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FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames

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Andrew Swarbrick
FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 27, 2015 at 11:21:41 am

Hi Everyone,

New to this site, but thought it worth while to join up. I am an experienced editor in Manchester, England and use both FCP X and DaVinci Resolve 12.

I was wondering if anyone else had dropped frames issues with FCP X 10.2.2 and BlackMagic Ultra Studio Express. I am awaiting feedback from BM UK, but thought I would throw my hat into the ring. I have the latest Desktop Video and am running 10.10.5 on the Mac. However when AV Output is selected to throw out the signal to a grading monitor (HD SDI or HDMI) both source and record drops frames immediately! Making it pretty impossible to edit. I have done the obvious such as proxy, better performance, APP NAP off. No difference. I am editing in Pro Rez 422 and HQ. It is a powerful mac and so this makes little sense (running a Mac Pro Guiness Can, 8 Core D500 3072 MB, 32 GB 1866 DDR3). Needless to say once you by-pass the Ultra Studio Express, FCP X works fine. Also DaVinci Resolve 12 works perfectly too, no issue. There appears to be some bug or buffering issue with FCP X where it cannot handle the run up to speed and the output of the video signal.

Any help or insights would be appreciated.

Andrew

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 27, 2015 at 10:32:20 pm

You likely don't have it set to match the frame rate and or size of the sequence. For example it's outputting 24p and your timeline is 29.97i. Or vice versa.


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Andrew Swarbrick
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 27, 2015 at 11:05:10 pm

Hi Brett,

Thanks for your reply. No i am afraid the video desktop app and the fcp x timeline and av output in prefs all match 1080p 25. The issue is with dropped frames 8 out of every 10 times i playback,stop,start etc. The grading monitor also displays the input as 1080p 25. It also does it regardless of whether 422 pro rez or prorez hq. The box definately trips up fcpx and im not sure why. It cannot be a fault as resolve 12 is flawless with the same setting or relative settings

A

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 27, 2015 at 11:10:43 pm

Resolve 12's playback capabilities are definitely inferior to X, so something is awry. Is your sequence 4K by accident? I did that recently, but I was amazed at how everything still played back in RT for the most part on my 2012 iMac.


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Andrew Swarbrick
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 28, 2015 at 6:42:31 pm

Hi Brett,

Thanks again for the reply! I wish that it was as easy as my stupidity as then I could get this resolved!!! As far as I know everything is all lined up as it should be. 1080p 25 timeline, Pro Rez 422 or Pro Res 422 HQ if using BMPPC. Sometimes transcoded (or optimised internally), sometimes not. Video desktop set to HD SDI 1080P 25 and embedded audio 1080P 25. My monitor acknowledges the input.
Everything matches across the board. The issue is not that FCP X doesn't work, it just drops frames immediately and if you have the warning box on, then naturally the playback stops. If not it struggles on until it either updates from a still frame or runs up to speed, which takes a few seconds. once 'up to speed' to use the sold 35mm film term it runs smoothly, perfect. It scrubs ok and advances one frame at a time okay. It just cannot play 'without running up to speed'. It takes a second, maybe two to overcome the drop frame issue. This of course is no good for editing. I am away from the edit suite for a few days due to school things, but will look into it again on Monday. As I said if I was a noob then ok, but as an experienced editor who has been using FCP since its inception and the old SD SDI Decklink cards, I cannot understand what the issue is. V odd, especially as you say that Davinci Resolve 12 has inferior playback!

Blackmagic contacted me via email today so we begin the long process to, not sure what the issue is.

A

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Bret Williams
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 28, 2015 at 9:00:00 pm

I've got the same ultrastudio hooked up to 2012 iMac and it'll play avchd 4K off Pegasus R4 raid with some dropped frames. But I just turn off warnings. 1080p is generally warning free, but I leave it off because every once in awhile it's a nuisance. When things visually look like they're dropping, I usually have it left of the wrong frame rate or am accidentally editing 4K instead of 1080. In resolve I have to drop that same 4K footage to 1/4 to play back decently. 2012 does a good job at 1080p, but the app seems to just suck up all the GPU to do it. Sometimes it'll report I don't have enough GPU for the app to run and I'm running the 680mx 2gig. X never has these GPU issues and just seems to work. That's been my experience.

Do you have latest driver for ultra studio?


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Andrew Swarbrick
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 29, 2015 at 11:36:31 pm

I am using the latest Desktop Video 10.5 which is I assume the driver for ultrastudio??

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Andrew Swarbrick
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 29, 2015 at 11:30:31 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Swarbrick on Oct 29, 2015 at 11:34:50 pm

I have had some more feedback from Blackmagic, so when I some downtime in the suite on Monday, I will run through somethings they suggest and let you know how I got on. I would say there is something in FCP X as it wouldn't work in resolve if it was hardware. I will start a new project and set it up exactly as the PDF section for setting up a FCP X project describes in ultrastudio. Maybe it is a render and timeline clip mismatch. Maybe not. As ever thanks for your response Brett>
A

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Dave Jenkins
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 30, 2015 at 3:44:42 am

I look forward to hearing your finding as I have a problem with my Ultra Studio 4k where it skips for the first couple of seconds then plays fine.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
Mac Pro 3.5MHz 6-Core Late 2013
FCP X


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Eric Sternberger
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Oct 30, 2015 at 10:36:05 am

I have the same problem here with a 6core 2013 MacPro and a BM Mini-Monitor..


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Andrew Swarbrick
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Nov 2, 2015 at 11:50:17 am

HI Craig and Bret,

I am about to respond to Blackmagic having run some tests.Below is the main body of the email:-

Okay here are my findings regards the dropped frames


1. Media Express software does not drop frames at all

2. FCP X has been set up as Pro Rez 422 Render to match optimised clips, 48 KHZ sound

3. Audio in System preferences has been set to Blackmagic. It plays out via the BMUSE and shows on my PPMS via XLRS out of BMUSE and also as Embedded audio via HD SDI into my JVC grading monitor VU Meters. I have two speakers connected to the JVC grading monitor which provide the monitoring sound output, to remove latency as much as possible. I have not enabled AV Output, so there is no picture on my grading monitor. NO DROPPED FRAMES AT ALL SMOOTH

4. With AV Output on so we have a picture enabled it drops frames immediately. With the warning on it stops immediately. With it off you are looking at about 1 to 2 seconds before it runs to speed. It either stutters or is a freeze frame, then bang it start to run. This makes reviewing cuts less than ideal unless you build in a decent run up. Once up to speed it runs fine

5. Reset of SMC and PRAM makes no difference

I am going to send BM UK a screen recording of the dropped frames to see what they say. I have this feeling that they will say it is within tolerance. If it is I am unimpressed. In the days of digibeta, when I had a BM SD SDI Decklink card to capture digibeta and monitor playback on a CRT grading monitor it never stuttered in FCP Studio. Sighhhhhh!

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Craig Alan
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Nov 1, 2015 at 12:00:32 am

Also I have had things break with Mac OS updates and drivers from BM. And the calls to tech support are time consuming. Before all the bugs and third party drivers are fixed we ar on to a new OS.

Here's a thought though: is it possible something is being done in the back ground in FC when you are getting these dropped frames? Even though FC lets you continue to work, things do slow down and get buggy at times with background tasks in progress.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Andrew Swarbrick
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Nov 2, 2015 at 12:00:13 pm

I have checked that APP Nap is off, background rendering is off. It makes no odds. I have also the GUI set up to use the least amount of processing power in relation to height of timeline clips etc. As I have said without BMUSE FCP X runs fine. As soon as the AV output is enabled the picture takes a second to catch up. Audio seems unaffected.

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Andrew Swarbrick
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Nov 3, 2015 at 11:38:52 am

Further Update

Just to let you know I have plugged the BMUSE into a 27" IMAC, last years model, running OSX 10.10.5, FCP X 10.2.2. I only had access to a thunderbolt LACIE Drive. But again pro res 422 optimised clips into FCP X. All settings correct. SAME PLAYBACK ISSUE. Also latest Desktop Video 10.5

So It cannot be the mac hardware as that is two macs tested

It cannot be the Blackmagic Box as hardware as it wouldn't work smoothly with DaVinci Resolve 12 and BM Media Express.

It can only be some sort of bug in the driver that affects FCP X and the mac, somehow it makes the box incorrectly buffer the run up for the first 24-40ish frames of playback. As if the box/or its pipeline with the mac cannot handle the sudden stop start of editing. As this is the issue, not long playback, but the stop start nature of editing.

Audio is not affected.

As I stated yesterday I have a faulty Ultrastudio 4K lying around the studio that had an embedded audio issue, however it does not stutter on picture playback at all! It may well be that the guts of the Ultrastudio 4K as it has to process a 4K signal is better at handling 1080??

Andrew Swarbrick (BA Hons Film & Photography)
Off-line and On-line Editor


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Chad Smith
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jan 2, 2016 at 3:18:30 am

Did you get this sorted? I have experienced dropped frames as well. Sometimes a full reboot helps. Sometimes not. I wonder if a T-Tap has the same issue?


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Ben Neufeld
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Feb 20, 2016 at 6:39:20 pm

I've also been having issues with FCP X and an ultrastudio mini monitor on a 27" 2012 iMac. Seems to be worse though, FCP X will frequently crash when skimming or after playing back. At first I thought it was just a problem with my system, but then I noticed that the same issues were occurring on an identical system. Interestingly, no issues on non-2012 iMacs that otherwise are identical.

I've rolled back to Desktop Video 10.5. Seems to be pretty stable in FCP X, however now I'm having crashes on delivery in Resolve unless I unplug my ultrastudio.

Ben


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Paul Golden
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 22, 2016 at 7:11:42 pm

I can confirm that this is happening on my setup as well.

Specs: nMP 2013; 8-core; 64gb RAM; 2xD700; Pegasus R6 TB Raid; BMD UltraStudio MiniMonitor TB; FCPX 10.2.3; BMD Desktop Video 10.6.8

I have noticed that the problem is especially painful when cutting with JPEGs as storyboard reels. If I check the "warn of dropped frames" pref, it stops playback almost immediately. I thought maybe this was a graphics card brand issue, so I tried my 2012 MBP with Nvidia cards connected to the same RAID and monitor. Same result. Dropped frames.

I exported the sequence out as XML and brought it Premiere Pro CC 2015.3 and it plays back fine with no hiccup.

For me, it seems worse when cutting with JPEGs. If I turn off AV Output, the sequence plays fine. I guess the only thing left to try is another TB output device like an AJA T-Tap and switch to the BMD Mini Monitor when working in Resolve.

Does anyone have experience using a different output device?


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Darren Roark
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 22, 2016 at 7:18:53 pm

The BMD drivers are a big mess and have been for some time.


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Paul Golden
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 22, 2016 at 7:35:38 pm

This is where I'm a little confused as to who's responsible. If the BMD UltraStudio MiniMonitor works fine with Resolve and Premiere, but not FCPX, is it Apple who needs to look at FCPX's AV Output or BMD who needs to update their drivers?

I will try to test by getting an AJA T-Tap and seeing if there's an improvement.


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Ben Neufeld
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 22, 2016 at 7:50:34 pm

I think it's a BMD thing, as earlier versions of their firmware is still stable in FCPX. Just an FYI–I've spoken with BMD support a bunch about it, and it's now a known issue. I've been told the product managers are going to address this "in some future update".

For now 10.4.3 on El Capitan is very stable for me in FCPX. Only crashes like once a day.

Ben


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Darren Roark
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 22, 2016 at 10:34:51 pm

[Paul Golden] "This is where I'm a little confused as to who's responsible. "

In this case I'd say BMD as you can revert back to older versions and it's fine.

It's probably a case of them trying to fix a problem and they create two new ones.


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Paul Golden
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 23, 2016 at 5:54:31 pm

If I'm trying to run Resolve 12.5, I'm not sure I can roll that far safely back in Desktop Video.


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Ben Neufeld
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 23, 2016 at 6:27:39 pm

I have yet to test Resolve 12.5, but 12 works relatively well in 10.4.3 for me, aside from some crashes on delivery (I tend to unplug my monitor for this, though not sure if it's related to Desktop Video). And in theory, though it depends on the way you work, you could roll back and forth between different FW versions depending on what software you're using. But it feels a little ridiculous to even suggest something like that, as a paying customer of BMD I find it unacceptable to have this level of unaddressed dysfunction.

Ben


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Michael Hancock
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 23, 2016 at 7:55:42 pm

[Paul Golden] "If I'm trying to run Resolve 12.5, I'm not sure I can roll that far safely back in Desktop Video.
"


I'm using FCPX, Premiere, and Resolve 12.5 and running Blackmagic drivers 10.4.3. Works fine.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Kannan Raghavan
Re: FCP X and Blackmagic Ultra Studio Express dropped frames
on Jun 24, 2016 at 4:54:28 am

I had the same problems too. After reading this thread, Ben Neufeld's post, I rolled back to 10.4.3 and its seems to be stable:)

Kannan Raghavan
The Big Toad Films Pte. Ltd.


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