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Random black clips when dragging project to another library

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Jiri Fiala
Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Dec 30, 2018 at 4:12:50 pm
Last Edited By Jiri Fiala on Dec 30, 2018 at 4:21:05 pm

Here's the problem that gives me a major headache as this documentary for broadcast must be completed in a few days and I need to send timelines to other editor.

-I have perfectly fine Project in Library A
-I create new Library B
-I drag Project from A to B

I get seemingly random black clips that reveal and play in Finder fine, not in FCPX. All same codec (XAVC Long GOP 1080/50p or iPhone 6s 1080p 30p clips), day, device, same drive.

Image can be seen here:
https://imgur.com/a/Y79foyD

Any ideas? Thanks!

PS: transferring via FCPXML does work and doesn't create this issue, but still, any ideas as to what is going on?

PS2: it's not a question of waiting until waveforms and thumbnails are created. Issue remains even when all is done.


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Joe Marler
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Dec 30, 2018 at 11:14:18 pm

[Jiri Fiala] "I have perfectly fine Project in Library A
-I create new Library B
-I drag Project from A to B

I get seemingly random black clips that reveal and play in Finder fine, not in FCPX. "


They don't play in the FCPX viewer, or they play but thumbnails are black? If you right click a black clip and pick "Reveal in Finder" does that point to the media location you expect?

If you select each library in the left sidebar, then look at Inspector, is the media volume and folder what you expect? Are by chance both libraries sharing the same cache folder?

Is the playback anomaly only when using proxies or when using original media?

Have you installed Pro Video Formats 2.0.7? In Mojave that is in System Preferences>Software Update, for earlier macOS versions you get it here: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1947?locale=en_US


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Jiri Fiala
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Dec 31, 2018 at 8:23:36 am

Hi! Thanks.

They don't play in the FCPX viewer, or they play but thumbnails are black? If you right click a black clip and pick "Reveal in Finder" does that point to the media location you expect?
// no playback. Reveal shows correct clips which plays in quickview, other NLEs and/or other FCPX libraries, but not this one

If you select each library in the left sidebar, then look at Inspector, is the media volume and folder what you expect? Are by chance both libraries sharing the same cache folder? // it's a new library with cache inside. Volume and folder are correct

Is the playback anomaly only when using proxies or when using original media? //original. Plus, the black clips never correct themselves, so it's not only a playback issue.

Have you installed Pro Video Formats 2.0.7? In Mojave that is in System Preferences>Software Update, for earlier macOS versions you get it here: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1947?locale=en_US // yes, I have that installed. If I hadn't, I guess the other clips from the same batch wouldn't play as well.



It seems completely random AND the issue is not present when doing the same thing (i.e. importing a sequence to a new library for handing out to other editor) via FCPXML instead of directly dragging it inside FCPX.


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Joe Marler
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Dec 31, 2018 at 1:50:42 pm

Is this the same library with 13k clips where you previously had problems? If so that's pretty big. The largest doc I've done was 230 hr of 4k H264 material, 8,500 clips, 20TB in a single externally-managed library, about eight events. That was on a locally-attached Thunderbolt array. It mostly worked OK but you often see odd things at that level.

If it's a different library and project from the prior problem, please describe any relationship between them. Did it inherit data from the previous one, if so, how? If it's a different smaller library with only XAVC-L and iPhone material, I'm curious why *another* odd problem would happen.

This is 10.4.4, right? What media hard drive and machine type? Is it a locally attached HFS+ volume or on a NAS? Did you ever manually delete, add or alter any symlinks or other content inside the library? If so what was the immediate result?

Is the current problem isolated to just clips from one project when it's copied to another library? Or are there non-project red/black clips in the source library's Event Browser? When you copy the project to the other library, do you have optimized or proxy media? Did you select those checkboxes?

What if you make a project snapshot in the source library, open it, select all clips on the timeline, then delete all effects with Edit>Remove Effects, THEN copy that test project to the new library?

FCPX apparently uses Spotlight indexes to accelerate lookup, so I recommend you do a Disk Utility First aid on all volumes (inc'l system drive), verify no errors, then rebuild all Spotlight indexes on all volumes (inc'l system drive). Procedure: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201716

There's not a high probability this will help but it's easy to do. I know this is very rudimentary but also make sure you have adequate free space on all volumes.

I suspect it's some kind of internal library corruption problem caused by a previous crash or who knows what. How was the media imported? Was it copied from the camera card to disk then imported using "leave files in place", or imported from the camera card?

Can you describe anything else about the problem history? Did it start happening after a crash, after a system update, after a hardware config change, after you passed 10,000 clips, etc? Was it one or two black clips that got more prevalent? Or did everything look and work fine until you tried to copy the project, then you saw it for the 1st time?

What if you create a test library and drag several "problem" clips there (between libraries). Does it happen then? What about after consolidation, or if that test library is on a different locally-attached physical drive? What if the test library uses only internal storage?

What if you create a test project in the original library, copy/paste a few problem clips from the original project, do they stay black? If so what if you drag/drop that smaller test project to a new test library.

Sorry to recommend so many different investigative steps but I haven't see this before and am just trying to "feel out" the problem boundaries and behaviors.


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Jiri Fiala
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Jan 2, 2019 at 8:44:00 am

Hi Joe!

It's a USB 3-connected HFS+ drive with externally managed media (consolidated into the "Final Cut Optimized/Original/Proxy folders but not as part of the library). The Libraries themselves are on APFS drive, either internal or external. Library A was created with FCPX 10.4.3 and updated to 10.4.4 as it came out, running on MacOS 10.14.2, 2015 rMBP and 2015 Retina iMac. Drives are fine. I did not notice that it would manifest after a crash. There's all kinds of footage but only XAVC 50p and iPhone clips ever had this issue.

I did not manually modify links in the Library. I did want to, as I had an additional issue with this Lib before (several clips from Sony FS7 (XAVC Long GOP) were reported as Missing File and there was NO way of reconnecting or re-adding. Re-linking went fine but clips were still Missing afterwards, deleting from Browser and dragging back into it from Finder did literally nothing, re-importing from resulted in Missing files also). But no, I didn 't modify the Library manually in any way.

The black clips are created exclusively when creating a new library and dragging existing clips/projects into it. It doesn't happen with all Libraries and/or Projects. I had this happen before, usually with Synced clips (with those, usually audio plays but video is completely black and there's nothing that can be done about it other than manually opening the clip in timeline and dragging the video clip into it from browser).

When I re-tried creating the new Lib and dragging to it from old Lib, it was always the same clips that had the issue. There is no craziness in file/clip names, nothing that would differentiate them from the clips that passed without issues.

I can't check your other suggestions as I don't have the media drive with me. Thanks!


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Brett Sherman
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Dec 31, 2018 at 3:03:03 pm

I do a lot of cross library editing, and this is a fairly common bug. I have not found a really effective cure. You can try it a second time. Or once in your library you can sometimes drag the clip in from the finder. You can make an XML of the clips you want to bring into the new library. Then import. That’s pretty bullet-proof, but a bit more work.


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Joe Marler
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Jan 1, 2019 at 10:25:59 pm

[Brett Sherman] "I do a lot of cross library editing, and this is a fairly common bug."

I have personally not seen this but I don't do that much cross-database editing. I do often drag/drop a project from an externally managed library to an internally managed library for archival backup, and that has always worked. He might try that, but it definitely can take some space.

The overall data integrity of FCPX is very good but there are significant media management issues that need work -- especially involving proxies and the inability to relink those.


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Jiri Fiala
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Jan 2, 2019 at 8:19:41 am

Thing is, it's not really cross-library editing. I was merely copying a project to a new library. I didn't edit media from library A to library B. It's a nasty bug.


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Joe Marler
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Jan 2, 2019 at 11:58:13 am

[Jiri Fiala] "Thing is, it's not really cross-library editing. I was merely copying a project to a new library. I didn't edit media from library A to library B. It's a nasty bug."

By "cross-library editing" we meant copying the data (or references) then editing. You can't really edit between libraries.

You're right it should work perfectly. I've seen several cases of red clips or red audio after a cross-library copy, or if using multiple drives and one is momentarily off line. Those are often related to a cache issue and can sometimes be fixed by manually deleting the cache from Finder. Sometimes the clips are OK but the audio in a project is red, even though it plays OK.

There is another range of cases where proxies become unlinked, usually when using externally-stored proxies. This is really bad since you can't re-link proxies.

However I haven't seen cases where the clips are just black following a cross-library copy.

I'm actively investigating some FCPX media management issues now. If you could give any more details that would be helpful. You can email me directly at joema4(at)gmail(dot)com.


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Joe Marler
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Jan 3, 2019 at 2:11:52 am

[Jiri Fiala] "Thing is, it's not really cross-library editing. I was merely copying a project to a new library. I didn't edit media from library A to library B. It's a nasty bug."

I just reproduced this; not sure how related it is to your situation. I had a library with proxy-only external media and copied an event to another library, and did not select the optimized or proxy checkboxes. Examination of the destination library bundle showed no /Transcoded Media/Proxy Media folder and no symlinks to the proxies on disk.

I then deleted the copied events with the black clips and re-did the copy but selected the optimized and proxy checkboxes. Examination of the target library bundle then showed showed a Proxy Media folder which contained symlinks pointing to the original proxies on the same volume.

Using external proxies might be an edge case, but the UI should really not let you do something that results in black clips. It's also ambiguous. The normal interpretation of the copy proxies/optimized media checkboxes refers to the media itself, which you don't want duplicated if using external media. However in this case those checkboxes were necessary to copy the symlinks, and without those it somehow copied only metadata resulting in black clips but no links to the media.

If you have proxies on some media (say just the 4k) and did not select the proxy checkbox during the copy, maybe that explains why only some clips were black in the destination library.


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Brett Sherman
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Jan 3, 2019 at 1:15:51 pm

[Jiri Fiala] " I was merely copying a project to a new library. "

The workaround is pretty simple then. Export an XML of the project. Import it into the new library.


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Brett Sherman
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Jan 3, 2019 at 1:14:21 pm

[Joe Marler] "I have personally not seen this but I don't do that much cross-database editing"

It's possible it has something to do with storing media on a NAS. I find it more buggy in that situation, but it's really the only way that works for me.


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Joe Marler
Re: Random black clips when dragging project to another library
on Dec 24, 2019 at 4:52:23 pm

I again encountered this problem recently, investigated it to narrow the parameters and reported it to Apple Pro Apps support yesterday.

Symptoms: black media clips or red (missing proxy) clips when copying clips or projects to another library IF optimized/proxy files exist and IF you answer NO to the popup about copying optimized or proxy media. This is a common scenario when archiving a project and you don't want/need optimized/proxy media copied to the destination archive library.

This only happens if using FCPX external storage as defined in the library inspector>Storage Locations>Modify Settings. Problem still happens if clips/project are copied to the destination library inside a "transfer event".

Reveal in Finder on the black media clips in the destination library shows the regular media files which are playable. Transcode optimized/proxy is greyed out. May appear as "random" black clips, e.g, only certain clips in timeline are black. If so those are clips which had optimized media in the source library.

Workaround: delete generated optimized media or proxy files in destination library and rebuild, or if not needed (archive case), don't rebuild them. The black clips will immediately fill in when the optimized media is "deleted". Note there is no actual optimized media deleted in the destination library, since it was never there. It is a database error whereby FCPX thinks optimized media is there, tries to display it and it produces a black clip.

This only happens under the following conditions:

- Library storage must be external for source library when optimized/proxy media is generated. Destination library can use either internal or external storage. Media can be either copied to source library or imported with "leave files in place".

Note in this case "external storage" does not necessarily mean an external drive or "in place" media. It only means a storage location external to the FCPX library has been defined in Storage Locations>Modify Settings, and afterward optimized/proxy media are created which places those files in that previously-designed storage location.

There is some variability which might at first appear to restrict problem to more specific storage cases, such as library and storage location on separate drives. Further testing shows it can happen even if source library, external storage location and destination library are all on the same drive, or even all on the same system drive. APFS vs HFS+ seems to make no difference.

To review: if you see black media or red proxy clips in a destination library after a cross-library copy of clips or projects, AND if during the copy you answered "no" to copy optimized/proxy media, then in that destination library try deleting the optimized or proxy media files. If the black clips immediately fill in, it is this problem. The red proxy clips are expected if you answered "no" to the copy dialog. However you cannot create new proxies in the destination library unless you delete the non-existent proxies, because the transcode dialog is greyed out.


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