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What is FCPX doing after each edit with media files?

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Ladislav Zamba
What is FCPX doing after each edit with media files?
on Mar 2, 2014 at 11:54:13 pm

I have 2 hour project with 400 clips on timeline. Source 4K ProRes HQ clips are on separate drive with 200MB reading speed. Library is on another separate drive. Playback is optimized for speed.

I see that after every edit FCPX is reading from source drive (now it takes about 5 seconds) and instant playback is almost unusable. The longer timeline, the longer is reading from source drive after every edit operation. Editing of compound clips with few clips is fast.

What is FCPX doing? Is is verifying all used clips? Is it necessary after every edit operation? Can it be turned off?

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Bill Davis
Re: What is FCPX doing after each edit with media files?
on Mar 3, 2014 at 5:23:55 am

When you make an edit decision in X, all that happens is that a tiny snippet of metadata is written to the file. It's TEXT. Period. Now the screen expression of that edit is another thing. The "speed" of that happening is dependent on how rapidly your system can execute the text instructions. If you have "background rendering" set to ON - then X will go looking to calculate your latest group of changes, render them and write them to the render cache. Which can take time depending on your source and timeline formats.

Many of us just work with background rendering turned off for this reason.

X will "drop back" to using lower rez sources to keep your editing fluid and only calculate the rendered files when you tell it to. Try that. The smaller files typically still look really good when you're in "un-rendered working mode" via X.

Also, remember that when you're asking X to process everything - any system throughput slow ups for things like fragmented drive access or your processor or buss getting clogged with background tasks can cause you workflow to take a hit. So keeping stuff that runs drive searches and utilities that rob clock cycles or that call the system - to a minimum is smart when you're trying to work live.

Also make sure you have ample RAM and keep it clear. (Don't load up a lot of programs prior to X and starve it of the RAM resources it needs.)

Those are just some basics.

Hope they help.

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

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Ladislav Zamba
Re: What is FCPX doing after each edit with media files?
on Mar 3, 2014 at 1:14:36 pm

Thank you, Bill, but background rendering is not problem - it's turned off.

I tried fseventer utility to view FCPX activity and created new 1 hour timeline with 350 clips.
I detached audio from all clips and deleted it. I have zoomed timeline in, so only few last clips are displayed.

Then I trimmed end of last clip and ... FCPX opened and cloced 110 media files. WHY?
After each trim FCPX opened and closed hundred of media files which are not affected by trim.

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Oliver Peters
Re: What is FCPX doing after each edit with media files?
on Mar 3, 2014 at 2:00:41 pm

Most likely the problem is the length of the timeline. This used to be an issue in Media Composer, but was mitigated with the Toggle Playlength command.

Essentially every time you make an edit change, the software must calculate this change across the entire timeline. It has to be prepped to be able to play the timeline without stopping forward or backward from any position in the timeline. In the Avid situation, what Playlength did was let the operator change the setting to a limit of a minute, as an example. Then the software only had to do this "lookahead" process for a minute forward and backward from given point in the timeline. This would significantly speed up the operation for making changes in an very long timeline, like a feature film.

All NLEs are subject to this exact same issue. Maybe X is more sensitive to this due to all the waveform caches, thumbnail caches, clip connections, etc. Try working in smaller chunks and then only combine them at the end. This should speed up the operation.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL

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Ladislav Zamba
Re: What is FCPX doing after each edit with media files?
on Mar 3, 2014 at 2:31:12 pm

Yes, solution is compound clips, but maybe Apple can do something with it too :-)

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David Battistella
Re: What is FCPX doing after each edit with media files?
on Mar 10, 2014 at 7:09:13 am

There is a concept that comes from film that I still use to this day. It's the concept of cutting in reels. It's handy in a couple of ways.

A roll of 35mm film could hold about 22 minutes of footage so a finished film needed to be divided into reels of 22 minutes MAX.

When I am editing as soon as something gets to around 20 minutes then I create a new reel and I work within the edited reels. At the end of the process I assemble the reels for playback. If I need to edit after screening I always edit the individual reel.

Makes life very simple.

There are also practical story reasons for editing in reels because in a three act structure certain story points should be happening within certain reels. If some key events in your story have not occurred by the end of reel 2, then it pretty much means that there is a problem in your story structure.

It's a lot less taxing for any computer to work in 20 minute chunks, even today.



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