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Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?

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Rick Foxx
Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 3:26:04 am

I'm doing my first large-scale multicam project in FCPX, and I've reached the point that I think I'm going to have to start over with this project in FCP7. About my setup:

My project is a 3 hour performing arts group, and my footage consists of 4 AVCHD (Panasonic HMC150 and AC130A) cameras and one DSLR (Canon T4i). I created proxy media for all the clips, and have the playback preferences set for proxy. I'm editing on a 2008 Mac Pro with 16GB RAM, an internal 6 TB RAID 0 media drive, 2 TB system drive, and a G-Tech 2 TB eSATA drive. The Event and Project folders are stored in a sparse bundle that I had originally created on the G-Tech, but moved to the internal RAID after payback issues.

My issues are as follows:
1. The G-Tech was unable to playback the 5 camera multiclip, even using the proxy media. I would get 2-3 seconds of smooth playback, after which the video stuttered to the point of being unusable. Move the sparse bundle to the RAID resolved this. Shouldn't an eSATA drive be fast enough to play back 5 camera angles in proxy?

2. I'm constantly getting the spinning beachball of death after random actions such as stopping playback, clicking on a clip in the Event Library, or adding transitions. It can take up to a couple of minutes for the system to recover and resume operation. Is this normal for FCP X? Is there anything that I can do to prevent these issues?

3. Occasionally I need to add smoothcam to a clip. When I select the multiclip, the Video parameters never display the options for smoothcam. So I started connecting a clip from the Event Library that corresponds to the angle I want to fix, the I apply smoothcam there. However, now when I connect a clip, the smoothcam controls don't appear at all in the Video tab. I found a couple of posts on Apple's support site about this issue, but it appears to be unresolved. Has anyone found a workaround for this one?

4. When I re-opened the project after lunch today, I was unable to move the playhead, skim over the project, select any clips in the project, or playback media from the project. I tried restarting FCPX several times, and rebooted for good measure, but still couldn't get the project to respond. All of the menu options were functional, and I could play clips from the Event Library, but the project was unresponsive. Finally after a good 15 minutes pulling my hair out, everything started working again.

I really want to like FCPX, but this whole experience has really turned me off to Apple. I'd like to think I'm not making any rookie mistakes with my setup, but I'm willing to accept the possibility. I'm going to let the system rest overnight and pick up again in the morning, but I'd really appreciate hearing from you experts who have done large multicam projects. Have any of you come across these issues and were you able to resolve them?

Thanks in advance!

MacPro 8 core 2.8 gHz, 16GB RAM, Assorted Firewire Hard Drives, Final Cut Studio 3, Final Cut X, Adobe Production Premium CS6, Logic 8


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 3:58:29 am

Have you tried this without a sparse bundle?

Have you tried running activity monitor to watch what's happening?

Have you tried this on other hardware?


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Bill Davis
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:46:41 am

5 year old GPU?

That would be my first worry.

And the video card memory and speed for keeping up with blasting the rendered clips to the monitor

Either of these could easily be a bottleneck that causes X to stumble trying to manage that many streams of footage.

My 2008 MacPro can't even come close to playing a lot of my multi-cam projects. My 2011 MacBook Pro can play them without breaking a sweat.

FWIW.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Rick Foxx
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 6:30:47 am

Yeah, I was concerned that my hardware might be a factor. I did upgrade to a Radeon 5770 last year, but I'm sure it's relatively underpowered for what X needs. I just can't bring myself to pull the trigger on a tricked out iMac with the MacPro rumors swirling around.

MacPro 8 core 2.8 gHz, 16GB RAM, Assorted Firewire Hard Drives, Final Cut Studio 3, Final Cut X, Adobe Production Premium CS6, Logic 8


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Rick Foxx
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 6:28:00 am

Thanks for the reply Jeremy. Assuming I can find a safe method to transfer my data from the sparse bundle to the FCPX folders on my RAID, I'll give that a try and see what impact that has. My CPU usage seems to briefly peg one core near 100%, but most of the time FCPX is unresponsive, there appears to be little CPU activity. Unfortunately, the only other hardware I have is an old G5 so I can't test this on another system.

MacPro 8 core 2.8 gHz, 16GB RAM, Assorted Firewire Hard Drives, Final Cut Studio 3, Final Cut X, Adobe Production Premium CS6, Logic 8


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 5:09:03 pm

[Rick Foxx] "Thanks for the reply Jeremy. Assuming I can find a safe method to transfer my data from the sparse bundle to the FCPX folders on my RAID, I'll give that a try and see what impact that has. My CPU usage seems to briefly peg one core near 100%, but most of the time FCPX is unresponsive, there appears to be little CPU activity. Unfortunately, the only other hardware I have is an old G5 so I can't test this on another system."

I know you said you made proxies, but do you have the "use proxy media" preference checked?


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Rick Foxx
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 5:22:17 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I know you said you made proxies, but do you have the "use proxy media" preference checked?"

Yeah, it's set to proxy on the playback tab.

This morning, FCPX seems to be behaving itself. I haven't had any real issues besides the occasional stutter. I'll press on and see if anything goes wonky again. I really appreciate all the replies. I'll keep you posted.

MacPro 8 core 2.8 gHz, 16GB RAM, Assorted Firewire Hard Drives, Final Cut Studio 3, Final Cut X, Adobe Production Premium CS6, Logic 8


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Bret Williams
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 6:28:06 am

All sounds like corrupted prefs to me. I was having the same problems just the other day. Hard crashes and beach balls for no reason. Lots of RT errors about dropping frames I usually don't get. And finally, after many many many reboots per hour, (I usually don't even reboot the app or my computer for days or weeks), I trashed the prefs. All fixed. Works wonderfully again.

To adjust a clip for smoothcam, just enter the angle editor and add it there. If your clip is long, and has a lot of dynamic change (goes from a medium to a close-up or pans for example) you'll want to add edits to the portion of the clip in the multicam you'd like to add smoothcam to. Can be a little tedious I guess, but it only has to analyze the small chunk that you slice out. Not the entire shot like FCP 7 had to. Much quicker and more accurate too imo.

I'm not sure about your esata playing back 5 streams of anything. Is it an esata raid? It may be striped as one, but without the proper (expensive) esata card it's still stuck at singlel esata drive transfer speeds, only about 30% better than FW800. Your internals Raid 0 shoudld perform much better than a standard esata.


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Rick Foxx
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 6:37:49 am

Thanks Bret. I trashed preferences when my project locked, but it didn't have any affect.

I am a big fan of smoothcam in X for that one reason. I never could understand the logic of analyzing the entire clip (especially when it's a 2 hour concert) just to apply the filter to a 10 second cut. I hadn't though of applying smoothcam in the angle editor, so I'll give that a shot. That should be much easier than bringing in another clip to apply the effect to.

As far as the eSATA, I have a Sonnet Tempo PCI card, and I'm just running a single 2TB drive in the G-Tech enclosure. I can typically push 4 720P streams from the drive into FCP7 without significant dropped frames, although it does get a little bogged down from time to time. The performance in X, however, was horrendous.

MacPro 8 core 2.8 gHz, 16GB RAM, Assorted Firewire Hard Drives, Final Cut Studio 3, Final Cut X, Adobe Production Premium CS6, Logic 8


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Andreas Kiel
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:44:23 pm

"Thanks for the reply Jeremy. Assuming I can find a safe method to transfer my data from the sparse bundle to the FCPX folders on my RAID, I'll give that a try and see what impact that has."

It's easy to copy things from a sparse bundle.
Just quit FCPX take the Event/Project structure and copy it to the RAID.
Unmount/detach the Sparse.
Relaunch FCPX. You might have to re-connect files.

Sparse bundles (images) can get go corrupt -- same as any file or disk.
A little advantage is that in most cases you can repair them using DiskUtility. With a corrupt disk you don't have a chance.

While most people don't think about file fragmentation these days (the OS does it to certain extend) big files maybe not de-fragmented. So with all the file to file relations this can slow down something like FCPX.

Disk space is cheap and therefore it's always a good idea to backup to a freshly initialized drive and initialize the source drive (after verified backup). Then make a backup of the backup to the source disk (not volume or drive).

Andreas

Spherico
http://www.spherico.com/filmtools


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T. Payton
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:38:52 pm

[Rick Foxx] "Shouldn't an eSATA drive be fast enough to play back 5 camera angles in proxy?"

Humm. I think something else is going on with your system. I just tried this on my aging 2007 MacBook Pro, 2.2, 6GB Ram and a 128MB video card, and on my internal drive I get about 33MB/sec. and a 5 angle multi clip plays and edits without trouble. Here is a screencast:



I would do as much maintenance and troubleshooting as you can on that system. Perhaps your drives are very full or something else is running in the background. Maybe even reinstall FCP X.

By the way, instead of the built in stabilization I would recommend Lock&Load X from CoreMelt. It analyzes only the portion of the clip you need and does so in about real time. Plus you have much more control than the built in function.

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


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Bret Williams
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 8, 2013 at 6:38:03 am

FCP X smooth cam operates the same way and is plenty fast. Is there some other benefit? Does it do a better job?


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T. Payton
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 9, 2013 at 12:27:39 am

Regarding Core Melt Lock & Load x, it is applied to a single clip as a filter and only analyzes the visible portion of that clip. On my system analyzes in just about real time.

The built in smooth cam appears to analyze and entire clip, not just the visible (or used) portion. Plus it takes about 10x real time to do analyze.

The downside of Lock & Load is that it is serialized (2 installs) and requires more processing power to playback than the built in stabilization.

I hope this helps.

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


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T. Payton
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 9, 2013 at 1:01:51 am

Here is a comparison video for lock&load:







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


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Bret Williams
Re: Multicam Headaches - Any Suggestions?
on Feb 10, 2013 at 11:11:57 pm

Built in smooth cam CAN only analyze the part of the clip used. You have to open the clip in it's own timeline or in the angle viewer if it's a multiclip. Then slice out the part you want used. Not perfect, but ensures it's being applied before anything else I suppose.

From there, it seems a 40 sec clip takes about 4 min. in my tests.


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Rick Foxx
Re: Multicam Headaches - UPDATE
on Feb 12, 2013 at 12:36:31 am

Thanks again to all those who took the time to help me resolve my multicam issues. I was able to muddle through my edit, dealing with the constant spinning beach balls, occasional crashes, and interface glitches. However, when I went to set roles for my audio tracks in preparation to export, FCPX crashed repeatedly. I attempted to reboot, then retry setting the roles, but then the entire computer crashed and rebooted itself.

In desperation, I copied my files back over to my G-Tech drive, then loaded up the project on a friend's 2011 iMac. Even though he's running an i5 with 8 GB RAM, everything played back perfectly smoothly with no issues whatsoever. I was able to set roles and export the master files without any issues.

There's obviously something wrong with the FCPX installation on my MacPro. Since X is the only app exhibiting these issues, I think it's going to be best to continue doing all my multicam work in FCP7. I have a stable environment, and I'm very confident in the workflow. While I will continue to use X for small one-off projects, I have no confidence that I can deliver my stage event productions to my clients in a timely manner using FCPX with my current hardware.

After seeing my project run on a low-end iMac, I'm sure that many editors can be very successful using a loaded i7 iMac for their workstation. My big hangup is having to replace my PCI video card, and losing my internal drives. Assuming a new MacPro is released in the next 6-9 months, I'll give X another shot at a multicam project. If not, I'll likely be exploring other options to replace FCP7 and my MacPro.

MacPro 8 core 2.8 gHz, 16GB RAM, Assorted Firewire Hard Drives, Final Cut Studio 3, Final Cut X, Adobe Production Premium CS6, Logic 8


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T. Payton
Re: Multicam Headaches - UPDATE
on Feb 12, 2013 at 6:13:15 pm

Sounds like an OS issue on your machine.

It unfortunately happens. On my MacPro Adobe CS4 suddenly stopped working last summer. I tried everything to get it to work, but it after a few days each app would begin locking up and not be able to be launched again. I reinstalled a half dozen times, and finally gave up.

On machines that are depending on as much as ours are, it really is best to have a plan to reinstall the OS occasionally as preventative maintenance.

I for one have never had a problem with FCP X that wasn't caused by a corrupt preference file, third party plugin, or corrupted font. You can see some more notes here:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/47480#47485

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


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