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KONA/FCP layoff problems

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Mark Spano
KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:11:53 pm

I've been having a very frustrating problem and I wonder if anyone here has experienced it and maybe solved it. I have two stations, both connected to XSan over fibre. These stations have the following specs:

Quad 2.5GHz PPC G5
4.5 GB RAM
Mac OS 10.4.11
AJA KONA LHe (ver. 6.0.3)
FCP 6.0.6

Dual 3GHz Intel Xeon
3 GB RAM
Mac OS 10.5.8
AJA KONA 3 (ver. 6.5)
FCP 6.0.6

Each card is locked to house ref, as are all of the output decks. I am experiencing the same intermittent problem on both systems when trying to edit sequences to tape. I go to lay off and the machine (DVW-A500 or SRW-5500) goes in at the correct in-point. However, upon checking the edit back using the jog at the machine, I see that there is one duplicated frame at the in-point, followed by my sequence as it should have played. Basically what I have on tape is this: if my sequence (for example) is 5 frames long and the frames can be labeled ABCDE, then on tape I get AABCDE. So on a countdown, for example, the 10 goes in correctly at 00:59:50:00, but every number after that shows up at 00:59:51:01, 00:59:52:01, etc. including my spot, starting at 01:00:00:01. This plays out without dropping frames and I get a perfect result *except* for the first duplicated frame, which offsets the whole thing on tape. If I go to perform the same edit again using the same exact in points, sometimes it will just land correctly and not throw in that duplicated frame.

The fact that it's happening on both systems leads me to believe that whatever they're sharing is likely the culprit (i.e., the XSan). I ran the AJA system test utility to see if there was a bandwidth breakdown, but it seemed like it came back OK. Results on a single 1920x1080, 10-bit uncompressed file below:



I also did a "Frame Size Sweep" to give it a chance to cover all types and graph out a performance chart for my XSan. Here's that:



So yeah, I'm at a loss. The fact that it keeps putting out this duplicated frame is making me crazy. I have tried exporting the sequences to self-contained QT and re-importing them to a new project straight to the viewer and editing to tape from there - same intermittent success. Anybody ever seen this happening?



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 2:36:24 pm

What is your frame offset set to in your prefs?

What is your deck control set to in the capture preset?

Have you calibrated the deck to fcp and vice-versa?

Is the same deck whne laying off also being fed to the input of the Kona?


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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 2:58:05 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "What is your frame offset set to in your prefs?"

Set to 0 as per AJA.

[Jeremy Garchow] "What is your deck control set to in the capture preset?"

It was set to AJA KONA LH: 29.97 Sony A - been getting some better results due to another suggestion to try Sony B. Noting the only difference between the two is that the Capture Offset in Sony A is -1.5 and in Sony B is -2. I am now assuming that the Capture Offset is really a "TC Read Offset" and that the TC sense coming over 9-pin factors in both capture and edit to tape.

[Jeremy Garchow] "Have you calibrated the deck to fcp and vice-versa?"

I feel like I've done this a bunch of times with the A protocol - but since this problem is intermittent, I am never sure if it's right.

[Jeremy Garchow] "Is the same deck whne laying off also being fed to the input of the Kona?"

Yes.

I wish there was a clear explanation and setup procedure for using AJA's cards in conjunction with decks. I am thankful to have other people on the net who have come across the same issues as I have and have also figured out workarounds, but these things should be explicit in the manual - specifically how to achieve perfect frame-accurate captures and edits to tape, and how to factor delay times for up/down/cross-conversions. I've done a lot of my own research into these areas and every now and then am thrown off by a frame or fractions of.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 4:51:58 pm

[Mark Spano] "specifically how to achieve perfect frame-accurate captures and edits to tape, and how to factor delay times for up/down/cross-conversions."

Since there's over a million combinations (format, frame rate, codec, environment, etc), this is pretty much futile. You will have to test your config and your setup and find the right one. If doing a conversion (up/down/cross) you can pretty much settle on one frame delay.

[Mark Spano] "I feel like I've done this a bunch of times with the A protocol - but since this problem is intermittent, I am never sure if it's right. "

I'd suggest you read the manual in this regard as it really does have a very good explanation of this process. Now that Apple has made the manual available and searchable on the interwebs, here's the page:

http://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/usermanual/index.html#chapter...

Jeremy


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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 5:30:40 pm

Jeremy,

I have read the manual top to bottom. It is still eluding me how to get the behavior to be consistent. I follow the procedures step by step to establish a capture offset with one deck. This is capturing a bunch of times off a striped tape with white pops/beeps at specific timecodes. Great, seems consistent at -2. Now I go to edit to tape some of the footage I just captured. Duplicate frames. I set the Playback Offset to zero (like the manual says) and try again. Count the number of duplicated frames (in this case, 2) and enter that in. Edit to tape again, great, it's in on the right frame, no duplicate frames. But now, the audio comes in either one field or one frame late. NOT consistently. So here is the rub - there is no way to change audio/video playback offset independently. That, to me, makes Edit To Tape with this configuration unreliable. I would even not mind if the offset were consistently one value, I could factor it into my sequences. But since it's off by fractions of a frame, and differently each time, it's useless.

[Jeremy Garchow] "If doing a conversion (up/down/cross) you can pretty much settle on one frame delay."

These are my results of my prior testing. I ran them by AJA and they confirmed that this is what I should be getting. It's not consistent, and they agree with my findings. Also - NOT in the manuals...

--
KONA 3 Output - Delay Compensation for Video Conversion

When not performing any conversion on resolution or frame rate, the KONA 3 is frame accurate in edit to tape for video and audio.

--
When upconverting (for example, 525i29.97 to 1080i29.97 - only resolution, not changing frame rate) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for audio and 1 frame late for video.

To compensate for this, shift video in sequence earlier by one frame.


When downconverting (for example, 1080i29.97 to 525i29.97 - only resolution, not changing frame rate) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for audio and 1 frame late for video.

To compensate for this, shift video in sequence earlier by one frame.
--

--
When converting (1080sf23.976 to 1080i29.97 - adding pulldown only, not changing resolution) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for both video and audio.
--

--
When crossconverting (720p59.94 to 1080i29.97) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for video and audio is one field early in 29.97i.

When downconverting (720p23.976 to 525i29.97) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for video and audio is one field early in 29.97i.

When crossconverting (720p23.976 to 1080i29.97) the output from KONA 3 is frame accurate for video and audio is approximately .4 frame early in 29.97i.

The only true solution to compensate for these types of conversions is to do a separate edit for video (at conversion) and audio (with no conversion), since audio can not easily be shifted accurately by less than a frame in FCP. Or open the audio track in Pro Tools and add the delay time to the beginning of the track, consolidate, and export, then import that into FCP and replace the audio in your sequence with your delay-compensated file.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 5:37:46 pm

What does your timeline look like? Do you have any generators or slugs or open gaps where you are trying to assemble?


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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 6:17:35 pm

This one I've been testing with only has the clips I captured from tape. No generators, slugs, or gaps. Just solid media.

Sequence: 1080i 59.94 (29.97 fps) Upper First
1 video, 2 audio tracks



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 6:20:27 pm

OK, so try putting a second of a slug in front of your media and start the assemble in that slug.


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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 14, 2010 at 10:04:32 pm

Dropped a slug in, had same results. Doing insert edits, if that makes any difference. I started over again. After resetting the prefs and blowing away all of the custom easy setups, I started with a DVW-A500 and the KONA LHe. This was the resulting DCP:



Then I had to set a different one for the SRW-5500:



Then I had to set a different one for the SRW-5500 at 24p:



It sort of makes sense to do this, but a really frustrating task nonetheless. Occasionally, as well, I would get differing landing points on tape for audio/video - I still haven't found a solution for that, other than restart and sometimes it just fixes itself. I am always going to be suspect about editing to tape with these configs. I'm just not able to be 100% sure this'll work every time because of the inconsistency. Is there still something I'm overlooking in the setup? I'm going to try in the next day or two to do this whole process over again with the KONA 3.



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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 15, 2010 at 12:01:44 am

Go figure - KONA 3 was the same setup for all three: -1.5 capture, +1 playback offset. This same setting on Friday didn't work for me though, with duplicate frames and out-of-syncitude. It's got me laying everything off with a flash/pop now so I can verify. Ugh - I am going to chalk it up to gremlins and call it a night.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Jun 15, 2010 at 1:38:11 am

Ah, the Quit and Go Home Early Method.

Has worked for me many times. ;)

Jeremy


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Joakim Bergqvist
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Nov 3, 2010 at 1:19:41 pm

Hi Mark.

I just want to tell you that we been having this problem for a long time without finding any way to fix it.
We using 5 FCP with AJA Kona 3, and the problem is for all of them.

The "funny" thing is that sometimes it can work with same offset for months and sometimes it changes offset many times per day.

our normal playback offset is "+1", but when its not working its always "0"

do you still have the problem or did you find any solution?


// Joakim


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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Nov 3, 2010 at 3:01:24 pm

I have never found a solution. My systems are all different and they all exhibit these issues - it's a Final Cut problem through and through. Tiger, Leopard, FCP6, FCP7, Kona, Decklink, they all exhibit this inconsistency. Incredibly frustrating. In troubleshooting, I've even tried using other serial control adapters (like the Keyspan serial USB adapter) to see if it was any better - no dice. The problem is that it is not consistent. I can do 10 layoffs and 9 of them will be perfect frame accurate. One will be off by a frame, early or late. Inserts to the machine happen on the right frame, but the video/audio come in randomly on time or out. I've had more consistent success with Panasonic protocol and a D5 machine, so to me it points to how the device control protocol interface is written for Sony RS-422 and Final Cut.

Not that you want to hear, but I have taken most of my finishing to Symphony as the machine control element there is way more reliable. Lucky to have that in house too. Nearly every other aspect of FCP is reliable and when it bugs out it's a consistent issue and easily worked around - not device control.



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Chad Brewer
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 12, 2011 at 12:52:52 am

Hey Mark,

Over the past few years, I've read a lot here about this problem and was very glad it had never happened to me. Until late last week, when of course, time was of the essence to deliver to a major network who I knew would not accept anything unless it was 100% frame accurate. Our other edit rooms were tied up. I knew that even 1 frame off was not going to cut it. Spending much of the day messing around with the device control offsets which to me are less than accurate because you can be two frames late, offset for the two frames, and then be one frame early!, I started to share yours and others insanity over this. I couldn't fix the problem no matter what I tried and had to result to guerilla video warfare tactics to get the masters done to ship that night. By the end of the day, I had noticeably more gray hair.

I still had this edit suite on fully updated Leopard because we got the MacPro right around the Snow Leopard drop and I didn't want to change anything as it was working fine for the last year and a half, or so I thought up until a certain point. This 1.5 year old MacPro started on FCP 7.0 and stayed there. Not updating that was probably a mistake on my part, but anyway...It was also on Kona 7.5 drivers, fully up to date...I tried going up to the 8.0 drivers and that didn't fix it either.

I was later able to move the entire project to a 3 year old MacPro to see what was going on, but one that was running Snow Leopard, FCP 7.03 and the Kona 8 drivers. Editing to SRW-5500's, HDW-1800's, DVW-A500's, everything 100% frame accurate. And on the same exact project. So I looked at everything that was different between the two.

First, I went back to the newer edit suite and got FCP up to 7.03. Still not editing frame accurate.

Second, I took the Kona drivers back down to 7.5 where they had worked before, that didn't work. I got them back up to 8.0 and then decided in all of this mix, the only major discrepancy that could be causing a muck in all of this was the OS. Once the new suite was up to Snow Leopard, it was not until it reached 10.6.4 or above (now 10.6.7) that I got back my 100% frame accurate editing to tape.

Looking back at the madness this situation and partially myself, have put myself through, I guess I was naive to think that the hardware drivers and the pro app updates alone could fix this. After something working just fine for so long, I just didn't think upgrading the OS would be part of the kicker. It's not like a fully updated Leopard MacPro is subpar. I already knew that FCP, the KONA drivers, and the OS are all in an elaborate dance together where even the slightest version discrepancies can lead to this sort of madness, but I just hadn't had the pleasure yet of the "it's worked fine for 5,000 layoffs and now it doesn't."

As of "right now," FCP 7.03, KONA 8.0, and OSX 10.6.4-7 are a recipe for 100% frame accuracy and life is back to good...

I thought I'd post this to share what solved this problem for me..

Chad Brewer
Senior Broadcast Videotape Operator
TeleVersions, LLC - Chicago


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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:22:52 am

Chad,

Thanks for posting your detailed solution and results. I intend on upgrading my systems to Snow when I make my switch over from the ailing XSan to our EditShare server some time this year. What you have given me here is a glimmer of hope that frame accuracy consistency is achievable. I hope you have continued success and that it translates over here. I will surely post here with findings when I do. Until then...



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Joakim Bergqvist
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:24:46 am

Hi, Chad!
Its great that you have it frame accurate again, but be a bit careful cause we used "FCP 7.03, KONA 8.0, and OSX 10.6.4 and one with OSX 10.6.6 for quite a while and from time to time its not frame accurate..

problem with solving this problem is that sometimes it CAN be accurate for over 1 month, but then suddenly start to change again without any changes made.

// Joakim Bergqvist
Mastering
Stopp, Stockholm


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Chad Brewer
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 14, 2011 at 1:40:32 am

Hey Joakim...I'm glad you followed on this old post..I'm glad Mark found it too...

I'm going to keep a very close eye on this...In my opinion, there should be no reason that something will just go from being frame accurate to not without changing anything regarding software/hardware...Are you sure you didn't just change one little thing? Even an auto update on anything? I guess that even being on KONA 8.1, etc. might make for a bad mix..I bet you didn't, I just want this issue to go away...

I will post all my findings, good or bad.

Chad Brewer
Senior Broadcast Videotape Operator
TeleVersions, LLC - Chicago


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Joakim Bergqvist
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 14, 2011 at 7:40:26 am

I cannot be 100% shure that there hasnĀ“t been any auto uppdate or someone here been updating something.
but I am using FCP 7.03, KONA 8.0, and OSX 10.6.4 and one with OSX 10.6.6, same that was ok for you.

We have one suite now with a Black Magic card, its been frame accurate since we got it, (over 6 monthes). but it has some other problem. for example the first frame you lay of is really bad quality. but then you can just have a second black before your spot.

I will also post any findings in this problem, good or bad!


Joakim Bergqvist
Mastering
Stopp, Stockholm


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Chad Brewer
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 18, 2011 at 11:04:46 pm

Mark, Joakim,

Everything was working rock solid for four days under the new configuration...I could perform the same edit 10 times or more in a row with 100% frame accuracy. The fifth day? Nope.

I'm talking directly with AJA about this now, but am going to start putting heavy testing in on our Blackmagic cards to see what I can rule out...

Seriously, four days straight and everything was fine. Changed absolutely NOTHING and then out of nowhere it's back. I'm freakin' back to being stumped and hoping it's an FCP problem. I just don't accept this for whatever reason the problem is. If it is FCP, I would wish they put the same effort into device control protocol as they do to catering to DSLR video formats.

Chad Brewer
Senior Broadcast Videotape Operator
TeleVersions, LLC - Chicago


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Chad Brewer
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 22, 2011 at 1:50:48 am

I may have finally solved the problem...I will give this many, many days of further testing to make sure. Keep your fingers crossed.

Chad Brewer
Senior Broadcast Videotape Operator
TeleVersions, LLC - Chicago


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Chad Brewer
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 26, 2011 at 2:46:30 am

I've got it locked down here.

Mark, I especially hope you read this because don't give up on frame accuracy with your upcoming Snow Leopard and Kona stations.

Final Cut X and Lion? I don't care at this point. I've found what works now and won't touch anything new until it is proven to work without me having to be hospitalized over it.

AJA was more than helpful in all of this. Kudos to that entire company for their support! They did a lot of tests on their end based on my specific request. I already knew, but what a top-notch company they are.

Chad Brewer
Senior Broadcast Videotape Operator
TeleVersions, LLC - Chicago


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Mark Spano
Re: KONA/FCP layoff problems
on Apr 26, 2011 at 3:39:00 am

Great to hear, Chad. I hope I can come back to this thread when I'm going to upgrade so I can pick your brain about what works. Cheers for your persistence.



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