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Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?

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Mike Warmels
Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:01:20 pm

I'm usually cutting (short) tv series of say 4-6 episodes, using a lot of footage I need for all these five shows.

Now I like to work with versions per episode, in case I'd like a sequence back I've cut out for a new version. But I notice that if I have more than five projects (and with six episodes and 2-3 versions per episode the happens pretty quickly) it slows down.

Now, I tried doing this: moving the older projects to a new event. And with each move (which often takes a bit of time: beach balls, the project loading even though I am not using it, just moving it) FCPX speeds up again.

Is there some limit to the number of projects recommended within one event?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:43:27 pm

[Mike Warmels] "Is there some limit to the number of projects recommended within one event?"

Are these created as duplicates or snapshots? IOW - are they linked in any way? Do they contain compounds that are significantly longer than the length of the clip cut into the timeline?

- Oliver

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


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:01:03 pm

Just duplicates. And no, no compounds. They do of course contain the same clips (it is a duplicate after all), including (jn the most recent Library) a bunch of synchronised clips.

But I've run into this issue before. Moving them to a separate event within the Library helps a lot. But I find it kinda strange.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:06:57 pm

[Mike Warmels] "They do of course contain the same clips (it is a duplicate after all), including (jn the most recent Library) a bunch of synchronised clips"

Right, but if they are duplicates without being snapshots, then changes you make in one link to another, thus increasing the complexity of the event exponentially.

- Oliver

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


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:12:35 pm

Okay, you have to explain this to me then. Because the versions ARE different. And STAY different. (and why are they linked??) What is the link then?

And then: why is the problem gone when the projects are moved to a different event within the Library.


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:18:48 pm

Okay, you have to explain this to me then. Because the versions ARE different. And STAY different. (and why are they linked??) What is the link then?

And then: why is the problem gone when the projects are moved to a different event within the Library?

I thought snapshots were used to freeze a project in time, nice and handy to preserve old version of compound clips. I don't use compound clips...


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Oliver Peters
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:47:03 pm

[Mike Warmels] "Okay, you have to explain this to me then. Because the versions ARE different. And STAY different. (and why are they linked??) What is the link then?"

When you "Duplicate" Version 1 to create the starting point for Version 2, then some subsequent changes you make in Version 1 ripple forward to Version 2. For instance, making a change within a compound clip in V1 will also it in affect V2. Even if you never use a compound, the linking is still there between the sequences and this adds to the overhead.

When you "Duplicate as a Snapshot" Version 1 to create Version 2, changes made in either version are independent of each other. The "Snapshot" function breaks the link.

[Mike Warmels] "And then: why is the problem gone when the projects are moved to a different event within the Library?"

Library files are independent and unrelated data files. Event files are data files within the library. This structure is roughly equivalent to Avid's Project files and Bin files. By moving the FCPX project to other events or libraries, I believe you are breaking any linking.

[Mike Warmels] "I thought snapshots were used to freeze a project in time, nice and handy to preserve old version of compound clips."

That's one way to use them, but you can also go the other way. Same as a "save as" or making a "copy".

In general, for your original question, I would recommend a separate Library for each episode and then work within that Library for everything tied to that episode. Always keep media outside of the library.

- Oliver

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


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 11:04:47 pm

What? Really? A new Library per episode?

That's.... Pretty bizarre. These episodes have to be finalised in a different location. That would mean:

A) That I have to import (while leaving them in place as I always do) the media in every Library
B) Bring all these libaries to the online location en relink every Library again

Sounds like a ridiculous amount of extra work!

From now on I'll use the snapshot duplicate. But a Library per episode, man... I find that hard to accept for a 'Pro' NLE... I need to catch my breath for a moment. How did they ever cut a feature film with it?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 11:48:43 pm

[Mike Warmels] "A) That I have to import (while leaving them in place as I always do) the media in every Library
B) Bring all these libaries to the online location en relink every Library again"


Is the online facility using FCPX? If the media is external to the Library, then the Library files are tiny. And just like in FCP7, multiple Libraries can be loaded at the same time. So you are really talking about carrying 3 small Library files versus 1 small file.

You can also create a consolidated Library file that only contains the finished project/sequence for each show.

[Mike Warmels] "Sounds like a ridiculous amount of extra work!"

No, it's not. You asked for best practices and that's what I suggested. If I were working in Premiere, FCP7 or Media Composer, I would do the exact same thing. A separate main file for each individual episode.

- Oliver

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


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 8:17:08 am

Fair enough. I never do this in MC myself. Simply because you can't instantly switch between projects. But MC is not giving any performance issues,

So what you suggest is to make a Media Library and then a Library per episode? In case of a six part series, I'd have seven Library files.

How does working in multiple Libraries affect FCPX performance? The couplle of times I had several Libraries open for copying Library files or projects, it seemed to slow down.

And personally I don't find Library files so small. Otften they get into the range of 30MB-800MB.

Plus consolidating is something I don't like to do, since FCPX doesn't use handle lengths ( as far as I know). If I use a few quotes from a 20 minute interview, the entire 20-minute clip is included in the 'consolidation'. In quotation marks because I don't consider that real consolidation. Turns consolidated Libraries into HUGE files, up into THE 30-40GB range. That's not really workable, especially when I have to send them over via internet.

So, working in multiple Libraries simultaneously. That's the preferred work around? Because FCPX doesn't seem to be designed that way. It always warns me if I edit between Libraries.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:04:29 pm

[Mike Warmels] "So what you suggest is to make a Media Library and then a Library per episode? In case of a six part series, I'd have seven Library files."

Well that's one way of doing it. However, personally I would create one library for each episode (6 total) and import the media into each (media files externally stored). Possibly at the end, I might create one "output" library (the 7th) to consolidate all episodes and simply copy the final sequence for each episode into that single library.

[Mike Warmels] "How does working in multiple Libraries affect FCPX performance? The couple of times I had several Libraries open for copying Library files or projects, it seemed to slow down."

I haven't personally experienced that, however the more things that are open, the more indexing is going on, so initial launch takes more time. I would turn off waveforms in the browser to improve performance. Or at least see if that affects performance. Also see if there's a difference in list versus filmstrip view.

Generally I have several projects open all the time, simply because I forget to specifically close them. FCPX makes you get lazy that way :)

[Mike Warmels] "And personally I don't find Library files so small. Otften they get into the range of 30MB-800MB."

If your render cache is in the library it can get large. I almost never render unless it is an effect that I have to render. Most of my libraries are under 100MB but I also have larger ones that are several hundred and even one that's about 8GB (I guess it has media in it). Performance seems about the same. The longer you work in X in a sitting, the slower it gets due to RAM leakage. I periodically (every couple of hours) close and relaunch X.

[Mike Warmels] "Plus consolidating is something I don't like to do, since FCPX doesn't use handle lengths ( as far as I know). If I use a few quotes from a 20 minute interview, the entire 20-minute clip is included in the 'consolidation'"

I'm not talking about consolidation in the sense of trimmed media files, as in Avid. I simply mean a single library where you place the final version of the edited sequence of each episode.

[Mike Warmels] "So, working in multiple Libraries simultaneously. That's the preferred work around? Because FCPX doesn't seem to be designed that way. It always warns me if I edit between Libraries."

It's simply one way of working. Others may have other opinions. The warnings are because you are breaking dependencies when you go between libraries. But it seems to me that's exactly what you want it to do in your case.

Right now, my best experiences with large, complex projects have been Media Composer and to some extent FCP "legacy". Less so with FCPX or Premiere Pro.

- Oliver

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


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:23:24 pm

Okay, well... I'll start working with these work arounds then.

And your experience in working with larger projects kinda supports my feeling that FCPX seems to suit smaller projects a lot better. Although some say that's not true. Ah well...


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 8:27:45 am

One more question. If I use a Library per episode, the question of having multiple versions of a Project still stands. I've had instances where I had well up to 9-10 versions of a cut. Would you recommend only using Duplicate as Snapshot?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:11:53 pm

[Mike Warmels] "Would you recommend only using Duplicate as Snapshot?"

Yes, unless you specifically want to maintain a link between projects/sequences. When you "Duplicate Project as Snapshot" you can simply save it as a version in time and continue working on the same project that's loaded in the timeline window. Or you can Snapshot it and rename the snapshot as version 2, version 3, etc. and then work on those as the next newest version. Either process effectively gives you the same result.

If you simply Snapshot it as the old version, then you skip the need to rename, load, etc. It's a simply keystroke combo and you can set up smart collections to store these, so using it as designed is a bit faster, but not mandatory.

- Oliver

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


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:23:33 pm

Well, I never works with compounds so I don't need any link. I didn't even know they were linked.

So snapshot it is. And indeed, it's easier to make a snapshot and make that one the previous version and continue to work on the same project.


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Joe Marler
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 5:21:15 pm

[Mike Warmels] "Now, I tried doing this: moving the older projects to a new event. And with each move (which often takes a bit of time: beach balls, the project loading even though I am not using it, just moving it) FCPX speeds up again.

Is there some limit to the number of projects recommended within one event?"


I am working on a doc project and have 2.2 terabytes of camera-native material in a single FCPX event, comprised of 5,667 clips -- 117 hours of mixed 1080p and 4k material. This was with "leave files in place" and no transcoding. I am still developing what keywording and organizational system to use.

I created 10 different projects (not snapshots) in this one event and inserted material into each one. It mostly seems to run OK with no performance problems. The 5000+ clips in the Event Browser are periodically a little sluggish to redraw when scrolling, but it's not bad.

This is on FCPX 10.2.3, OS X 10.11.3, 2015 top-spec iMac 27, with the material on an 8TB Thunderbolt Promise RAID-5 array.

I can't explain the performance problems you are seeing. On earlier versions of FCPX I have seen periodic unexplained slowdowns which went away when I restarted FCPX which could imply a memory leak. Other times I have tracked problems to specific plugins. It seems relatively stable on the latest version, at least on my hardware and workflow.

Larry Jordan says don't go over about 3,000 clips per library, but I am well above that with no problems. I have heard of other users with 7,000 clips per library on a Mac Pro without problems.

Re events, now that FCPX supports library-wide searching and smart collections, this allows putting material in different events but still being able to search it in one step. However I don't know what (if any) performance implications are for many events vs fewer events.

Since you can't search across libraries it would seem problematic to split closely-related material between different libraries.

I believe the FCPX search scope behavior is:

- If event is selected, search will be within that event
- If library is selected, search will be across all events in the library
- Keyword collections are within a single event
- Library-wide smart collections can be created at the library root level
- To create a library-wide keyword collection, create a Library Smart Collection using one or more keywords as the search criteria


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 6:16:51 pm

Did you make ten DIFFERENT projects? Or nine DUPLICATES?

Because it seems the duplicates are what's causing the delays. When I move them to different events, the sluggishness disappears.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 6:28:47 pm

[Joe Marler] "I created 10 different projects (not snapshots) in this one event and inserted material into each one. It mostly seems to run OK with no performance problems. The 5000+ clips in the Event Browser are periodically a little sluggish to redraw when scrolling, but it's not bad."

For clarification and to help Mike, these are new, original sequences created in one event, not duplicates or copies of each other. Correct?

- Oliver

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


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Joe Marler
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 3:53:38 pm

[Oliver Peters] "For clarification and to help Mike, these are new, original sequences created in one event, not duplicates or copies of each other. Correct?
"


I created 10 projects, and five duplicates of each project for a total of 50 projects. All 50 projects, 5,000+ clips and 2.2 terabytes are in the event of one library. Performance remains good.

However I have definitely seen random, unexplainable slowdowns happen, just not recently and not on ver. 10.2.3.

In the past I've tracked several issues to plugins. I wish FCPX had a global "disable all plugins" setting for diagnosing problems like this. Likewise there is no uniform method to ensure all plugins are updated, or to even inspect the version of a plugin. This leads to old plugins which in turn leads to problems.

There is some good troubleshooting advice on this page: http://fcpx.tv/Pages/top10troublesthoot2.html


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:17:07 pm

Oh okay. Well, I'm still on 10.2.2 since my client is still on that, and they can't upgrade yet because they have to upgrade the SAN first and run all the tests. I am on El Capitan though. Just waiting to upgrade. Maybe all the slowdowns and stutters are somehow finally solved 10.2.3...

But I had these complaints when I was still on 10.1.4 and everyone said: it all goes away when you're on 10.2. Well, there was a marginal improvement. Maybe they finally solved it in 10.2.3... but I am a little sceptical.

Thanks for the trouble shooting page. But if I have to take this seriously, I really don't get the 'Pro' part of FCPX. Because basically it says: shut down everything but FCPX, and don't use all the features. And yes, that's why you bought a $6000 computer from us, with 6 cores we hardly use. Personally, I think that is insane.

But again, for xillionth time I will check out these things. What else do I have to do while waiting for the beach ball.


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Joe Marler
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 4:51:51 pm

[Mike Warmels] "Thanks for the trouble shooting page. But if I have to take this seriously, I really don't get the 'Pro' part of FCPX. Because basically it says: shut down everything but FCPX, and don't use all the features. And yes, that's why you bought a $6000 computer from us, with 6 cores we hardly use. Personally, I think that is insane."

That page is not saying don't use all the FCPX features -- these are simply temporary troubleshooting procedures. I have had to do things like this with Premiere, FCPX, high-end "Pro" server software costing $20k, etc.

I greatly empathize with your difficulties. It is extremely frustrating to try and get production work done when the software/hardware platform is unstable. I think most of us have been there. When anyone says they've never had a problem or a crash with product xyz, I am suspicious.

FCPX can obviously work in used in high-end professional environments: http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/articles/1781-how-swiss-tv-went-fcpx-final-...

That doesn't solve your problem but it shows there is no generic limitation. Rather the software/hardware is very complex. While generally reliable and stable, within the multi-dimensional configuration and usage space, there are zones of instability. All software is like that -- you unwittingly encroach on those and things go downhill. Unfortunately these zones are not well defined and fluctuate based on many factors.

The best approach is generally to (1) Upgrade to the latest version, then if not resolved (2) Work step-by-step to define and narrow the replication scenario. E.g, remove plugins and re-test, discard and rebuild all generated library files, if the scenario can be narrowed to a smaller data set, move it to another storage device, etc.

The reason for trying the latest version is not high confidence that will fix the problem, but it's an easy step to take. Major time/effort can be wasted troubleshooting a problem on an old version only to find the problem is fixed in later versions.

For problems which have a gradual onset with no clear demarcation, that is more difficult. However with further inspection and testing, what first appears to be a totally amorphous problem will often come into sharper focus with more distinct characteristics. This can allow an easier workaround and certainly expedites getting a fix from the manufacturer.

There is a good case for "I shouldn't have to do this -- it should just work". Unfortunately all complex software can manifest problems like this, even if only 5% of users experience it. Thus the good or bad experience of a single user is often not revealing. The ideal situation is to have professional enterprise-level support, where they have visibility to thousands of sites and symptom tracking databases. However this is expensive and there's no guarantee even in that case you wouldn't have to do troubleshooting.


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Mike Warmels
Re: Do more projects within an event slow FCPX down?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 5:09:32 pm

Hi Joe, you make very good points.

But, I do notice a marginally better response time from FCPX is I shut all these things down. Not major, but A difference. But... then what? Then I know I shouldn't go online during editing or check my mail... So if I see an improvement, then how do 'fix' that what I cannot see?


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