sure Firefox is not contributing...


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Scott Witthaus
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 9:54:50 am

Maybe we need an FCPX Plug-In Manager so you can pick what third party needs to be loaded when.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Oliver Peters
Re: FCP X and Plug-ins
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:04:06 pm

A true plug-in manager would be a very welcomed addition. Especially since the real goal of Motion compatibility is for design templates and not necessarily effects. These are things that are really based on certain productions, so it would be nice to not have them there for every production you work on.

Oliver

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


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